If you aren't familiar with the name Blondey McCoy, we don't blame you. The 20-year old Londoner's meteoric rise seems rather stupendous, straddling between the realm of skateboarding, fashion and art with ease. From starting his own skate label Thames, which led to collaborations with British institutions like Fred Perry and Palace Skateboards, to fronting fashion campaigns for luxury house Valentino and Burberry as cases in point. It seems like there is nothing that the multi-hyphenate can't do—whether that's running his own art exhibition or partnering with modern artist Damien Hirst on a piece entitled, 'Beautiful Chemical Imbalance'.
In the age when collaborations feel more like a convenient marketing spill, what separates Blondey McCoy's team-ups from the rest of the pack, is that he stays true to this roots, draws inspiration from his wide range of interests, all while representing the zeitgeist of Britain's youth movement.
For the third collection between Thames and Fred Perry, McCoy drew inspiration from the punk spirit of students putting their own spin on school uniforms. The resulting nine-piece collection sees signature Fred Perry silhouettes done with that McCoy South London twist.
The iconic Fred Perry polo shirt is reimagined with a jacquard Argyle style, a signature of British sport uniforms. The Argyle print is also translated into a buttery soft knitted cardigan and a knitted scarf with a Thames logo. The classic tapped ringer T-shirt is given a modern update with a functional zip on the neckline and embroidered logo. Our favourite pieces are from their outerwear collection: the classic tennis bomber with matching track pants are given a winter upgrade (interpreted in a heavy Borg fleece) and a quilted jacket is crafted from a waterproof waxed cotton sourced from a 150-year-old Scottish mill.
While McCoy could have rested on his laurels, he also used the collaboration with Fred Perry as an opportunity to showcase an authentic side of London's youth. Working with Michael James Fox on the lookbook and campaign video, he had an open casting call on his Instagram page to find followers as models for the project.
As McCoy recounts to Another Man, “The casting process was rewarding if a bit exhausting, I asked for willing models on Instagram and picked 40 or so from the incredibly flattering tidal wave of applicants to come and meet Michael and myself in the studio.”
The duo shot the lookbook by the river Thames, a fitting nod to his label, while the video was filmed on a bus, channelling the ethos of a school trip. Dressing them in a mix of school uniform and pieces from the collection, the campaign comes full circle, back to McCoy's original inspiration for the collection.
“I feel like more than enough lookbooks follow a strict blueprint of showing someone how cool they could be if they buy the clothes and wear them as demonstrated, which is actually (can I shock you) not very pro-individuality at all,” he continues. “The liberty I find in working with Fred Perry is that it is for everyone and I really wanted to do something inclusive and champion the people that make it all possible.”
If this Fred Perry x Thames collection is anything to go by, you don't have to radically alter a classic to infuse a jolt of youthful energy.
The Fred Perry x Thames collection is now available at Fred Perry Authentic Shop at ION Orchard.