Stüssy has collaborated with classic American workwear brand Dickies on a limited capsule collection.
The assortment features an Eisenhower jacket, pant, selection of graphic t-shirts and a hooded sweatshirt. The jacket and pant are composed of the traditional hard wearing Dickies polycotton. Both pieces feature design details like contrast stitching and a dual logo marked interior, and the pant includes a self-fabric belt. The t-shirts and hooded sweatshirt spotlight new interpretations of some of our earliest graphics, modern takes on 50’s workwear art, which felt appropriate considering Dickies history in the industry.
Affix Studios consulted on the collaboration and imagery.
i-D recently spoke to Michael, Tyrone and Mark Lebon — Tyrone’s father, James’ brother, and the book’s editor.
Tell me about the shop CUTS. How did it begin and why it was important during this era?
Michael Kopelman: James Lebon founded the shop in 1978 in Kensington Market, which at the time was a genuine alternative mecca. Subcultures existed side by side in KM, like punks, Teds, rockabillies, and New Romantics. It was young and edgy. James provided the hairstyles that went with the clothes at prices that people could afford. In a way, CUTS replaced the village square as a meeting place to catch up. If you wanted to know what was going on that night, you could find out there.
Mark Lebon: It was in the basement and was the size of a shoebox with only enough room for one cutting chair and a sink.
Who were James and Steve? What were their personalities and how were they perceived around London at this time?
Michael Kopelman: James was front-of-house at Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues and the Language Lab, two of the hippest underground clubs in London at that time. He was a celebrity in youth culture who straddled street cred and debonaire; he spanned from i-D to Harpers & Queen andVogue. Steve brought a business structure to James’ celebrity and introduced innovative hair products and an art gallery into the picture.
Mark Lebon: James was connected and craved fame and fortune, while Steve craved love and security. James was unbelievably handsome, while Steve couldn't find a boyfriend. But they made each other laugh... a lot, and they enjoyed misbehaving and dreaming together.
Michael and Mark, what were you up to at this time? How were you participating in the world of CUTS?
Michael Kopelman: I was working as a commodity trader by day. I remember James taking me to his flat in New Cavendish Street and meeting Steve there. Mark was doing a fashion shoot in the front room with Judy Blame and models; it was amazing. In 1978, after I was made redundant, James and Mark gave me the confidence to start Gimme 5. The staff and customers at CUTS wore the brands I sold.
Mark Lebon: I was coming towards the end of my apprenticing as a fashion photographer, living in squats with with various artists like Boy George — when he was my stylist, before he started his music career. On Saturdays every other month, I put on events with live music, dance, DJs, fashion, and film shows in the big pool hall upstairs in the Market. It heralded my realising that photography on its own wasn't enough for me and highlighted what I felt was central to my practice: presenting creatives. I took pictures for and of James and gave him early breaks doing fashion hair for me. He was better at networking with younger folk than I was. He was focused, while I was distracted.
Tyrone, what are your earlier memories of CUTS and of your uncle there?
Tyrone Lebon: My first memory was watching my mum get her hair cut in the shop in Soho. I was seven maybe? But by the time I was old enough to remember really well, James had left and Steve had taken over. My uncle had moved on to his production company and was a director. I loved my uncle James dearly. He was always so much fun and so generous. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about him and how much I miss him.
Who were the people that were photographed and included in the book?
Michael Kopelman: The people Steve shot were the regular punters who daily passed through the village square of CUTS. A few people didn’t even use the staff; they just picked up the clippers and cut their own hair. CUTS always had diverse clientele, from pop stars to film makers, artists, and people in the music biz. At one point, almost every fashion editor frequented CUTS in Soho. There were also a couple of vicars, firemen, and assistants from McDonalds.
Mark Lebon: What fascinates me about most of my ongoing creative processes is what gets lost or missed. This is reflected in the book. Mike’s not in it and he was one of their most consistent regular customers. James also wasn’t featured.
