Hartcopy is the driving force of 21st century sneaker content cultivated from a traditional form of print. A new medium of publication, swarming the grounds of Instagram with latest sneaker news while being an active archive for some of history’s most important footwear.
This platform has cultivated a following, an insular community dedicated to the stories behind sneakers, the origins of design and those who created them. This week, the online publication will take a leap into the world of print with the introduction of its debut edition, entitled, ‘The Hartcopy Journal’ Volume 1. We spoke to the Creative behind the screen, Sam Le Roy, about moving from Instagram to hard back, the insider’s take on Hartcopy and the connection the publication has made over its relatively short lifespan.
Where and when did the initial idea come for the Hartcopy Journal?
The Hartcopy Journal is really the cumulation of all of our goals and inspiration over the past couple of years. Ever since Hartcopy was created, we’ve pulled so much inspiration from physical print, so it’s a natural step for us to create some literature of our own. We spent months coming up with ideas and for a debut project, we really wanted to build a strong foundation that we can build upon as years go on.
We all know what Hartcopy is about on Instagram, how will this differ from your social media posts?
The Journal presents an elevated take on our Instagram content. We’ve kept our DNA intact in the production of the book, obviously channelling our design language which is by far our most notable distinguishing feature, but it’s all new information and new insights.
What is in the first edition of The Hartcopy Journal?
The Journal is a dissection of the goings on in the sneaker scene from 2021. Simply put, we’ve put the most notable products of the year in one place and done a deep dive on every single pair. Inside, you’ll find information on the significance of your favourite pairs and through interviews with designers and figureheads in the scene, you get a fresh perspective on products you’ve perhaps never thought about before.
The artwork on the cover is designed by Arthur Ortega, what did he bring to this project and what is it about his work that made you want to dress your first instalment?
Arthur is a maverick. I encountered his work off the back of a Sabukaru post a couple years ago, and since I saw his style, I knew I’d want to tie him into a project of mine at some point. This was the perfect chance. We commissioned a storefront packed full of references, not only ones personal to me and the other team members, but also historical nods. Arthur being the talented artist he is, nailed it. Our content draws from traditional Japanese publications, so pulling in Arthur was a no brainer.
On another note, I love the idea of working with smaller creatives and shining a light on these big talents – that’s exactly what Hartcopy is striving to do, not only in the sneaker scene.
Now that we know about The Hartcopy Journal Volume 1, will some following issues be released?
The Journal will absolutely see more issues. For me personally as well as Hartcopy as an entity, longevity is paramount. In a decade, I want to be able to show off a stack of books we’ve made happen.
The world of sneakers is very much an Instagram entity. Why do you think it was important to go back to basics and provide some sort of materialistic value to Hartcopy?
Instagram is an amazing tool for information distribution, there’s no doubt about that. I mean, look at what CULTED does, and all of these other amazing publications. For me, however, I’ve got an obsession with tangible products. I can’t visualise 50 thousand followers nor can I see thousands of likes – a book, however, that lives on a shelf or in people’s hands, is so fulfilling to me for so many reasons. It’s also a shelf-life thing. When I post on IG, the articles live for a week or so – after that, only so many people will see them. With a book, I know in years and years, someone will always be able to pick up the book and have a flick through.
Aside from sneaker content, can we expect Hartcopy conversations?
Absolutely – I don’t want to spoil every guest we got involved in terms of interviews, but I think we really covered some authentic designers and key figures within the scene.
What do you think it is about Hartcopy which makes it so connected to this insular sneaker community?
Hartcopy is the purest form of sneaker content – there’s no “hype” attached, there’s no opinion, there’s no face of the platform. It’s all about the stories and historical significance behind sneakers new and old. When I make a post, I don’t think about likes or whether people will like it, and I don’t really care for growth. The only things I care about are keeping people informed, uncovering the intersections between new and old, and really giving out unfiltered information.
If I was posting for other people, Hartcopy would simply be another account. But, we’ve pushed out 1300 articles with the same tenets and beliefs in place, so I think people really respect us based on that.
What is your favourite part of the publication and why?
There are a few stand outs for me. First, the whole experience of putting this together was amazing. Everyone involved really stepped up and killed it. If I had to pick one, it’d be Virgil Abloh’s interview. Never did I expect to be able to talk to someone like him, especially in our first book. But, Virgil being the amazing man he was, he was very happy to get involved. Even before his passing I counted my lucky stars that I’d gotten the opportunity to interview him. Now looking back, to be one of the last people (if not the final person!) to be able to get some real insights from him on his activity in the sneaker world is an experience I’ll never ever forget. For him to take time to do that for us and me, really speaks volumes about the man he was.
What is next for Hartcopy, more publications, other projects?
I’m steering Hartcopy to become a real force. We’ve documented culture for so long, and we’ll never stop that mission, but I’d love to begin to influence the culture little by little.
Books are non-negotiable, and I’m already building concepts for future endeavours that are ever so exciting. I’m also working on some more products that will really solidify Hartcopy as a name in the industry. Trust me, things are coming – I’ve been on the other side of an interview so many times and heard people say this time after time. But really, big things are coming.
Looking forward I’m full of confidence and looking back I’m so full of pride. Tim Suen, the man that started all of this, deserves the world for giving me a chance to write with him two years ago. And now I’m at the helm, it’s my mission to make that happen.
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