Monday, 22 November 2010

Cathy McGow-ow-ow-owan

Cathy McGowan models dresses, including one of her own design on the right, in Mod's Monthly, March 1964.

Two things have prompted this post.  The first was finally deciding to sell a treasured mid-60s Cathy McGowan's Boutique mini mac that's been in my personal collection for years.  You can take a peek at it right here.

The second was the ever wonderful Miss Peelpants, who, as well as kindly offering her opinion on my mac, posted some scans from the first ever Cathy McGowan's Boutique catalogue on her blog.

Its hard to gauge precisely how well known Cathy McGowan is these days - are teenagers aware of her in the same way that they might know something about Twiggy? - but she was, in her time, just as much of a style icon as La Moss is today (whatever you might think about her).

As presenter of Ready, Steady, Go! from 1964-66 she demonstrated an unerring sense of style that proved hugely influential to the hordes of young teenage girls who were avid viewers of the TV show, tuning in not just to see the latest pop sensations and dance steps, but Cathy's new outfit of the week.

I have four copies of The Mod's Monthly magazine from 1964, which I've covered before and no doubt will plunder again at some point, and Cathy features largely in all of them.  Quite naturally since she was famously known as the "Queen of the Mods."

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cabinet of Curiosities

Last week I came across OIOI, an art blog that is currently inviting submissions to an ongoing project called "Cabinet of Curiosities - Portrait Gallery."  I read the brief, really enjoyed the selections that had been presented so far, and had to have a go myself.

The basic idea is to select nine objects that mean something to you and photograph them.  These 'portraits' are shown without captions, presumably to allow the viewer to conjure up their own stories, impressions and connections.  But apparently its ok to offer a bit more detail on your own blog or website.  So I will.

My personal criteria for selection was simply that the objects had to be near to hand, which immediately says something about their position in the hierarchy of my possessions, and could fit onto the coffee table I was using as my neutral background.  I chose quickly, without much thought or deliberation.

Please view the beautifully minimal presentation on OIOI first, and then, if you want to know a little more, there's a few details below.

My curiosities

Watch fob with a photograph of my grandfather as a little boy.  On the reverse is a photograph of his father.

Marks & Spencer card of bells - these look pretty old (1910s possibly?) and quite probably did cost a penny.  Its nice to think that tinkling bells were considered "Household Necessities."

La Brise celluloid folding fan - you pump the handle to make it spin.  A marvellous little gadget that works surprisingly well.

Co-op delivery man's money bag, used by a food delivery man in St Helens, Lancashire during the Second World War.  It has his number disc and a whistle on a chain.  It also still had little paper cash bags inside.

Promotional pencil.  A good, honest, straight-forward slogan.

Polish wooden peg doll - I like that she is rather sturdy, sensibly dressed and credibly a young girl.  She can stand up on her own, with those large flat feet, unlike the attenuated, cartoonish Barbie with tiny high heels.  This doll has been my buddy icon on Flickr for a good few years so I must relate to her at some deep level!  I also remember having a very similar wooden doll made by Galt Toys when I was little, so there you are . . .

Necklace worn by the female impersonator Jimmy Slater.  In his later years he was a well-respected pantomime dame and I can imagine that this necklace, with its exaggerated scale (the cream beads are the size of gobstoppers), would have been worn for his roles as Widow Twankey or one of the Ugly Sisters.

 Carved bone binoculars - a souvenir of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  One lens has a Stanhope with portraits of her in 1837 and 1897, the other has "The principal royal residences": Osborne, Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Kensington Palace.  The scale of this is impressive too - about 2 cm across at its widest point.  Incredible, miniaturised technology employed to make what is basically a novelty charm.

Set of speckled bakelite clips - possibly for hanging photographic prints to dry?  Their appeal seems quite obvious to me!

Quite what these nine objects say about me I'll leave you to decide.  This was such fun to do and I'm very pleased that Vincent, the author of OIOI, decided this collection was worthy of featuring on his blog.

