Paul Gorman is…

Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry: This year’s most exciting street-style collab

The countdown is on to this years’s most exciting street-style collaboration: the limited edition Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry collection.

This comprises four shirts featuring graphics by the music design maestro. With an accompanying patch each, they will be available online and in stores worldwide from Wednesday August 9; prior to that shirts can be purchased in person from the Fred Perry shop in Henrietta Street in London’s Covent Garden from August 3.

//This shirt was inspired by the front cover Bubbles designed for Nick Lowe’s 1979 single Cracking Up//

Born Colin Fulcher in deepest west London, Barney Bubbles is arguably the greatest designer to have engaged with popular music, best known for the immediacy of his vibrant and dazzling artworks and art direction across a range of media for musicians and performers from the Rolling Stones, Hawkwind, Nick Lowe and The Damned to Elvis Costello, Depeche Mode, The Specials and Ian Dury.

//Two designs for Ian Dury are incorporated here: punch-hole lettering for 1979’s Do It Yourself and an op-art roundel for 1983’s 4000 Weeks’ Holiday//

As such Bubbles’ oeuvre visually tracks the story of popular culture through r&b, psychedelia and hippie and prog to pub rock, punk, new wave and post-punk. As Sir Peter Blake has said: “Barney Bubbles was so good I couldn’t really have competed with him.” Meanwhile Billy Bragg, one of his clients and friends, points out: “We were misfits in the pantheon of pop; Barney made us look magnificent!”

//The slogan ‘Pay Attention!’ came from advertising for Elvis Costello And The Attractions’ 1979 LP Armed Forces; this is combined with a paint splash which appeared in promotional material for Do It Yourself//

The Fred Perry limited edition collection focuses on designs Bubbles produced for art-school r&b group The Muleskinners – whose ranks included the late Ian McLagan, later to become a member of the Small Faces and The Faces – as well as Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Ian Dury & The Blockheads and Nick Lowe.

//The lettering on this shirt emulates the t-shirt Bubbles created to be worn by his friend Lorry Sartorio for the photography session which resulted in an award-winning 1964 poster for The Muleskinners//

You’ll be able to order Barney Bubbles X Fred Perry shirts online here and from Fred Perry outlets around the world from August 9. Remember: this is a limited edition.

To launch the collaboration, which has the blessing of the Barney Bubbles Estate, I am staging an exhibition of finished artwork and rare items relating to the designs featured on the shirts at the Fred Perry store in central London’s Henrietta Street; this will run from August 3 – 18.

More details to follow on that, as well as another exhibition of Bubbles’ 3D designs I am organising with gallerist Rob Tufnell at his new London space in September.

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Author: / Published: Jul 24th, 2017 / Category: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 2010s, Barney Bubbles, Barney Bubbles Estate, Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry, Exhibitions / Comments: 5

5 Responses to “Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry: This year’s most exciting street-style collab”

  1. Ian Harris
    on Jul 28th, 2017
    @ 11:34 am

    Fabulous stuff Paul!

  2. Richard Luckett
    on Jul 30th, 2017
    @ 8:39 pm

    Are there any more of those autographed Barney Bubbles books left? I want one BADLY.

    Also…I’ve been all over online today trying to buy the Fred Perry BB clobber but I can’t find it on the FP website or anywhere. Am I missing it somewhere?

    Thanks in advance and cheers from Austin..

    Richard Luckett

  3. Paul Gorman
    on Jul 31st, 2017
    @ 8:47 am

    Hi Richard – the FP collab will be available from this Thursday (Aug 3) from Fred Perry’s Henrietta Street store in London’s Covent Garden and then available online and from FP stores worldwide from August 9.

    I have some BB books ready to be signed and for sale here:

    All best


  4. Richard Luckett
    on Aug 11th, 2017
    @ 3:27 am

    Thanks for the link. I bought one immediately. However I have a “large” issue with the Barney Bubbles X Fred Perry collaboration -the utter lack of realistic sizes available. The largest size (42) is just LARGE! I haven’t worn a large in many years and I seriously doubt that many of the folks of a certain age like myself who are old enough to remember Barney Bubble’s work are size large either.

    I have been a rock ‘n’ roll tour merchandise manager for 35 years and clobber is my business and I was fully intending to buy all four but I need EXTRA LARGE! I feel this is a serious oversight on FP’s part and they are gonna lose a lot of business because of it. I have a “big” issue with Ted Baker for the same reason. We XL’s want to be trendy too! Why is it that only 20-30 year olds get to wear this cool gear? With love and respect…Richard

  5. Paul Gorman
    on Aug 18th, 2017
    @ 11:12 am

    Hi Richard

    I take your point and will ask FP.



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