BARNZLEY SPEAKS

Wemblex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally launched in 1953, Wemblex supplied teenagers with Ivy League-inspired staples. An archive of deadstock shirts were uncovered in 1974 by Malcolm McLaren - those same pieces formed the basis for Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren’s infamous Anarchy Shirts. Sold on the shelves of iconic clothing boutique Sex, the brand returns to shake things up with two original style shirts, featuring vintage patterns from the original 1970 releases.

We spoke to creative renaissance man Barnzley, touching on how he plans to reintroduce Wemblex to a new audience, '80s culture, and more.

It's great to see the Wemblex shirts in action again, what made you resurrect the brand?

Wemblex has always been hard to find. It was something I loved because the anarchy shirts were so iconic, but there were so many fakes. I’ve been looking for at least 35 years.

How did you acquire the rights?

I was always looking for the shirts online. I looked on google one time and saw the company went bust 40 years ago. I looked for the owners, but they had passed away.

I had my good friend Andy Cruz from House Industries render the logo for me, then I approached an intellectual property lawyer and asked him if the rights were available. They were, so (now) I have all these official-looking certificates with Wemblex and my name on them. 

There were so many fakes. I’ve been looking for at least 35 years.

What's your key memory from the scene during the period Malcolm and Vivienne customised the original Wemblex shirts?

I was very young at the time. I came into contact with Malcolm and Vivienne during the Bow Wow Wow years, around ‘80 -’ 81. Malcolm and his assistant/art director Nick Egan would give us mixtapes from New York with all the first hip hop on it. This is when the club scene really started kicking off. Wemblex was a favourite with (bands like) The Beatles and The Yardbirds. It was also popular with teddy boys, mods, and punk rockers, if they could find them. We used to swap the clothes and wheel and deal them to each other. I guess it was an early version of the reseller thing and the beginning of a form of’“streetwear’ -  it was called ‘Clothes for Heroes’. 

Future plans for the brand?

I plan to make other original Wemblex styles that I have the patterns for. A website is launching soon, I like how it’s growing organically. The quality of customers is amazing - it’s mostly other designers, musicians and legends It’s a really ‘if you know you know’ brand. 

As a special collaboration, we teamed up with Wemblex and designed a custom stripe shirt. With star print overlay, available in two colourways, both shirts are exclusive to Goodhood.

Wemblex x GH
Wemblex x GH

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