Why not have a go yourself?  Here's the instructions again, in case you missed them at the top.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Toggery: Stockport's rock'n'roll tailor

I found this jacket at Stockport's flea market about four years ago.  The stall holder told me he bought it for 13 guineas when he was 16 years old from a local menswear shop called The Toggery.  Judging by its condition, it looked like there had been few occasions (if any) when he had summoned up sufficient courage to wear it.  Its quite a piece.

Of course, I was filled with curiousity about The Toggery so I looked it up online and most of the references I discovered related to the 1960s band The Toggery Five, managed by the proprietor of the shop, Michael Cohen, who obviously supplied their enviable wardrobes as well.  Olaf Owre has composed a very thorough account of the band's story, and there's some fabulous pictures of them on the original singer, Frank Renshaw's website.  Including this one:

The Toggery Five outside The Toggery, Mersey Square, Stockport, 1964.  Picture source The Toggery Five 1963-1966.

Graham Nash of the Hollies had worked there and, in fact, Michael Cohen went on to become their manager too.

This shop was evidently a leading source of ultra fashionable menswear in the north west during the 1960s, and supplied 'fab gear' (apologies, it seemed appropriate!) to numerous local, regional, and not so local, bands.  Including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (allegedly) - we'll come to that soon enough.

The Toggery, it was becoming clear, was an historically significant nexus of the music and fashion scenes of the time, so how come I'd never heard of it? 

Anyway, some people I know, of a certain generation, remember The Toggery vividly.  My mum worked at a branch of Boots which was opposite The Toggery, and fondly recalls glimpsing the steady procession of handsome young men who patronised the shop.  Joe Moss remembers getting his best ever suit from The Toggery in his younger days, not to mention boots and numerous shirts.  He also has a friend called Pete Maclaine who used to work there, who was still in touch with Michael Cohen himself.

I wondered if it would be possible to interview Mr Cohen to find out more of this story, and, thanks to the kind efforts of Pete Maclaine, it turned out it was.  What follows is material drawn from an interview with Michael Cohen conducted on 5th August 2009, with Pete and Joe in attendance (and sometimes chipping in).

An aside - Pete is a significant player in the Manchester music scene himself.  As Pete Maclaine and the Dakotas (later Pete Maclaine and the Clan) he has been a musician for nearly 50 years, and is still going strong.  His band were the first from Manchester to play the Cavern in Liverpool, and he has the unusual distinction of having had the Dakotas stolen from under him by Brian Epstein, who installed Billy J. Kramer as the lead singer instead.  He has a phenomenal store of anecdotes about the music business and his adventures in it, (this article has a few good ones) not to mention an inexhaustible fund of jokes and patter.

On to the story, which follows after the jump:

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Story of a Dress

 "The Story of a Dress" by Lorraine Timewell, The Saturday Book 7, 1947, pp. 71-80.

Our dress was designed in England.  The scissors point to the North, where the finest fabrics are made.  Across the Channel lies Paris - a city of silk.  Uniting the fashion centres of London and Paris is a current of industry and needlework.  We send them woollens, they send us silk.

The dress begins in the mind's eye of the designer, Angele Delanghe.  Her long, supple fingers are idle only when she is visualizing another design.

At the age of six Angele Delanghe was draping and pinning her doll's clothes, and she has been designing ever since.  In 1914, when Belgium was invaded, she came to England as a refugee with her doll and a precious box of scraps and pieces.  Now she is British.

Mr Strange, of Coudurier Fabrics, the great silk house, knows well how her imagination is fired by fine fabrics, and keeps her informed of his new arrivals.

In a tiny room she works with the selected fabric straight onto the dummy, its shoulder scarred with pin-marks.  In picture one, she is concentrating her mind not on the checked silk, but on the floral printed silk lying on the table by Smuts the cat.  She knows exactly what she wants to do with it, and in picture two begins to drape and pin.  It is a fine silk in a pale oyster white, with burnt rose and grey outlined flowers scattered over it.

When the model has been assembled by Delanghe, it goes to the fitter in one of the workrooms, who cuts a pattern in 'toile' from the original.  Then, under her supervision, the dress goes into the hands of the young sempstresses.  In the picture above the moment of judgment has arrived.  Miss Garner, the fitter, is taking the completed model to be tried on by a mannequin and viewed by Delanghe.

