Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Red or Dead 30th Anniversary

This year saw street style fashion brand Red or Dead reach its 30th anniversary. To celebrate, they held an exhibition tracking their journey from a humble market stall to the glamorous catwalk scene. 

The exhibition featured a selection of their past iconic designs, plus their latest Pearly Queen capsule range especially designed to mark the pearl anniversary milestone.
Alas the exhibition was on for only one weekend, but never fear, here are some of the highlights:

1980’s – the Early Years

With little money but a lot of talent and enthusiasm, Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway set up a stall in Camden Market, selling Geraldine’s handmade designs and Wayne’s vintage finds. Moving on to Kensington Market, Geraldine’s designs were spotted by Macy’s New York who wanted them NOW! Excited to get the commission and definitely not wanting to turn it down, they needed more help to ensure the order was ready on time and so Red or Dead was born in 1984.

After injecting street fashion life into the Dr Martens work boot, Red or Dead launched their own footwear range in 1986. Their Watch shoe (so called because of the watch face mounted on the front) was a hit with teen band Bros and of course their fans.

1990’s – the Catwalk Collections

The 90s saw Red or Dead blossom year after year with collections in fun quirky patterns and prints.

Their first catwalk collection, Space Baby, saw a repeated image of baby’s head wearing a space helmet. The Space Baby print also sky rocketed on to a pair of transparent Dr Martens and plastic jean style jackets.

Food shopping hit the fashion aisles as their Shopping collection saw prints made up of  popular British brands’ logos and designs such as the Refresher sweets, OXO cubes and Assorted Biscuits. Wearing this you’d never forget what to buy!

Who would have thought that wearing a dress with a picture of an old man pulling a face would be a must have fashion item? But that’s what happened when Red or Dead made the Uglies into a beautiful Gurning print for their Mad in England collection. The Gurning print was named after a Gurner called Treacle who was found through the Uglies modelling agency. Treacle is shown distorting his face into a typical gurn expression – projecting his lower jaw forward and upwards and so covering his upper lip with his lower lip.

Inspired by Vladimir Tretchikoff’s painting ‘The Chinese Girl’, Red or Dead gives this ‘Green Lady’ a makeover in shades of deep blue and call their collection the ‘Blue Lady’. Her portrait graced many living rooms in the 70’s, and here she adorns a range of romantic and nostalgic evening wear.

Other collections on view included the Butterfly, New York Skyline and the Guru print of paisley overlaid with religious guru cut outs.

Red or Dead takes a short break from the catwalk until 2004 when they make a comeback with their Save the Allotment collection

2000’s – New ventures

The 2000’s see Red or Dead entering new ventures with Specsavers, Schuh footwear, Bank clothing, Seaspray swimwear and even Raleigh bikes.

And what is next for Red or Dead? Their story doesn’t end here, it’ll probably continue well into their Ruby and Golden anniversaries but until then:
Happy Pearly 30th Red or Dead!


By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky http://www.frumpytofunky.com

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