Check out all of the posts in the category ‘Interviews’ 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.
Monday, 22nd Jul 2013
We caught up with Dean Chalkley, the man behind the lens at our Twisted Wheel Collection shoot.
Fred Perry had seen my Young Souls project and knew that there was a love and passion for Northern Soul – that project, in particular, showcases that there’s a younger generation who are now really into that music. When it came to the Twisted Wheel shoot, we talked about the approach and really wanted to capture the environment – the essence of the moves, the dancing. There’s a joy in it, which is completely real.
For this shoot, it was absolutely vital that we captured dancing and movement whilst showcasing the clothing. It’s a contemporary study – looking through the shoot, we can see that each person is in their element. There’s a great picture of Tomas, where his face is completely in the moment. He’s not smiling, he’s not posing for the camera; his focus is completely on dancing. Similarly there’s a shot of Emma, where she’s concentrating on her moves but there’s a lot of composure – Northern Soul dancing has a high level of energy and crazy moves, but there’s often a lot of grace and composure there too. It’s almost like a gymnastic performance – it’s like doing a vault, you have to land it properly.
Music is a vital influence for me and my work. Some people think that I’m actually a music photographer – I love music, but for me it’s so much more than a collection of notes and lyrics on a page that’s been performed incredibly well. For me, music is an all-encompassing thing – for example, when you think of Northern Soul, there were plenty of live bands that appeared at the all-nighters, but the scene was largely based around records. People will adore a record, because it makes you feel a particular way, it makes you adopt the essence of the scene. That links up music and photography for me, because I might go see a band play, and then when I photograph that band, I’ll work with them to try and apply the essence of their sound to the shoot. When you look at Northern Soul records, when they’re played out to an audience that are really into it, the dancefloor itself becomes the illustration of this sonic experience.
It’s really nice to see how Fred Perry have peppered little details through the designs – the rose, the badges. The Northern Soul scene is very diverse – there are the styles that are specific to the movement; the baggy trousers, the swing skirts, but the Twisted Wheel itself actually started out as a Beatnik club. The thing I love about the Northern Soul look is that it’s actually all-encompassing. Obviously things like the Fred Perry shirt have travelled throughout the whole of that period, they’ve always been worn on that scene – not only are they great looking, but they’re very practical, and perfect for dancing.
The models featured in the shoot are genuinely into it. They’re real people; they’ve not been selected from an agency because they fit a certain aesthetic. They have a depth of character that makes them a perfect fit not only to Fred Perry; but to the Twisted Wheel Collection itself.
Thursday, 4th Jul 2013
We're now into the third phase of our 60 Years Auction to benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, with new contributions available from designers David David and Karen Walker, Bearbrick creators MEDICOM TOY and electro outfit Nitzer Ebb. We caught up with Douglas J McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb to talk music, inspirations and his contributions to the project.
Fred Perry: Tell us what you're up to at the moment?
Douglas J McCarthy: Right now, I'm taking a week off from touring Europe with Depeche Mode, my solo project, HEADMAN and Fixmer/McCarthy. I'm traveling on a train to the Cotswolds to see my Mum.
FP: Talk us through your contributions to our 60 Years Auction - Nitzer Ebb customised a shirt as a group, but you also created a shirt yourself?
DJM: The Nitzer Ebb shirt was based on a very rare demo tape we made in 1983. I asked (fellow members) Bon and Jason their thoughts on the idea, then customised the shirt myself. My personal contribution was inspired by the poster for Ken Loach's exemplary movie 'Kes'.
Original Fred Perry Shirt customised by Nitzer Ebb - available at auction here.
FP: Describe your connection to Fred Perry?
DJM: I defy anyone born in the UK in the 1960s not to have a connection to Fred Perry. Me and my mate, Mark Ford, were proper little rascals at comprehensive school and, as school uniform was strictly enforced, a pair of loafers, Levi’s super thin cords (me and Mark would man our mother’s sewing machine to make them skin tight) and a Fred Perry shirt and a V neck were de rigueur.
FP: Do you have any favourite Fred Perry items?
DJM: Right now, I’m obsessively wearing the Raf Simons for Fred Perry trousers -they're brilliant for traveling in, and great to wear on stage too. I’ve been rocking them with a long sleeve button down and some brogues sans socks because, even though it doesn’t feel like it, it’s summer.
FP: Which of the other customisations in the gallery did you like?
DJM: I thought the Beams and Neville Brody ones were great - unfortunately, touring doesn't give one much time for such things as bidding online.
FP: Who inspires you?
DJM: I'm going to have to be terribly clichéd and say my wife, Hazel Hill McCarthy III. Her own art and the shows she curates are a constant source of delight and inspiration. Also, she makes me laugh out loud all the time, apart from when she makes me so frustrated that I stamp my foot.
Bidding on the third set of special customisations, including the shirt by Nitzer Ebb, ends Sunday 7th July. See all the shirts available as part of our 60 Years Auction here.
Monday, 11th Mar 2013
Born and raised in Dublin, Garry O'Neill has always had an interest in his home city's local youth culture. Having collected Dublin street style photographs and memorabilia for several years, and noticing that there was little out there to document it; Garry set out to create a subcultural history of Dublin from the 1950s to the turn of the millennium. Teaming up with graphic designer and illustrator Niall McCormack, the pair spent over eighteen months collating hundreds of images to create Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950 - 2000.
"The early seventies bootboy photos were probably the hardest to track down" remembers O'Neill. "I advertised around the city with posters and flyers for a couple of years. Most people were only too willing to help out as it was something that was going to, in some way, document their scene. It was difficult at first to track down good quality older material, like the fifties and sixties stuff, but it eventually turned up due to the length of time I spent looking for it."
Belvedere Boys Club - Mid 60s - photo contributed by Martin Coffey
Speaking of his own experiences with various street styles and groups, O'Neill says: "I liked and had lots of different clothes that are associated with one scene or another, but I’ve never wore them in any uniformed way. I loved punk, but I never felt like dressing up as a green hedgehog to convey that. You can be as anti-mainstream/establishment in a suit as you can in Doc Martens and studded leather jacket. Personally I liked the original suedehead scene from the early seventies, it was neat and stylish." The author's broad-minded approach is reflected in the book's content, which features images of groups ranging from mods, skins and teds to goths, new romantics, hippies and ravers.
Bray - Mid 60s - photo contributed by Brona Long
As O'Neill acknowledges in Where Were You? music and street tribes are indelibly linked. "Music was a huge influence, if you were into a certain kind of music; chances are you’d dress in a similar way to the groups or singers. The majority of the youth culture groups that we know, started on the back of some kind of music movement."
O'Connell Street - Mid 80s - photo contributed by Dublin Opinion.
Noting the significance of the Fred Perry Shirt, O'Neill says: "it appears in the book in various photos - what started life as a sport shirt, has become a readily identifiable item of youth culture clothing around the globe, from the original mods and skinheads of the sixties to the football casuals of the 80s, the Britpop kids of the 90s and everything in-between. It’s an iconic piece of clothing in the same way as the steel-toe boot or the parka jacket."
Of the hundreds of personal images captured in the book, is there one that stands out for O'Neill?
"If I had to pick one, it would probably be the photo of the two lads on page 114. It’s from 1974 and they’re wearing crombie coats, pinstriped parallel trousers, polished George Webb type shoes, bowler hats and umbrellas; they almost look like two city gents. The look is certainly influenced by the Clockwork Orange film, more than any music movement."
Images used with kind permission of Garry O'Neill. Published by HiTone Books, November 2011. Foreward by Steve Averill.