Audrey Kenney, the mannequin, with her head in a bag, is helped into the dress.  The bag protects the fabric from lipstick and powder, and protects also her new 'hair-do.'

The date for the showing of the collections for each new fashion season is decided by agreement amongst the various designers, or couturiers.  In London, they are known as the 'Big Ten' - the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers.  Their present president is Norman Hartnell, and Delanghe is one of the 'Ten.'  The eve of the collection finds the models facing their most formidable audience - the people who made them.  The dress whose story we have been tracing (it has a name now, 'Madame Butterfly') passes the critical inspection of the staff.  Then the clients arrive on the important day.

This is what they see: the soft feminine grace of 'Madame Butterfly,' which resembles an old oriental painting in the lines of the drapery, and has a short kimono-type sleeve.

They also see 'Madame Butterfly's' 44 companions, including its opposite number, 'Gleneagles.'  Some of the models are never again seen in England: they go to the United States and elsewhere abroad.

And what next?  The fabric manufacturers, the button makers, the fashion-supply companies, the printers, the Press, the fitters, the sempstresses, the secretaries, the telephonists have all been involved in the life of 'Madame Butterfly,' the demure navy and white checked afternoon dress (left), which we saw being designed on the stand, and their companions.  Well, Angele Delanghe is looking abstracted.  'I am thinking of the next collection,' she says.  And so it begins all over again.


This photo story appeared in the seventh edition of The Saturday Book - one of those compendiums of miscellany from the arts to anthropology, history and antiquities, social observation, folklore and all manner of diverting stuff - that were once so popular.

This edition was published in 1947, at pretty much the height of post-wartime austerity and a time when most women could only dream of a new evening gown made of silk, so its interesting to see that Ms Delanghe appeared to have no problem securing such scarce and valuable supplies.  But then, as the piece points out, some (most?) of her output was destined for export.

Its great to see that the author, Lorraine Timewell, chose to feature Angele Delanghe rather than one of the more well known members of the London 'Big Ten' such as Hartnell, Hardy Amies or Digby Morton.

In fact I've found precious little about her, apart from these scraps:

Delanghe was an early member of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, formed in 1942, which included the Hon. Mrs Reginald Fellowes (its first president), Norman Hartnell, Peter Russell, Worth of London, Digby Morton, Hardy Amies, Bianca Mosca, Creed, Molyneux and Michael Sherard.   (Information from In Vogue: Six Decades of Fashion by Georgina Howell and Exploring 20th Century London).

She was known for creating "soft feminine tailored clothing and beautiful romantic eveningwear and wedding gowns" (from The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion, 1947-1997 by Amy de la Haye).

After the war she took over the Ladies' Outfitting and Ready to Wear Departments at Fortnum & Mason and "revitalized" them.

Former women's editor of the Yorkshire Post, Valerie Webster, recalls with palpable frustration that she was required to attend "the couture shows of people like Angele Delanghe and Lachasse who made tweedy suits and hefty jewel-encrusted evening gowns for the grouse moors and hunt ball scene."  To be fair, this was probably in the early 1960s, and young Valerie was more interested in Mary Quant than grouse moors and hunt balls, and perhaps Delanghe was past her prime.

This little 'backstage' story of Angele Delanghe's work at least adds a little more to our knowledge of her.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

TinTrunk dips a toe into the fashion world

I'm a one-man band, a small-time vintage seller trying to establish a business, and my resources and capital amount to pretty much zero.  But sometimes friends can surprise you.

One friend of mine - Elizabeth - is a stylist with some seriously impressive credentials, and we had talked about organising a photo shoot of some TinTrunk prime stock for some time.  Yesterday, thanks to her, it happened.

There was a pretty vague, bullet-pointed brief about Englishness, eccentricity, awkwardness, unlikely combinations, plus a dash of surrealism and straight-faced humour, and some definite ideas about what to avoid - cosy nostalgia and whimsy, straining for 'authentic' replications of period fashions, chintzy floral teacups, and most of all cupcakes!  I'm not a hater by any means, and I'm happy if those aspects of the current vintage trend work for other people, but they just don't work for me. 

