by Sam Skilton
Some things in life simply go hand in hand. Take fish and chips, for example. How about salt and pepper? And here’s a shout: Mod Culture and the south coast city of Brighton.
It’s a wet and windy night down by the seaside, but a few blocks down from East Street – the road which is famous for the Mods and Rockers riot scene in Quadrophenia – the city’s Fred Perry store is offering a warm welcome.
The beers are flowing, and the record decks are spinning, but let’s rewind a bit first to the very beginning of the story which has led us here.
This time last year a bloke called Bradley Wiggins lived a rather peaceful life in his little village of Ecclestone in East Lancashire. Yes, he was something of a hero locally, and yes, he was a six-time Olympic gold medallist. But the man himself never claimed to be a celebrity.
Twelve months on, and oh, how times have changed for Mr Wiggins. Now Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner and a national hero, he is a celebrity – whether he denies it or not. He may not act like one, but the amount of people who turned out on Thursday (21st March) for the launch of his brand new Fred Perry Collection is testimony to the fact that he is.
Wiggo, as he is affectionately known, captured the British public’s hearts during the summer – not just an excellent sportsman, but a man with a sense of humour too. One of the iconic moments of the London 2012 Games occurred when he posed for the cameras having perched himself upon the men’s time trial winner’s throne.
The 32-year-old cyclist had just pedalled his way to his fourth Olympic gold on the streets of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. And with Hampton Court providing the backdrop to the medals ceremony, it was some wonder that the organisers were able to resist the temptation to produce Henry VIII’s headpiece from inside the Palace, and crown a Modern British Hero.
That is the catchphrase which has been chosen by Fred Perry for Wiggins’ new collection of attire – a swanky collection of stylish cycling gear and modernist style.
So here we are in Brighton, one of a number of Fred Perry stores worldwide debuting the new gear. After being offered complimentary drinks, we went to check it out.
The new collection includes a smart ‘Golden Age Cycling Shirt’ featuring a stripe panel across the chest and back with a zip down funnel neck, a ‘Vintage Track Jacket’, his very own navy blue Harrington, and a GB Tipped Polo (of which this writer is a proud new owner). The range also features shorts, kit bag, ‘Strada Bianche’ and ‘Suede Hayes’ shoes.
While ‘This Is England’ star Vicky McClure was at the Nottingham do, Wiggo would of course not be attending any of the launches in person as he is currently battling to win the Tour of Catalunya for Team Sky. And even if he is unable to triumph in that, he can rest safe in the knowledge that his new clothing range appears to be yet another success story for him.
Official Fred Perry images from Scott Mitchell, also photographer for Pretty Green, Team Sky, Steve Cradock, The Moons and Bradley Wiggins (does this guy have the best job in the world?).
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