2020 has reaffirmed the importance of community. Coronavirus has altered people’s perspectives on the world, and forced them to consider what and who is important to them, as we head into an uncertain future and a planet that may look very different. It’s been a year of solidarity too – see the BLM protests that galvanised so many, or millions of people checking in on friends and family as we all made our way through lockdown life, sharing the same global experience. 
For the launch of the Nike Dunk Hi Platinum, SEVENSTORE shines a light on the Baltic Triangle creative district in Liverpool, and the unique individuals that make the community in the area what it is. There is such a sense of pride in Liverpool, along with a rich cultural history – the Baltic Triangle is no different.
SEVENSTORE tell the stories of five people from all walks of life, with different skills, and see how 2020 has been for them. What’s changed? How crucial have their communities been? In one of the strangest years on record, we celebrate Liverpool, and the importance of staying true to your crew.


Sumuyya Khader is a Liverpool-based artist and the founder of Granby Press, a community-led risograph printing press. The aim is to build an affordable creative space where members of the community can meet through the medium of art.

How has your perspective changed on the world in 2020?  

2020 has been a testing one for us all. In some ways I think it’s reinstated the value of community and family (in all its forms). We've seen how powerful we can become en masse when trying to incite change but it’s also made me realise how fleeting and trend-driven the world is. 

It’s all about treasuring those close to you (which sounds kind of cliche) but checking in on friends and family has become priority. Are they happy and safe?
Lockdown and furlough have pushed me out of a comfort zone and I’ve been really fortunate for my circumstances to allow me to focus on my own practice and be creative. 
What differences have you noticed in your community - have you noticed people coming together?
We’re a city that rallies together in tough times and unfortunately this city has seen a fair few of them. I think the level of sharing has increased 100%. It's been so great seeing community groups and small businesses shouting about each other and helping to spread the word. 
At times communication has been difficult but a mixture of social media and door-to-door has seen this real effort in making sure no one is left behind. 

How has coronavirus changed the way that you're working with Granby Press?
Granby Press was set up during lockdown so it’s new and still finding its feet. It’s meant that the physicality of having people come and print has been limited but the output from the press is happening. I’ve been trying to find small ways of engaging with people the first was releasing a free print for people who supported the campaign and people were able to stop by the studio and have a glimpse of the set up 
I’ve also been chatting to two other amazing creatives Sofia Niazi (Rabbits Road Press) and Saffa Khan (Tender Hands Press) as we all managed Riso presses and are great admirers of each other's work but haven’t met in person. It’s exciting thinking of ways we can potentially learn and work together as three print resources who are embedded in communities. 
What is it that you love most about Liverpool?

The humour - absolute banter (also banter is an awful word) It’s one of the most sarcastic yet loving cities in the world. I love how people are doing it from the ground up - our music scene is incredible, and artists are making it happen on a local and international level. No one can make me cry laughing like a Scouser can. 
Describe the city in three words?
Are there other people working in and around the Baltic Triangle that you really admire?
The 24 Kitchen St. team always come to mind. Saad and the crew are phenomenal and in my opinion one of the reasons the Baltic has now become a desirable hot spot. 
It’s rare to find a venue that’s inclusive and on it in the way that Kitchen St is and it’s one of the few city centre venues as a Black woman I actually feel safe in. The work they’ve put in over the years has been consistent and it’s infuriating that developers can swoop in to try and ruin something that has been built with so much love. 
What have you missed most during lockdown, and what have you discovered?
I’ve missed hanging out with people and the random bumping into people that happens when you’re out. Liverpool is a very “Hiya, how’s it going?” place so having that element of social interaction taken away has been tough. 
Also not seeing my family - like most people there’s been celebrations and birthdays that have had to happen in a whole new way. I miss being able to rip people in person, to call round at my mums for a cuppa or see my pops for breakfast.
What's your favourite pair of Nike trainers and why?
Dunk Hi is just a classic - it throws it back to OG basketball and appeals to my hip-hop head nature – the 90s Wu release is legendary! I also love the collective-repping vibe Dunk Hi's have – they show you belong to a crew and are showing up.