Elizabeth suggested I prepare a mood board of ideas and inspirations, which ended up being dominated by some of my collection of old photographs.  I love the weird tension of self-consciousness and self-display seen in old snapshots and cheap studio portraits, but I was keen to avoid any kind of sepia-toned, slavish recreations.  It was more about taking the mood and atmosphere of these anonymous shots and mixing it up with some David Hockney dandyism/Nancy Cunard decadent glamour/gender mix-up playfulness.

We had lots of ideas, but only one short day to shoot as much as we could.

A dear family friend, Helen, agreed to let us use her house and garden as our location.  This house was a derelict 18th century farm building that she has, over a period of about 40 years, turned into an exquisite little cottage packed full of fascinating treasures, and surrounded by a lush garden with some surprising features.

Personally, I was happy to outline the brief and inspirations/influences and let Elizabeth and her talented young recruits run with it, and wait to see what happened.  But bless their hearts, I was consulted at every step along the way.

Here's Rosa, one of the two intimidatingly lovely models, working my 1960s Pucci skirt with a black and white striped 70s blouse that Elizabeth pulled together (something that would never have occurred to me!), being photographed by the newly graduated Sally Davies.  Incidentally, Sally has earned herself a first, and having seen her in action I can understand why.

Sally here is photographing Rosa with Hugh, our male model, who had a deliciously louche appearance - somewhat like a bored, seen-it-all aristrocrat - although he was in fact a very quiet and sweet young man.

I didn't take many photos myself, because I was a little bit preoccupied about looking after all my precious stock.  Some of the items we used are very collectable (meaning they have some value) and I personally treat them with the care and scrupulousness of a museum curator since any damage, stains or flaws will reduce their value considerably.  I tried to switch off that 'conservationist' voice in my head because it was such a privilege to see them worn and styled so imaginatively.  This seemed to work for the duration of the shoot, and I'm so glad I stopped myself from intervening too much!

Helen's rotating summer house, provided a splendid backdrop for Rosa in a 1980s olive green plaid jumpsuit with vintage 1970s Terry de Havilland snakeskin platform shoes, and some bright green gloves that my sister gave me (not for sale, sorry!)  Hugh sports some bright yellow trousers that Elizabeth had daringly combined with a 60s tweed women's cape and a bold polka dot tie.

You can also see Elizabeth poised and ready to pounce with a green suede 60s hood, but its anyone's guess as to whether Hugh or Rosa will end up wearing it.  Which was one of the best aspects of the shoot - the garments were treated neither reverentially nor conventionally and Elizabeth just went with what seemed to work, based on her highly attuned fashiony instincts.

So here's a sneak preview of some of Sally's shots, and I'll leave it to you to decide if they fulfilled that brief detailed earlier.

Not that it matters anyway.  I'm cock-a-hoop about them regardless, and I'm looking forward to exploiting them to the full for the forthcoming TinTrunk website, not to mention flyers, business cards, signs, badges, banners, fridge magnets, coffee mugs, t-shirts, mousemats - blimey, there's so much potential!

My sincere thanks to:

Elizabeth Cardwell/Moss - super duper stylist and all-round organisational talent.
Sally Davies - photographer (she can also style and create garments and is a very accomplished all-rounder in all kinds of fashiony stuff).
Kaye - our makeup artist who worked magic on Rosa for this shoot.  Once I find out her full name and any website/online details these will be added here.
Rosa - the beautiful female model - ditto for details.
Hugh - the handsome male model - ditto for details.
Helen - for allowing us all to run amok in her fabulous house and garden.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Get dressed in the NME, 1981-5

Boy advertisement, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83. 

Here's the last of the clothing ads from the small pile of NMEs remaining in my possession, and these date from 1981 to 1985.  You might notice that most of them come from the bumper Christmas issues, which were the ones I was most likely to keep for their end-of-year summaries, not to mention the hugely enjoyable collections of fatuous quotes from pop stars cherry-picked from the year's interviews.

So Boy's advertisement (above) for a party dress is rather confusing.  It looks like a summer dress to me, especially accessorised with the headband/sweatband.  Mind you, "rude print[s]" are appropriate for all seasons - and wouldn't you love to know what that "rude print" they so primly didn't show was?

