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Check out all of the posts in the category ‘Behind the Collection’ below. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, try searching by using the box on the right hand side of this page.

Behind the collection – Laurel Wreath Menswear Autumn 2014

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Pictured above, the Static Cable Knit Sweater

For autumn 2014, our men’s Laurel Wreath Collection has a sharp, defined aesthetic.

We spoke to collection designer John Tate to find out the background behind the collection, which was inspired by British New Wave and electronic music of the 1980s.

Hello John, tell me a bit about the story behind the collection.

The thinking behind the collection was that it took inspiration from an imaginary night out, probably in London’s Soho district. There is a good mix of dark tones and pops of colour running throughout – reflecting the dark of the night, and the bright lights of the area. I feel there is a hedonistic undertone running through the collection. My thoughts were about going out, losing myself in the nightlife and trying to visualise how everything can start to get a bit blurry...

Yeah, details in the collection seem to reflect a night out?

I took direct influence from patterns and images you might see on a night out. One of the main thoughts behind the knitwear this season was the idea of visualising static, or white noise. The knitwear pieces feature a blurred or fuzzed effect, woven in – the sort of thing you might imagine on a monitor at a gig or in a DJ booth, with sound levels going up and down.  

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Pictured above, the Static Knit Crew Neck Sweater

Lots of the shirts feature a ‘blown-up gingham’ effect; moving the traditional micro-check gingham shirt to something a new and different. My thinking here was to reflect the ‘pixelated’ sensory effect you sometimes feel from being surrounded by bright lights and loud music. I also used a speaker-grill print throughout the collection. It looks a lot like a fine polka dot initially, but when the reference is mentioned you can see how the print has evolved from looking at the inside of a speaker. It’s subtle, but effective.

Was music an inspiration when designing this collection?

Definitely! I took particular inspiration from British post-punk/new wave electronic music of the 1980s – the sort of music you would imagine played at a dark club hidden away in Soho. Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army were probably the biggest influence overall, they have that real raw industrial sound to their music. But also the early side of the Human League, when they were more electronic than vocal. Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret album was also a big influence. That Soft Cell album is dark and hedonistic, it was a great reference point. 

You mentioned Gary Numan’s industrial sound…

Yeah, alongside the imaginary night out narrative behind the collection, I would say there is also an element in the collection taken from industrial Northern British towns – particularly Sheffield. The Human League originated in Sheffield, and had a very gritty, electronic early sound on tracks like Being Boiled. Soft Cell also originated in Leeds, before settling in Soho – their early single  Memorabilia is again quite a tough, industrial sounding track so there is certainly a Northern context woven in too.

Were you involved in the photoshoot that accompanies the collection?

Yes I was - I actually helped choose the model. He had an element of David Sylvian from the band Japan about him. Japan were probably best known for the track, Ghosts – another track from the scene that inspired the collection, and I liked the idea of weaving this further into the visual presentation.

John, thanks for your time!

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Pictured above the Industrial Dot Print Shirt

See the men’s Laurel Wreath Collection for Autumn HERE

Fred Perry Soho Neon - on the streets of Soho

As night falls, London’s Soho district becomes alive and exciting, all dark narrow streets and neon lights.

Our recently launched Soho Neon by Fred Perry collection takes direct influence from the streets, history and neon signs of Soho. 

As the long-time nightlife hub of Central London, Soho has always been a spot for subcultures to gather and entwine. 

One night, we took to the streets ourselves to discover the area that inspired the collection…

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Bar Italia. Long-time favourite Mod hang-out and Soho destination, marked by the iconic Bar Italia neon clock sign. Find out more about the origins of the Bar Italia clock, and many other Soho neon signs HERE

The Soho Neon Collection is available in Fred Perry Authentic stores, and online now for Men and Women

Find your nearest Fred Perry Authentic Store.

Thanks to Bar Italia Soho

Gods Own Junkyard - East London's neon wonderland

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We recently launched our Soho Neon by Fred Perry collection. Designed in London, the collection took direct influence from the area surrounding it - specifically London's wild, neon-illuminated Soho.
Cafes adorn the streets by day, but come nightfall the streets of Soho are alive with revellers heading towards gigs, jazz bars and coffee hubs, guided by bright neon lights.
When designing the collection, a place that gave the Fred Perry design team key inspiration was East London neon wonderland "Gods Own Junkyard"
The brainchild of iconic neon artist Chris Bracey, "Gods Own Junkyard" is a visual feast of bright neon light.
By salvaging and restoring signage that is no longer being used, neon signs are resurrected and carefully curated to create an oasis of light in the middle of East London's Walthamstow.   
 