G33 is a new and emerging DJ and producer based in Liverpool taking inspiration from local influences and surroundings. G33 has made a name for herself with her clever genre-blending and is becoming one of Liverpool’s rising stars. Having gone on to secure Liverpool residencies as well as playing sets across the country, G33’s greatest accomplishments include warming up for likes of Conducta, DJ Q, Chimpo as well as mixes for BBC1xtra, Notion, Reprezent, Rinse and more. 

How has your perspective changed on the world in 2020?
I think the biggest thing that I’ll take away from what has been an obviously mental year, is that life is so precious! It’s so short, so unpredictable; things can go from 0-100 or 100-0 really quickly. I think that's why since lockdown I’ve just been throwing myself into so much, keeping busy helps me keep my head somewhat screwed on, just about. 
My circle is full of hard-workers, go-getters, and whole-hearted people who are able to genuinely inspire me on a daily basis. Now I’m reflecting back on it, I actually feel like I’ve learned a lot. I get so much joy in seeing people excel in their passions, smash life regardless of this pandemic, or do stuff that inflicts progress and hope, especially young people standing up and wanting to be part of the catalyst for change. That’s given me a lot of light in what feels like a pretty dark year.
What differences have you noticed in your community - have you noticed people coming together?

I live in Toxteth, there’s such a strong sense of unity here. But in the last couple of months, it’s definitely felt tighter than ever, seems like everyone’s connected so much more, I’ve seen loads of collaborations and partnerships forming which has been great.
What is it that you love most about Liverpool?
The people, hands down. Scousers are just built differently. I love it here, I think everyone knows that, there’s so much generosity and warmth. And TALENT. I want to see that nurtured and celebrated nationwide. It’s coming though! I love the tiny acts of random kindness the most. I was in a coffee shop one time on the phone and the waitress must have overheard me saying I was having a shit day. She came over and brought me a slice of cake and insisted it was on the house. My heart man.
Are there other people working in and around the Baltic Triangle that you really admire?
Yes! Yes and yes. Kof is honestly the first person who springs to mind, he set up and runs Go Play Studio, has some of the city’s biggest names in music passing through and working in there. He’s smashed it with his content too, has a few rap freestyle series out which are quality. It’s so cool inside, I used to go along and just sit in there and listen to The GroupChat’s podcast recordings, which was always so much fun, they’ve had so many home grown Liverpudlian guests on from Mic Lowry to Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann, who I also have so much love for. She’s actually a big inspiration to me and a role model for women in MMA. 
There’s also Aaron, who I actually first met in a coffee shop in the Baltic area, he’s one of the Culture Deck team, he’s such a hard worker man, I have a lot of respect for him. He’s pretty much founded Culture Deck, Liverpool’s leading media platform. We’ve actually just launched a new project together, Girls On Deck, which is establishing itself as a community for Northern-based female DJ’s – keep your eyes peeled!
How has your approach to DJing changed? Have you been performing on, and watching, way more livestreams?
It’s changed so much, even in what and how I play now. Being able to just play at places in 24 Kitchen St for example, where there’s no genre restrictions or rules, and if anything, they’ve pushed me to experiment more. I went b2b with a D’n’B DJ there one time and I never thought that would ever have been a possibility, but I love that. I don’t know what genre I even specialise in but I know I love mixing music that makes me want to move. High energy stuff, from baile to ampiano to dancehall, I like experimenting blending genres too, that’s kind how I’ve cemented my style now. 
I honestly think live streams have helped me get more confident with that ownership – you have the freedom to play what you want, try new things. I did one for Liverpool Digital Music Festival which I really enjoyed, got to go with stuff I never normally spin, I remember leaving and being covered in sweat just from my little self jumping around on my ones, I was proper in my zone. In terms of watching stuff, I’ve grown up watching Boiler Room, I’ll always have one on in the background whilst I’m cooking or getting ready, and I’ve learnt a lot from watching too! I love watching other people DJ and get lost in it. Especially seeing women smash it. The likes of Jyoty, Emerald Rose Lewis. Snoochie Shy’s Boiler Room is one of my favourites actually, a proper homage to grime, everyone there is on the maddest energy. I’d love to be part of something like that one day!
What's your favourite pair of Nike trainers and why?

