Last month, Crooked Tongues officially closed up shop. After 15 years in the game, supplying the best trainers and providing engaging content for obsessed sneakerheads worldwide, it was all over.
For Gary Warnett, an O.G. sneakerhead and an early Crooked Tongues fan, the end was bittersweet. Warnett, who joined the Crooked Tongues team as a copywriter and eventually became the company's content manager and editor, reflected on his time with the company in a candid blog post.
"14 years ago I was just a Crooked Tongues fan," Warnett writes. "It was pioneering and design-led, run by a bunch of obsessives scrutinising every element and bringing a level of criticism to collecting at a point when brands had realised that old stuff was worth re-releasing."
As Warnett recalls, September 2009—one year after Crooked Tongues was acquired by ASOS—brought much change to the company when Crooked Tongues' operations was moved to ASOS' London headquarters. He cited an early red flag: "A meeting with some guy who was probably called Dan, who held up a King Apparel t-shirt with a J Dilla logo of some sort and and told us that, 'This is by a really cool brand called J Dilla…' made me hyper-aware that CT and ASOS probably weren’t the ideal match."
The incident would later foreshadow his remaining years at Crooked Tongues.
"By 2011, the sense that CT wasn't wanted by either ASOS or [Unorthodox Styles] was clear," Warnett writes. "After ASOS took a majority stake of the site in April 2013, that September the site was relaunched and Crooked Tongues looked worse than ever, ceasing to innovate entirely. The site went downhill fast."
Warnett sums it up: "[ASOS and Crooked Tongues] just didn't fit with each other — fast fashion and detail-led obsessions aren't a marriage made in heaven."
For Warnett, the fundamental differences between ASOS and Crooked Tongues were glaring. It was all about preserving the culture and upholding the brand equity attached to the Crooked Tongues name—something that Warnett believes both Crooked Tongues and ASOS failed to achieve.
"When a site dedicated to shoes doesn't actually seem to care much about its subject matter or show signs of wanting to be better, it needs to be put to sleep."
Despite being a first-hand witness to the brand's decline, Warnett still holds a high appreciation for Crooked Tongues, saying "it will always be bigger than some shoe store" and that if it wasn't for the site, he "would be a far unhappier human being right now."
[via Gary Warnett]