Triple Wimbledon champion Fred Perry founded his utility clothing brand in 1952, designing the first Fred Perry pique tennis shirt himself that same year. Adopted by generations of British subcultures for over 60 years, the timeless laurel wreath is still a badge of honour for those who value simplicity and determination. We caught up with Fred Perry Coal Drops Yard manager, Brad Brooks and staff member Max Williams to get their thoughts on the iconic label and life at Coal Drops Yard.
Describe Fred Perry in three words
Max – Does Decent Clobber
Brad – Subcultural Uniform Redefined
How did you come to work for the brand?
Brad – I started working for Fred when I was in sixth form. I ended up becoming full time and eventually worked my way up. I left briefly but returned and am very happy that I did. The ethos of the brand, and the links to British subculture, have always really resonated with me.
Max – I’ve always been a big fan of the brand, from saving up my pennies as a teenager to later in life. I applied to work here as soon as I finished my Masters.
Fred Perry was founded in 1952 but remains hugely popular today – why do you believe that is?
Brad – I think we’ve found the right balance between sticking to our roots and constantly looking to evolve in a contemporary way. If you take our store at Coal Drops Yard as an example, It’s a real journey through the evolution of the brand. The customer who has worn Fred for 50 years feels just as catered for as the Central Saint Martin’s design student.
Max – yeah, we have customers ranging from fourteen to forty. Cabbies, football fans, design students, musicians – there’s something for everyone.
Brad – Our collaborations with designers like Raf Simons and Margaret Howell have taken classic shapes and styles and elevated them to create something very contemporary. We have a core, very loyal customer base but we also find ways to appeal to a new audience. “Always different, always the same” to borrow a line from Mark E. Smith