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We met with Junkyard curator Jon Blake, to discuss the history of the neon sign and how this had a direct influence on our Soho Neon collection. 
Hello Jon, nice to meet you!
Hello, thanks for coming down.
Tell me a bit about the junkyard, there must be a lot of history behind it? 
We actually moved about 2 months ago! We were previously at a different location not too far away for about 7 years, but we had to move. 
I think we are an interesting prospect - I like to refer to us as "a living tapestry". Old signs are found, restored and are woven into it. The order is not set. Pieces are added and moved as feels necessary. 
There is so much to look at! Its almost initially a bit overwhelming.
"Gods Own Junkyard" is the only section that is open to the public, a couple of days a week. We do a lot of fashion shoots and editorials here as visually the Junkyard is rather unique. People travel here especially to use it as a location.

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Where do all the signs come from? Everywhere I look I see something new. 
It's a real mixture. Many of the signs here are made by the artist Chris Bracey's company. We have a whole other workshop across the road. Some of the signs here are special commissions we have made for retail stores or restaurants that were only used for a small period. Some are from businesses that no longer exist. We also rescue, and restore many old neon signs - some are not in a great shape when they arrive here. We see it as a resurrection, restoring them back to their former glory and putting the signs on display.
What is the history behind the company?  
Whilst "Gods Own Junkyard" has been here for around 7 years, we've actually been a business since 1952 - which I believe is the same year Fred Perry first started producing clothing. It's very much a family business, and over the years we have been responsible for many of the iconic neon signs people will have seen, particularly around the Soho area. The iconic neon clock outside Bar Italia on Frith Street is one that Fred Perry readers will probably be most familiar with. 
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Do you currently have any exciting projects the business is working on?
 At the moment one of our biggest jobs is restoring the original Madame Jojo's sign (Madame Jojo's is an iconic Soho gig and nightclub venue). It's a huge undertaking! We are restoring the sign exactly how it was originally - a gigantic sign of a woman. The venue has just had permission granted by the council to display the sign again, which is really exciting - it's a great nod back to the Soho of the 1950s. 
Our Soho Neon collection was directly influenced by Soho in the 1950s..
Soho has always been such an individual area, with its own personality. It depresses me when I see areas overtaken by generic chains. Putting the Madame Jojo's sign back up I see as a way of Soho keeping hold of its roots. 
You recently created a sign for Fred Perry too! 
Yes a gigantic neon Laurel, as I mentioned we make the signs here on location. The Fred Perry giant neon Laurel Wreath was made here across the street from the Junkyard.  
Below - our giant Laurel Wreath neon sign in the workshop. 
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Tell me something I probably don't know about neon signs. 
Neon is actually the gas that runs through the signs. It's not just neon actually - neon is just for red signs. If the sign is another colour, the gas that runs through is called argon. Neon glows red, argon runs a dull blue. So a more correct way of referring to them would be neon signs and argon signs I suppose. 
If neon glows red and argon blue, how do you create so many bright colours? 
We powder coat the inside of the glass tubes we use argon gas in. Alone, it glows a dull blue, but with the colour coating it is much brighter and more colourful. Look at the bends next time you see a non-red neon sign, you will most likely see a dull blue colour seeping out. 
That's something I never knew. Anything else of interest you can think of? 
Far too much to go into detail now! However the longest length of a sign we usually deal with is 1 metre. This is then fused with lots of different 1-metre lengths to create the sign as a whole. This makes the glass much more manageable to work with, and as a fragile object it is much easier (and cheaper) to repair and replace a 1 metre section than an entire sign. 
Jon, thank you for your time. 
No problem at all. Thanks for coming down.
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Soho Neon by Fred Perry is available now in Fred Perry Authentic stores and online. 
View Soho Neon for men online HERE
View Soho Neon for women online HERE
Find your nearest Fred Perry Authentic store HERE
Find out more information about "Gods Own Junkyard" and the work of Chris Bracey HERE
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Thanks to Gods Own Junkyard, Chris Bracey and Jon Blake.