Fred Perry

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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

fred perry coal drops yard
fred perry coal drops yard
fred perry coal drops yard

What’s your earliest memory of King’s Cross and Coal Drops Yard?

Brad – I was quite young before the redevelopment and it was a bit of no-go zone to be honest, but I do vividly remember walking down the canal to Camden before The Stone Roses played Wembley in 2017. It was scorching hot and we stopped at a pub along the canal, for one pint, and left about three hours later. I entirely blame that pub for making me miss Sleaford Mods’ support slot.


Max – Prior to working here, my experience of Kings Cross mainly involved the station, getting on the train to see Fulham lose in various parts of England. Maybe a pub-stop for a swift tipple before the journey.


And more recent discoveries around the area?

Brad – We both love Supermax, the bar beneath Happy Face pizza. The happy hour Is great value and they always have great music. I’m very excited to try Hoppers once things calm down a bit. There’s also a great pub, the King Charles I, with an even better jukebox.


Max – Lina Stores does the pengest prosciutto outside of Italy.


What’s your favourite venue or store at Coal Drops Yard? Besides Fred Perry of course…  

Brad – In terms of stores, I love Universal Works, the guys down there are great and that brand Is going from strength to strength. They do workwear better than anyone and their recent collaborations with adidas and Birkenstock show that they are really attracting the attention of the big hitters.


What makes Coal Drops Yard a good fit for Fred Perry?

Brad – I think the link to music, with the old Bagley’s nightclub and the history of the rave scene here, it made it a perfect fit for us as a brand. There are a lot of brands we identify with in the area, that share our ethos and approach. It almost feels like building a creative community that we certainly wanted to be a part of.


Max – 10 years ago Shoreditch was the place to be. Now, I think this part of North London has very much taken over. We’re only a short walk from the Almeida theatre in Angel – which Is personally one of my favourite theatres – and we’re on Central Saint Martin’s doorstep so there are a lot of young creatives in the area.


Tell us about your perfect day off?

Brad – If I find myself with spare time around Kings Cross, a cocktail at Spiritland and a bite at Dishoom are hard to beat.


Max – I could easily spend a day just eating my way round Coal Drops Yard.


Who would be your dream customer?

Brad – I’m going to cheat and say two. I would love either Paul Newman or Steve McQueen to come In, for my money the two definitive style Icons In terms of menswear. Everything looked good on them.


Max – Kathy Burke. She’s pretty local to here and would be a good laugh I reckon.


Tell us a secret…

Brad – Tell me all your secrets – Isn’t that a Smashing Pumpkins line?


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