Tuesday, April 03, 2018
J. Simons of London, the Godfather of British male fashion
I can't remember whether I ever actually bought anything from J Simons, possibly a pair of Bass Weejun loafers (which I still have and really love), but I still can probably cite it as the motherlode when it came to my fairly fixed style of clothing and how it has gently evolved. In the early 90s we'd wander in to this treasure trove of a shop next to Covent Garden and the owner, John Simons, would talk us through great stories such as the red stitching on the seams on Levis jeans, the origins of penny loafers and the Harrington jacket.
We didn't know it at the time but we were in the presence of one of the giants of the mod era. A real cultural figure in London. So I'm really looking forward to seeing the full version of the film trailed above, featuring notable sharp dressers like Robert Elms, Paul Weller and Kevin Rowland, and someone who featured heavily in my 1988 undergraduate dissertation on the New Man - ad guru John Hegarty. It feels like a fitting tribute to the contribution of one of the giants of British male fashion, who took the best bits of Americana, Italian quality and a classy British street attitude and made something special.
I love his shop in Marylebone. Next time I'm down I'll be paying him a visit. I might even buy something this time.
The source for this nostalgia trip was a lovely piece in GQ, here.