Another all season item is the studded leather belt and Tyneway Video (?) has a very nice pyramid stud example on offer, along with wrist bands and boot straps:

Studded leather advertisement from Tyneway Video, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83.

You might remember Roy's Fashions from the previous post, and his December 1981 ad doesn't disappoint:

Roy's Fashions advertisement, NME, 19th December 1981, page 83.  Click on the picture for a larger view.

Roy's range has definitely gone more New Romantic, with a dashing unisex pirate waistcoat and matching pirate shirt, a balloon-legged unisex Bowie suit and what is billed as a "1920s look" suit, although from that sketch it couldn't look more 1980s to me.

Afghan coats from The Station Shop, NME, 3rd January 1981, page 33.

Are those hippies still here?  Well clearly they are, and the Station Shop is still flogging these wretched Afghan coats to them.  Just stay out of the rain if you're wearing one - if you've ever smelt a wet Afghan coat you won't want to repeat the experience.

And now a scanner-stretching long ad from Melanddi, proud suppliers to the Jam, from December 1982:

Melanddi advertisement, NME, 25th December 1982, page 75.

The printed canvas jeans remind me that I thought I'd find an ad for Modzart, who were the prime purveyors of printed canvas strides at the time - and I was sure their ads were regularly featured - but I didn't find one.

Moving swiftly on from that deeply uninteresting observation . . .

Melanddi advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Here's Melanddi's Christmas 1983 ad, with a rather curious "Stiletto Tongue Boot" among its newer offerings. 

Mark Lord Promotions advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Mark Lord Promotions have a novel line in black-dyed military surplus which I'm struggling to associate with any particular youth culture grouping of the time.  Its a bit too butch for the goths (hang on, when did New Model Army appear?), maybe a bit too austere for the punks . . . any help here would be much appreciated.

Phaze advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

Phaze of Newcastle has some proper cartoon goth gear, including some splendid bleached spider (web) jeans.  The note at the bottom that cheques should be made out to "Tyneway Trading" might suggest a link with the Tyneway Video studded leather ad earlier.

Spencers Trousers advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

I love the specialist suppliers' ads, and Spencers Trousers' one is a goodie.  In case you didn't believe they were "direct from the factory" there's a picture of it right there.  Despite the rather conventional graphic design, this ad inspires confidence in their trousers, and will you look at those Bowies - magnificent!

Schuh pointed bootee advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 75.

A modest start for one of the familiar names on the British high street these days.  Schuh's pointed bootee is rather lovely, and comes in an extensive range of colours, plus leopard skin fabric.  I'm picturing Fay Fife of Edinburgh's finest, the Rezillos, in these. 

And here's another familiar shoe retailer, although possibly past its prime now:

Shelly's of London shoe advertisement, NME, 24th December 1983, page 76.

I had no idea they supplied footwear to the World Disco Dancing Championship, which is quite some endorsement for the quality of their shoes.  The WDDC provided some golden tv moments in the late 70s and early 80s, and there's plenty of clips to enjoy on Youtube.  I've just spent far too long watching a few of them, but I failed to spot Shelly's breaker boot with the "disco" sole. 

The Cavern advertisement, NME, 22/29th December 1984, page 75.  Click on picture for a larger view.

The Cavern is strictly mod, and I think its rather nice that they name their models.  So please meet Carl, Dave and "Boney" Tony.

Phaze advertisement, NME, 23rd February 1985, page 37.

Phaze return in 1985 with their goth range, and a smattering of punk.

And finally, Mark Lord Promotions' 1985 ad (now trading as 'The Mark') has dropped the black dyed combat jackets and gone a bit New Wavey.  And the Bowie trousers endure:

The Mark advertisement, NME, 23rd February 1985, page 37.

If anyone has any surviving items from these advertisers, or remembers wearing any of this stuff, your comments would be most welcome.

The only things that I recall having are the Sid-Vicious-on-tv t-shirt I mentioned in the previous post, plus a Boy punk shirt that was a copy of the Sex/Seditionaries ones with a woven patch of Karl Marx and a bleach written message "Only Anarchists are pretty."  This I bought from the Boy shop rather than mail order, and, incidentally, was filmed doing so by a Japanese breakfast tv show!