The Dunk Hi shoe isn't too dissimilar from the Air Jordan 1's, which I love. I didn't realise how small my feet were till I got a pair. I'd go as far as to say they've been the shoe of the year. I like the fact that kind of silhouette isn't going away any time soon. I always wear dark colours when it comes to clothing, so I feel like this shoe would push me to go with colours that are a bit more daring. I like that. I've got a lot of vibrant and colourful trainers but I rate the way these are understated and can be styled with something bright and bold!


Will Kynaston is a 25-year-old Scouse skater who skates for Lost Art and plays music around the local bars and nightclubs under the name Lost Art Sound System.


How has your perspective changed on the world in 2020?
So much has been going on in 2020, my perspective on the world has definitely been altered. It’s been amazing seeing communities work together and create real change within our society.
How has the skating community come together? Has lockdown affected you too much?

I’ve seen the local community pull together so much recently. It’s so good to see a scene be so inclusive and caring. Lockdown hasn’t affected it too much apart from not being able to skate in the usual bigger groups, everyone’s still out there. 
Describe the city in three words?
Spiritual John heads.
Are there other people working in and around the Baltic Triangle that you really admire or are close to?
The crew down at New Bird skatepark helping to fix up and build on that place all year round, all funded by locals! Along with 24 Kitchen Street constantly providing the best from the music scene in Liverpool. 
Who is your favourite skater of all time, and why? 
(Liverpool skater) Dave Mackey. Dave has always been an inspiration in skating, his style is so good and he skates so fast. In day-to-day life too, he’s probably the best role model someone could ask for. He’s a legend.
What elements of skating do you apply to who you are, and your everyday life?

Skating comes through in my life everyday. From teaching me about supporting local businesses to what music I listen to, how I dress, and how I look at everyday life.

What do you like about the Dunk Hi model? What does that shoe mean or say to you?

The Dunk is an iconic shoe in skateboarding. It’s been worn, remodelled, and re-imagined by some of the world’s most influential skaters. I’ve always noticed the Dunk’s influence in and outside of skateboarding, from hip-hop to streetwear. The Dunk has definitely made a huge impact. 


Rob May is the creative director of Laces Out!, the biggest trainer festival outside of London, a celebration of style and streetwear. Launched in 2014, the stratospheric sneaker showcase was held in the Baltic’s Camp and Furnace, and hopes to return in 2021.

How has your perspective changed on the world in 2020?
This year has made me appreciate spending time with family a lot more. Before the lockdowns kicked in I was very busy with work, so my time at home was minimal. Lockdown #1 allowed me to spend a lot more time with my new son. I’m grateful for that.
What have you seen change in the trainers community this year?
There seems to be a lot less releases, a lot less storytelling from the brands. Obviously, most people’s buying habits have moved online and so the sense of community seems to have quietened down a bit. A lot less people shopping/meeting up in person which is inevitable. I suppose people’s priorities have changed for now but I’m sure it will come back when we’re all able to get back in the mix.
How has your opinion on fashion and style changed this year, if at all?
Comfort tends to be top of the priority list at the minute, that’s about it.
What is it that you love most about Liverpool?
The people. The sense of community. LFC.
Describe the city in three words?
Resilient. Strong. Pioneering.
Are there other people working in and around the Baltic Triangle that you really admire or are close to?

Mo in the Go Local shop is part of the fabric of the Baltic. Really boss fella, welcoming to everyone and always has a smile on his face.
Have you noticed people's buying habits change?
Everyone’s buying online for obvious reasons, but I have noticed a lot more people seemingly supporting independents, so that’s great.

What do you like about the Dunk Hi model? What does that shoe mean or say to you?
I’ve always been a fan of the Dunk Hi’s. One of my all-time favourite pairs that I own is the Doom Dunk Hi which I bought off good friend and OG sneakerhead DJ Pooky, who managed to grab two pairs and kindly let me take one off his hands. They sit on a display wall in my office and I will only take them down to wear on the rarest of occasions.

Have you missed being able to congregate IRL to talk trainers? How have you replaced that?
Definitely missed being able to put on our event and engage with the community here, but we still talk about fashion/trainers in the studio so it’s still very much part of our daily conversation.


