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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Paul Gorman

Paul Gorman originally started out as a music journalist having interviewed such artists as David Bowie, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop and Elvis Costello and having contributed to such publications as Music Week, Mojo and The Guardian. He also was the first to acknowledge music’s exterior being fashion, and the influence it had (and still has) on music itself. This brought him onto investing 10 years of hard labour and sleepless nights into his book: ‘The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion’ which has been named in the top ten fashion books by The Independent Newspaper. I was given the opportunity to converse with the fabulous Paul Gorman; discussing Lady Gaga, his collaboration with Topman in 2008, designers and boutiques around London.

One of the many concepts of fashion is, essentially, to make a statement. Although we may not have the Boy George, or the Madonna figure really present in the current music scene, there was an artist that made it easier to make comparisons with: Lady Gaga. At the MTV Awards earlier this year, she sported a controversial dress woven out of raw meat. When asking Paul’s opinion of this he simply replied: ‘I think it’s really good that there are people like her. She’s part of a long line of people who push visual expression in various different ways.’ Perhaps this may not agree with views of vegetarians per se, but he’s got a point and shows how music encourages people to manifest their visual identity. He goes on to talk a friend of his who ‘made a film about dépêche mode last year. There were people in Russia pre glasnost, whose connections to the west was via the music of dépêche mode. It gave them an identity, and a connection to something outside of what can be quite a suppressive society.’

Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, Let It Rock, 430 King's Road, Chelsea, 1971. Credit: David Parkinson

Throughout his book lies the acknowledgement that this generation of people from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s were disappearing without their work ever really being recognised. He was lucky to have placed interviews for his book before it was too late with people such as Douglas Millings, the creator behind The Beatle’s suits, and John Stevens who launched some of the first ‘trendy’ boutiques and was commonly known as ‘the king of Carnaby street’.

One of the successes that evolved from his book was the collaboration with Max Karey for Topshop in 2008: ‘I got to know some people very well like Nigel Wayne who formed Granny Takes A Trip and a couple called John and Molly Dove who made clothes worn by Mark Bowlen, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Anthony Price who made clothes for Brian Ferrey, Duran Duran and David Bowie. I wanted to do something with these guys because it was part of this mission that their stuff is still great, but it was nowhere to be seen. Topman has this thing where a lot of fashion is sold allied to music. To put it in a cold hearted way – big business knows its appeal.’ However, Paul disbelieves the notion of buying new clothes and claims that there’s far too much clothes out there which is unworn – fantastic pieces. He encourages buying from charity and vintage shops with it being ‘a healthy and much more environmentally aware way of approaching things.’

This passion for small boutiques is continued throughout ‘The Look’ with several references to ones such as Demob, Alkasura, Granny Takes a Trip and Bazaar. The present culture we live in has no boundaries in regards to fashion, meaning anything can be worn since there’s ‘no prevailing trend’. Paul talks with regret of fashion designers, sympathising the process of having to design and showcase a new collection every season. Marc McLaren, who was a designer himself and a great friend of Paul’s said ‘well what happens if you don’t have any ideas. What happens if your great idea 3 years ago is still great now? I don’t like that.’ People are beginning to see this, one example being Peter Brooks. Having owned a shop in Soho for the past 15 years selling brands such as Marquille and Eley Kishimoto moved to sell in a junk shop in East London with her boyfriend: ‘he does all reclamation stuff – stuffed birds and design items. Now he remakes clothes out of 40s and 50s shirts and makes them into dress. I believe that’s the way forward.’

Peggy Noland, Berlin pop up shop, 2009.

This only provides one with a small insight into the many things ‘The Look’ has to offer with contributions from Malcolm Mclaren, The Sex Pistols, Boy George, Dougie Millins, Bernard Lanksy, Wayne Hemingway, Johnny Moke and John Stephen. It thoroughly investigates the links between fashion and music over the last half-century and examines the influence of designers on individual artists and trends. One not to be missed, featured several photos and illustrations which are rare and never before published. Essentially ‘The Look allows the invocation of a more innocent time, when ambition, creativity and serendipity combined to make clothes which McLaren has describes as ‘like jumping into the musical end of a painting’’.

Elvis + Bernard Lansky 1954.

Backstage Heroes

Profiling the people who make the music that we love happen. Not the front men, but the real cogs of the music industry - producers, sound engineers, video directors etc. The idea was to shoot them in the 519s product and talk to them about what they do, how it relates to music and fashion.

1. JOE AND WILL ASK (Club promoters/fashion designers)

Joe And Will Ask, 24 and 25 respectively, have just been signed to a monthly Saturday night residency at 90s relic, Ministry of Sound. They think this is the greatest thing ever. Sure, Will went to the world’s most famous fashion school and has his own label, and Joe works on Gareth Pugh’s show music with art-guy Matthew Stone, but snobbery isn’t really their thing. All they want to do is play music for wasted teenagers and people letting loose after working their asses off all week. The other venue they really like playing is London’s Hoist, the sort of gay bar no one admits they go to, where there’s a leather and rubber only dress code, and the furnishings include cages and slings.


2. JACK SHANKLY (Transparent Records/Altered Zones/NME)

Londoner Jack Shankly does a lot of stuff. At just 21, he runs Transparent Records, works as an A&R for Domino, co-edits Altered Zones (Pitchfork’s more out-there sister site), writes freelance for NME, and is the author of the Transparent music blog, which is known for championing some of the most original and exciting new artists around. We love him for giving physical form to some of the earliest records from bands like Washed Out, Yuck and The Smith Westerns. The only logical explanation is that he’s a robot who survives on zero sleep.


3. FLESH & BONE STUDIOS (Recording studio)

Flesh and Bone is a studio in east London, set up two years ago by six guys fresh out of college and funded by their part-time jobs. Between the partners they’ve worked with people like Crystal Fighters, Massive Attack, The Wombats and We Are Scientists. Only four of the guys could be at our shoot, all of them 25; Jamie Dodd, Daniel Ericsson, Shaun Savage and Owen Pratt, our interviewee.


click the link to like the page: Vice Style

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Student Riots

Fuck the government. Fuck the rich kids. Fuck the police. FUCK THE CUTS.
That was totally the kinda atmosphere the day encompassed where these crowds of stumbling students crashed through windows, through cars, graffitied everywhere, climbed roofs and beat up the police (to some extent successfully)... Check it all out.

Monday, 8 November 2010


This is everything that has meaning in our world compressed into a video.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

This Girl's Fucking Psycho.

This girl has to be in some sort of cult or something - she's fucked. The moment she exhiliratingly slides her glasses off, in eagerness to reach the 'right' note results in deranged screams as she fails...multiple times.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fucking Fantastic Bloggers..

Check out the latest video from the Love Blogging series on Vice Style...


Alice, Letty and Louise are a trio of independent bloggers whose love for fashion and blogging has recently brought them together in an interesting initiate, reversing the more common media model by using their existing blogs as a launchpad to start their fanzine, entitled 'HOT & COOL'.


Look out for Vice's interview with anonymous fashion blogger and industry insider, Disney Roller Girl. Will she reveal her identity?