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Defy TopMan Magazine Issue 1

E oh you...

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05

co nte nt ? 03 Content ? s

10 The golden age of discontent

All this issue’s cool stuff and where to find it

The untold story of Thatcher’s other Britain, and how it changed the way you dress today

04 Editor’s letter Everything you need to know about getting the most out of DEFY

07 View from the Topman

www.topman.com

The inside track on the world’s most forwardthinking men’s fashion retailer – straight from the horse’s mouth

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14 Keys to the season How to spot all this season’s key influences. Like a papery history teacher. But better dressed

18 To brighten young lives & make good citizens

28 Art attack

Banksy who? Four pages of the coolest new artists display their wares. Cut ‘em out. Stick ‘em on your wall – hey presto – instant “personal gallery space”

32 The greatest show on Earth. Redux Unbelievably, Topman’s Oxford Street flagship HQ has just been upgraded. For your own personal tour read on...

36 And the bands played on

Topman’s favourite new bands showcase the hottest looks from our latest collections

47 Model students Topman has everything the young fashionable buck needs when term starts again. Plus an exclusive 15% moneyoff offer – in case your loan hasn’t come yet!

49 Total control

All the coolest new looks in glorious black and white

Inside Topman Control – the world’s coolest music initiative

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51 Our friends electric

Topman.com brings style from your fingertips to your doorstep

52 MAN alive! An exclusive preview of this year’s incendiary MAN fashion show and our new designer collaborators

62 The D-List Defy’s top 20 people, things and places that are going to rock the new season

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born in

78

www.topman.com

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07 { Spring line shirts }

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More than any other high street chain, Topman is the one brand that students, fashion editors, IT professionals and plasterers can all buy into and not feel like they have to lie about where they got it from. Since its 1978 origins the label’s been transformed by excellent on-trend buying: to such an extent that the store now dictates, rather than follows emerging trends. Going into A/W 09 we’re one step ahead of the game again, with collections that draw upon economically difficult but culturally rich periods in Britain’s history; specifically the Thatcher years. The downtrodden, dishevelled, musician look, and references to the lad culture that also emerged during that period, are two main themes. Topman are also stocking experimental designer brands found through our bi-annual MAN catwalk show – the definitive menswear presentation during London Fashion Week. J W Anderson, Patrick Ervell and Siv Stoldal are amongst the labels coming straight from the catwalks and into store. In parallel to the direction of cutting-edge independent retailers like Manchester’s Oi Polloi, this season the progressive Topman Design line takes its influence from the outdoors and adventurous men of reputation. It’s this commitment to innovation – alongside quality basics – that keeps the increasingly demanding male fashion customer coming back. Topman is a one-stop shop for the best footwear, new designers, suits and anything else that style-conscious men need.

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10 Hit The North: the story of Thatcher’s other Britain

THE GOLDEN AGE OF DISCONTENT

We all know the ’80s, right? It was the decade of girls in legwarmers and boys in make-up, of new romantics flouncing about to the Human League, and yuppies drinking their weight in champagne while barking into mobile phones the size of Audi Quattros. Cheesy music, daft clothes, sunglasses in nightclubs – what a fun place this ’80s must have been. Wrong. The ’80s you see in Ashes to Ashes or your girlfriend’s fashion magazine is a myth, conveniently packaged to make this decade of extremes as appealing and consumer-friendly as possible. The real legacies of the era didn’t originate in cool London clubs full of men dressed as women, but in the north-west, specifically in the rival cities of Liverpool and Manchester. And their effects have been far more wide-ranging than a few daft clothes and the mullet haircut. Walking around the gleaming city centre of Manchester or the towering waterfront of its great rival, Liverpool, 35 miles down the East Lancs road, it’s hard to believe that just 25 years ago both cities were riven with unemployment, political unrest and scales of poverty unseen since the 1930s. The only places young men could feel any sort of pride in their local identity was either on the terraces or in the dark recesses of the venues they watched their favourite bands play in. As the recession of the late 1970s started to bite, a group of young Liverpudlians did something that would change the way British men would dress forever: after travelling to the continent to follow Liverpool FC, they appropriated (usually by less-than-honest means) the luxury brands of the European super-rich. By 1980, labels like Sergio Tacchini, Fila and Ellesse were worn by increasing numbers across Merseyside and beyond. They may have been out of work and living in Kirkby, but they dressed like millionaires on the Italian Riviera. Over time, as the look spread, Liverpudlians, most of whom supported the far-left Militant council in charge of the city’s council, switched again, ditching the European look for the uniform