Ricky Crawford is a musician and barista living and working out of the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool. He hailed the boat from Belfast for Uni in 2017, fell in love with the city and won't be leaving anytime soon. He started a band called Chinatown Slalom, released an album, accrued 3 million+ streams on Spotify, toured the UK, had one of their songs featured in an Apple advert and worked with some of the top music makers in the world. You can also catch him hanging out behind the counter at Ditto Coffee on Jamaica Street with a flat white in hand most days. 

How has your perspective changed on the world in 2020?
I think I'm just much more aware now of how interconnected to our wider society we are now. Every step throughout the entire economic chain has massive importance, and when one fails everything falls. It seems kind of wacky having everything built on such a knife edge like that, but it's unfortunately the reality we're dealing with. It's very difficult to think about the long term right now, but to survive this we need to adapt our focus from the norm and trail blaze new paths to succeed - equal parts both thrilling and terrifying but I'm enjoying the ride so far. 
How have you found the community has reacted? You work at Ditto Coffee, has that been open, or forced to shut?
At the cafe we've switched over to takeaway orders only which gladly hasn't been too heavy on us. We've got a lot of daily regulars who have been our saving grace throughout this rough patch. The impact on business can certainly be felt in the area, but there's a resilience built into the heart of Liverpool - I'm trying to shop locally and support independent business wherever I can and would strongly encourage others to consider shopping less online. The longer we can keep our money circulating throughout Liverpool businesses the better.
You play in a band called Chinatown Slalom - have you been able to work together? How has the band coped with 2020?
2020 has been full of fun for us. I think I would have gone mad if I didn't have something creative to pour my energy into over lockdown. Luckily, we can make music anywhere - all we need is a laptop and a microphone and we're good to go. We all live together so our workflow hasn't really changed much under Covid conditions. The only difficulty over lockdown has been separating work and leisure as we have been recording, cooking, and hanging out in our kitchen for about six months but we've managed to find a nice balance now. Getting out and about in nature and going for long bike rides, exploring places around the city that I haven't been to before has been really helpful with that. 
What is it that you love most about Liverpool? 
100% the people. I have so many more nice interactions with strangers here than anywhere else I've ever been. Mostly everyone is down for a chat and are very willing to give you their time. Coming here from Northern Ireland 3 years ago, I have received what can only be described as a generously warm welcome, especially from the creative scene here. It feels like a second home for me. 
Describe the city in three words?

Audacious, Loud, Honest
Are there other people working in and around the Baltic Triangle that you really admire or are close to?
Gotta shout out Melodic Distraction Radio, they throw some sick parties and we have a monthly show with them called All U Can Eat which is out at the start of every month. Working with them has been great for connecting us with other artists and DJs in the city, especially in the electronic scene. Late Night Agency are also in the Baltic and doing some really cool stuff, creating visuals for online and live content for some really big artists which is great to see. 
Who are your favourite Liverpool musicians (past and present)?
Loving Nutribe, “R Kid” is an absolute banger. Really dig what Yank Scally is doing. There's also Hazard who is producing some very hot beats at the minute. Have to shout Tarek Musa (previously of Spring King), a really talented producer and mix engineer working out of the Baltic - he's been a big supporter of what we're doing so it's great to see him thriving. I'd be so down to make music with all this lot which is something I definitely need to sort out soon. 
What do you like about the Dunk Hi model? What does that shoe mean or say to you?
Dunk His are one of the OG skating shoes and I think skateboarding fashion has always influenced what I've worn from quite a young age. Not that I'm a skater at all, I've just always enjoyed observing the fashion and looks that have surrounded it. In the mid 2000s it was all about big fat chunky flat-soled shoes, and much of what we're seeing in today’s shoe designs can definitely say they've been influenced by the dunk aesthetic. 
What's coming up for Chinatown Slalom in 2021?
We've got together a collection of songs that we're super excited about releasing – just biding our time and figuring out the best way of offering them up to the world. 2021 is going to be a great year for us, hopefully with the return of live gigs too – there's some plans in the works that are going to be really cool. Basically, we're scheming on how we can exist in all spaces of music that we're into – be that raves, traditional gigs, sit down casual sessions or more experimental improv so that people can watch how we make music in real time. The concepts are there but delivering on the technical side of things is going to be a real challenge, but it's going to be super cool.