What's the legacy you hope this book projects?
Tyrone Lebon: Along with the film, I hope the CUTS book is a record of a lot more than some haircuts; it’s a group of people and an era in London. Steve’s photography and love for his craft and the oddball community he built: the CUTS family, staff, and customers who were invested in it. And ultimately as part of the legacy of keeping the memory of my beautiful uncle James alive.
Grind: Please tell me about your career. For example, how was your childhood? What kind of things were you interested in?
MK: I grew up with an older brother and sister in North London. I started my childhood as an animal healer. All I was interested in was to heal their wounds and to listen to them. As a result my hearing senses became sharp.
Grind: Why are you based on London?
MK: My mission for this life is to be an English gentleman and beyond. London was where I was born, everybody complains about the weather all the time but I don’t mind it. My family live here too.
Grind: Compared to other cities, what type of city is London? Dose it have some specific characteristics?
Mk: There’s no point to compare city to city because all are different and beautiful in their own way. When you read the stories and listen to the songs that come from England, you can feel the humour and discover the character that originated here, it’s restrained and understated.
Grind: How did you start your brand GIMME FIVE?
MK: I was working in the City and one day almost everyone got made redundant. I’d already been DJ'ing and travelled to Japan a couple of times, it was impressive to see what was going on in NYC/LA/TYO and to know that my global friends wanted new London based products.
Grind: What is the concept of GIMME FIVE?
MK: Sharing is caring is the foundation concept of Gimme 5. At Gimme 5 we aim to please.
Grind: Many products are inspired by music culture, does this relate to your roots?
MK: Correct. We love music culture and try to express our love in our way. When i was a kid we only had three channels on the TV which ceased broadcasting at midnight. The radio however was always there around the clock.
Grind: You are tribe of Stüssy and OG of street culture in London, as we know. What do you think about current street culture and turning point of fashion?
MK: The current state of street wear is unrecognisable compared to what it was. Now, street wear is just a look or category. There isn’t any cultural connection. Punk = mohair sweater. etc.
Grind: You also work with KNOW WAVE. Is it possible play a role in connecting culture between New York, LA, and London?
Mk: I love the concept of Know Wave. its been great doing my own regular show as well as putting on other artists shows via my studio set up in London. I have had a lot of friends as guests coming through doing shows. It’s exciting to connect with people who might not come through just to say hello and to have them do a show. I never think about other places - only people.
Grind: Are you working on anything new? Or do you have something new that you want to start?
MK: I have been working with Stephen Mann, Kiko Kostadinov and Taro Smith for a couple of years, and our AFFIX products just launched. I am also working on a book of photos by Steve Brooks. I am doing this project with Mark, Tyrone and Frank Lebon.
Steve wasn’t a professional photographer - he ran the hairdressers called ‘Cuts’ in London, originally founded in Kensington market by James Lebon. Steve took photos mostly in triptych through the 90s and 00s. There were no mobile phones with cameras then. He developed the photos as contact sheets and put them in the shop window and then they were lost. Until now.
Grind: What do you think about street and fashion culture in Tokyo?
MK: I’ve been coming to Tokyo since the 80s and I love visiting Tokyo and Japan. I suppose I just like the people - the heart and the spirit, the mentality.
Grind: How does the activity and creativity of GIMME FIVE effect other cities around the world including Tokyo? What do you want it to effect?
MK: I am not thinking about the effect at all. I’m doing what I want to do.
Grind: What do you think that you and GIMME FIVE will be?
MK: I don’t know what G5 will be. I just want to enjoy the time with the people I work with and look after them and keep it real.
Friday September 21 2018
7 - 9pm
33 Bond St, NYC
115 Wardour St.
11-7 Weekdays and Saturday
More than 20 years in the making, Sarah Lewis delivers a vital portrait of Soho barbershop Cuts, founded by James Lebon & Steve Brooks. Released this October as part of the BFI London Film Festival.
Tickets on sale September 13th.