Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Savile Row protest and our first front page!

Well, yesterday was quite eventful.

As you may have read, The Chap magazine staged a protest yesterday on Savile Row, decrying the plans for an abercrombie kids [sic] outlet to open on this historic street.

After a 3 1/2 hour journey in Betsy, we finally got to the Row to uproarious cheers from the assembled crowd.  I was impressed with the turn out, all dressed in their finest, who were gathered outside No. 3.

Betsy made a subtle entrance as always

What surprised me most was the amount of press already gathered.  We spoke to people from various agencies, including The Times and the Express but there were numerous other photographers dotted about (only one Vintage News crew of course!)

As ever, we conducted a few interviews.  I spoke to Mr B, who led everyone in a rousing chorus of 'Give Three-Piece a Chance' once we were outside Abercrombie & Fitch's Burlington Gardens address.

Kieren interviewed Gustav Temple, the Editor of the Chap and the mastermind behind the protest.

I then interviewed Michael 'Atters' Attree, a most ahem, enlightening experience!  It mostly consisted of Atters telling me how lovely I smelt - but I think we managed to get a few sensible answers!

I think we can see why
I call it my 'Mary Poppins coat'

We were told by one of our contacts in the media (ooh, doesn't that sound fancy?) that we were on the front page of the Evening Standard.  Alas, as we are based in Brighton, we have yet to get our hands on a copy.  Anyone have a spare from 23rd April?  Here's a link to the article anyway.  There are pictures of us here and here as well.

Anyway, here are lots of lovely pictures from the action of the day.



This is why we felt it necessary to protest

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Give Three-Piece a Chance

Just a quick post on the imminent protest to be held on Savile Row and nearby Burlington Gardens. Orchestrated by the Chap, the protest is a reaction to the application to open an 'Abercrombie & Fitch' children's shop (I suppose they would say 'kid's store') on Savile Row. 

Savile Row is the historic home of tailoring, not just for England but for the entire world.  Abercrombie & Fitch on the other-hand make t-shirts and deem themselves 'the original apparel and lifestyle brand'. I'm not sure what 'lifestyle' they are purporting to provide for the masses, but it does seem to require paying over the odds for what are essentially free advertisements for the American 'super-brand'.

Not only is Savile Row important for its sartorial history, the building in question (Number 3) is famous for other reasons.  It was the property that housed the Beatles' Apple Corps headquarters, and the rooftop played host to their very last concert.

Just a stones throw away from Gieves and Hawkes (at No. 1), one of the world's most famous tailors, the opening of this shop would be an insult to the trade that the Row has fought so hard to nurture and maintain, over the course of two centuries.

To work there, you have to go through 'casting' and only the best looking (and those apparently willing to work topless) are selected.  As all the advertisements for the adult Abercrombie & Fitch shops generally just feature topless models in jeans (not sure how that sells t-shirts), I'm intrigued to know how they advertise children's clothes?

This is a chance for those that value quality and expertise in the manufacture of their clothing, as opposed to slogans, to stand up and make a real difference in the future of this historic street.  Although the protest will be peaceful, one doesn't get a trouser crease that sharp without being forceful from time to time!

Apart from agreeing with the Chap's sentiments, I am also quite excited to be going to a protest organised by this esteemed journal.  In one of the earliest issues I bought (2006), I read of their exploits in showing their displeasure at the state of modern art by encircling and subsequently 'conquering' one of Rachel Whiteread's installations at the Tate Modern.

From The Chap.
Protesters are invited to produce their
own posters and slogans for the event.
On Monday 23rd April (St George's Day), a group of impeccably dressed people (including you I hope) are to congregate outside No. 3 Savile Row at 9am , before continuing on to Ambercrombie and Fitch's shop on Burlington Gardens at 10am.  As ever, there are plans to decamp to nearby establishments after the protest has dispersed, perhaps to plan our next move or perhaps (more likely) just take in a gin or two.

If you are unable to make it to the protest, then I urge you to sign the petition which can be found here: www.petition.co.uk/save-savile-row-from-abercrombie-fitch

The Vintage News will be there, capturing the action as it unfolds.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Launch party of Simon Webster Hair

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the launch party of Simon Webster Hair, a new salon opening in Gardner Street in Brighton. 
I'd met Simon through mutual friends a couple of times and so knew of his reputation as a vintage hairstylist and barber. Simon also regularly Djs (as Switchblade Si), and we've often seen him spinning some platters at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair at Brighton Racecourse.

With prices ranging from £40 to £55 for a ladies cut and blow dry (depending on the stylist), it is fairly on par with other Brighton salons. I was particularly pleased with the price of a full-head tint (£45). I may have to visit them to maintain my, ahem, natural colour.
This gentleman made the shop signs

With prices ranging from £40 to £55 for a ladies cut and blow dry (depending on the stylist), it is fairly on par with other Brighton salons. I was particularly pleased with the price of a full-head tint (£45). I may have to visit them to maintain my, ahem, natural colour.

(L-R) Siggi, Rachel and Karen

 Every so often, the acapella soul trio Just the Three of Us would start entertaining the crowd outside the shop.  Their renditions of 'You Can't Hurry Love' and 'Reet Petite' perfectly suited the retro styling of the entire evening.  The ground floor was packed, with hardly any room for us to film, so we headed upstairs to see the upper two floors.

There are four floors in total, with each room beautifully yet simply set out.  Photos of Simon's past work adorn the walls, as well as a stag's head on the ground floor!  The decor contains lots of muted colours which makes the whole place look very elegant.  Each room felt very open, even when they were full of revellers.

It was refreshing to see a salon in Brighton to have more than a distinct nod to vintage style, not only in the way they style your hair, but also in the whole look of the place. As well as the four floors of cutting and styling rooms, there is also a 'faffing' room for ladies (and I suppose gentlemen) to fix their make up and get used to their new look before stepping out. I thought this was a really lovely touch as often you do want to get yourself sorted before facing your public.
The 'faffing' room


Sadly, once again we had a really good interview which wasn't filmed, so there may be an accompanying film, albeit a very short one.

 Along with offering all the usual hairdressing services, the salon is the only UK stockist of Hawleywood's  outside of London (makers of the world famous Layrite pomade). You can also get your complete fix of New York's Bumble & Bumble.  All these goodies are stored in a big silver fridge which certainly looks cool (yes, I meant that pun, no I'm not ashamed of it).
We met lots of lovely people at the launch and I imagine the salon is going to go from strength to strength.