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www.topman.com

Text Tony Teasdale


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of the very establishment that viewed them with suspicion and contempt. Barbour coats, deerstalker hats, small-collared shirts, tweed jackets and even Hush Puppies all became favoured items. In Manchester the story was much the same, with fans of United and City putting their spin on what had become known – thanks to the London press – as ‘casual’. But something else was stirring, and it came from aspiring musicians in areas like Stretford and Prestwich. Instead of aping the look – if not the politics – of the super-rich as football fans had done, pop groups like The Fall and The Smiths used the crumbling tower blocks and faded dreams of their neighbours as the starting point for their music. The wiry, angry singer of The Fall, Mark E. Smith was never a ‘dresser’, as could be seen in his fondness for cheap V-neck jumpers and scruffy jeans. But he did take a perverse pleasure describing the world he saw around him in tracks like Industrial Estate (sample lyric: “We’d have a canteen, but we haven’t got the space”). Playing to disinterested or down-right hostile punters in working men’s clubs every week, Smith wryly detailed an existence of tedium and hopelessness to often-outraged audiences who just wanted to escape their lives for a few hours. The fact that he didn’t play any country and western or read out the bingo didn’t do much to help his cause either. The Smiths may not have played social clubs like The Fall, but singer Morrissey’s use of the iconography of an older, simpler north at odds with the flash, booming metropolis of London made his group inseparable from the city that spawned them. It’s no accident that the iconic picture of the band features The Smiths standing outside Salford Lads Club, a boxing hall and gym built to occupy the attention of the area’s youth in the 1900s. And while Morrissey’s quiff, 501 jeans, Dr Martens and checked shirts harked back to an imagined 1950s America, the choice of long-forgotten British actors for the Smiths’ cover art and lyrics about the joys of everyday Mancunian life rubber-stamped their quintessential northern identity. These two movements, one based around football, the other, music, laid the foundations for many of the things that we take for granted today. From the Smiths-like melodies of Pete Doherty’s guitar-playing to our never-ending lookout for the latest, freshest clothing brands, the north-west’s detour away from Thatcherism in the 1980s helped define how young British men see themselves in the 21st Century. And they did it without a legwarmer in sight.

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Five key ’80s trends that stayed with us

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Trainers

Indie music

Before the ‘80s, trainers were something people wore to play sport and occasionally to go to the shops in. But it was the football fans of the ’80s who made the trainer the cornerstone of their look, turning otherwise sane men into quivering wrecks at the sight of rare pair of adidas Forest Hills or Stan Smiths. And crucially, it’s these very same models that provide the backbone for adidas’ sales in the UK today as part of their Originals range.

It may just be a contraction of the word ‘independent’, but indie is now shorthand for any guitar pop that takes in elements of punk, late ’60s psychedelia and crucially, the uniquely British guitar sound pioneered by The Smiths. No Smiths, no Baby Shambles. Actually…

reprise Sportswear One of the sad legacies of this period is the wholesale appropriation of leisurewear by the British public. While limited-issue tracksuits looked great on skinny youths with wedge haircuts in 1982, a family of five decked out in matching shellsuits today, waiting at the airport for the flight to Malaga doesn’t quite have the same cachet.

Life-long unemployment

The Mancunian identity

Before Margaret Thatcher put most of northern England on the dole in 1980, if you had work you were pretty much guaranteed a job for life. After the closure of the mines, factories and workshops in the early years of her tenure, young men settled into a life of daytime drinking and Giro parties a la Frank Gallagher of Shameless.

If you’d asked anyone outside the north-west what defined a Mancunian in 1979, they’d have shrugged and said “Coronation Street”. The ’80s changed that with the birth of the professional Manc. From Mark E. Smith to the Stone Roses’ Ian Brown and on to Liam Gallagher, the sneering, streetwise Mancunian hiding under his fringe began his inexorable rise to media infamy here.

Cheers.

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14 Influences

keys to the season ith Mark E Sm

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The key to Topman’s Autumn/Winter 09 season is reworked lad favourites. Taking inspiration from a diverse range of sources including Thatcher’s Britain, Northern working men’s Clubs, football casuals and bands like The Smiths, the focus is firmly on working class subcultures. With the theme of the collection lending itself strongly towards outer layers, overcoats and smart hooded sweats – some with prints, others with a vintage feel are the stand out pieces. Over-sized parkas, gilets and zip-up jackets mean that there’s plenty of potential for layering.

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The Footy Casual

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Whistle to work

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Today is yesterday

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18

All the season’s coolest new looks. In glorious black and white Photography Mert & Marcus

“To brightenyoung lives & make good citizens”

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www.topman.com

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This Nation’s Saving Grace

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28

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Give youth a future

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Oscilate Vividly part 1 Kate Gibb

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Oscilate Vividly part 2 Kate Gibb

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Terrors of a clown Kate Gibb

FEFY TOPMAN

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Th greatest s o e 32

Your personal tour of Topman’s remixed Oxford Street HQ

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36

a

Scouting For Girls

London three-piece shock music world by not being miserable. If pop songs aren’t cool, they might as well be fun.

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Photography Perou

the and the bands played on bands

Topman’s favourite new bands showcase the hottest looks from our latest collection of hits

American duo Keith Murray and Chris Cain bring disco beats, prominent basslines, ever-angular guitars and some New York smarts to the British table.

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We Are Scientists

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The Pigeon Detectives

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UK indie rock band formed in 2002 by Rothwell, Leeds born teenagers Matt Bowman (vocals), Oliver Main (guitar), Ryan Wilson (guitar), Dave Best (bass) and Jimmi Naylor (drums)

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46

mod lst ud nts When term starts Topman has everything the young buck needs to hit the ground running

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Look 1

Look 2

lecture Hall

bar casual

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Look 3

Look 4

freshers week

looking for a loan

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49 Musicians rule TopMan’s world

total

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Lightspeed Champion

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51 Topman.com brings style home to you

www.topman.com

our friends electric

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Surf

Shop

Save

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?

THE

defeat

OF GRIT, SOOT, SMOKE AND CLANK

Welcome to DEFY – the new style bible from Topman. In this and every future issue you’ll find everything you need to know about getting dressed, looking cool and staying ahead of the fashion pack. Created and curated by the experts at Topman in collaboration with many of the coolest, most cutting edge stylists, photographers and style mavens in the world today, DEFY is your indispensible guide to the fashion season ahead. And just to whet your appetite, here’s a taste of what Topman and DEFY have to offer…

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15/6/09 16:20:09


DEFY  

Design for a customer magazine

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