Oh yes, and some Shelly's extra-thick crepe soled brothel creepers.  Ah, memories . . .

Directory of advertisers

The Alien, 20 Corporation Street, Bolton, Lancs (skinhead coats)

Baxby Fashion House, 227 Portobello Road, London W11 (punk and mod)

Boy, 153 King's Road, London SW3 (punk)

The Cavern, 22 Fourberts Place, Carnaby Street, London W1; 19 Ganton Street, Carnaby Street, London W1 (mod)

Fab-Gear, 42 Call Lane, Leeds (also X Clothes shop premises) (punk/new wave)

Furs and Jeans, 48 Manor View, London N3 (Afghan coats)

The General Franchise Co. Limited
, 22 Park Grove, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7SJ (Ted/rock'n'roll)

J. Holdsworth, 95 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 (punk and mod)

P. Leach, 50d Redcliffe Gardens, Chelsea, London SW10 (punk)

Mainline, 51 Two Mile Hill Road, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 1BS (punk)

Mark Lord Promotions
(mail order) Ltd, Airfield Industrial Estate, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire CV35 9JJ (black dyed army surplus)
By 1985 advertising as 'The Mark' at Unit 9, Western Road Industrial Estate, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (new wave)

Melanddi, 43 Carnaby Street, London W1 (mod, new wave)

Phaze, 44/46 High Bridge, Newcastle-on-Tyne NE1 6BX (punk, goth)

Printout Promotions
, 28A Abington Square, Northampton (punk, mod, metal)

Punters Choice by Cadiss, 117 Hammersmith Road, London W14 (slim ties)

, 1st Floor, Virgin Records, Union Street, Glasgow and 3 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (retail stockist of P. Leach, punk)

Retro, 26 Union Street, Broadmead, Bristol 1 (mod leather)

Roy's Fashions, 1st Floor, 45 Carnaby Street, London W1 (new wave, mod, new romantic)

Schuh, 9 North Bridge Arcade, Edinburgh (new wave shoes)

Shapes, 252 High Street, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN8 N78 (hippy/ethnic)

Shelly's of London
, 159 Oxford Street, London W1; 19/21 Fouberts Place, Carnaby Street, London W1; 146 Kings Road, Chelsea SW3 (mod, punk, new wave shoes)

R & E Spencer Ltd, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 2BR (trousers)

The Station Shop, Lancaster Gate Underground, Bayswater Road, London W2 (Afghan coats)

Tyneway Video, 6 Goldspink Lane, Sandyford, Newcastle-on-Tyne (studded leather)

Sunday, 13 June 2010

NME fashions, 1980

'The Alien' advertisement, NME, 20th December 1980, page 72. 

A brisk canter now through the NME clothing advertisements from my three surviving copies dating from 1980.  Starting with an authentically menacing hand-drawn ad for skinhead coats (presumably Crombie style) with a nicely no-nonsense tag line: "Good Coats These."

Fab-Gear advertisement, NME, 20th December 1980, page 72. Click image for a bigger view.

Fab-Gear of Leeds have the new wave angle covered, and their ad indicates that their retail outlet was X Clothes, an alternative clothing business that started in Manchester.  Music trivia fans will be delighted to learn that Johnny Marr worked in that Manchester branch just prior to forming the Smiths.

'Radar' advertisement, NME, 20th December 1980, page 73.  Click image for a bigger view.

Radar appears to be a Scottish retailer with shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but mail orders are referred to 'P. Leach' of Chelsea, which must be the same company as (possibly misprinted) 'B. Leach' whose bondage trouser ad from 1979 featured in the previous post.

You'll notice that multi-pleated 'Bowie Trousers' were a firm favourite around this time and several  advertisers (in this and the subsequent blog post coming soon) provide their own version of them. 

'Baxby Fashion House' advertisement, NME, 20th December 1980, page 72.  Click image for a bigger view.

Baxby's lamentable line drawings inspire little confidence, especially that Crombie in the bottom right corner.  Oh dear.

These days we routinely expect online retailers to provide full colour photographs from every angle, eye-popping zooms and even rotating 360º views, and it makes you realise what a considerable leap of faith it must have been to have sent off your cross-signed postal order based on a tiny, mis-shapen sketch that gives only the vaguest idea of what the garment might actually look like.

'J. Holdsworth' advertisement, NME, 29th March 1980, page 48.  Click image for a bigger view.

J. Holdsworth's drawings aren't much better, but at least there's a bit more detail. 

'Printout Promotions' advertisement for punk gear, NME, 29th March 1980, page 47.  Click image for a bigger view.

With some of these advertisers you get a sense that there might be some enthusiasm or at least interest in the culture they are exploiting catering for, but Printout Promotions isn't one of them.  They are just happy to produce whatever seems to be in demand.  And there's nothing wrong with that at all, in fact I admire their versatility.

So above, you'll see the punk range, and coming up below is the rock selection:

'Printout Promotions' Giant Rock Sew Ons advertisement, NME, 29th March 1980, page 48.  Click image for a bigger view.

Heavy Metal wasn't really the NME's turf (that was more Sounds territory) and this is the only specifically rock-related merchandise ad I found in my small and highly unrepresentative survey.

Mind you, I can't help warming to that slogan: "Rock on your Chest!"

'Printout Promotions' parka advertisement, NME, 29th March 1980, page 48.  Click image for a bigger view.

And here Printout turns its hand to mod styles with Union Jack emblazoned parka.  In fact, I'm sure there were plenty of other subcultural fields that Printout Promotions trained their sights on.  An online search turned up a scanned copy of CB World magazine from April/May 1981 featuring a full page ad of theirs with the proud message: "Leaders in the field of personalised CB wear," which presents merchandise including everything from bodywarmers to car sunstrips.

From versatility to extreme specialisation, let's welcome the self-styled "most exciting Company in the Universe":

'Punters Choice by Cadiss' slim ties advertisement, NME, 27th September 1980, page 53.  Click image for a bigger view.

Punters Choice by Cadiss want to help those of you with overly wide ties, and their Asteroids tie certainly sounds tempting.  Interestingly, they accept Access credit cards - the only NME clothing advertiser I've found that does so - but without a telephone number it looks like those ties will remain "Hard To Find."

'Boy' mail order punk advertisement, NME, 27th September 1980, page 53.

Boy were one of the, er, big boys of punk clothing and I dearly wish I'd sent off for one of those full colour catalogues.

This ad has proved useful to me, though, by way of the mention of Kitsch 22.  I have an old sleeveless t-shirt with a picture of Sid Vicious on tv (printed sideways) that has a perversely black on black woven label.  After much squinting and angling to catch the light on this mystifying label I've discovered that it reads "Kitsch London" and probably came from Boy.

The t-shirt had been featured in a fashion magazine piece showcasing new t-shirt designs and I must have sent off for it, although I have no memory of doing so.  But I kept that clipped picture of the t-shirt (indeed it may still be around, somewhere . . .) and the garment remains in my wardrobe nearly 30 years later.

Steering back to the business in hand, the blog Planet Mondo has some pictures from the 1981 Boy Blackmail catalogue that are definitely worth a look.

'Roy's Fashions' advertisement, NME, 29th March 1980, page 48.  Click image for a bigger view.

I have a soft spot for Roy's ad, which has a lot to do with that black and white block panel mod dress.

'Roy's Fashions' advertisement, NME, 20th December 1980, page 73.  Click image for a bigger view.

And here's Roy in December 1980 offering not just Bowie trousers but a full Bowie suit for £39.95.

Finally, its heartening to see that the Teds, Britain's oldest and most venerable youth subculture, were not forgotten in 1980.  The General Franchise Company was there to dress them in Polyester Viscose Gaberdine:

'The General Franchise' Drapes and Drainpipes advertisement, NME, 29th March 1980, page 47.  Click image for a bigger view.

The next post will gather up the remaining NME clothing ads scanned from issues dating from 1981 to 1985, and I'll include a handy directory of all the advertisers just to keep up the nerd quotient.  Stay tuned . . .