Browns 50: The Testimonials
If you were an item of clothing what would you be? What about your earliest memory of fashion? To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we invited some of our favourite Browns faces to answer these questions and more, joining us in our imaginary fitting room to discuss their very own “Height Of Fashion” moments (and some mishaps!)
“Browns to me represents the spirit of something new, of something interesting and intriguing,” muses iconic critic Suzy Menkes, a friend of Browns since day one. Joined by actress Zawe Ashton, paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead, DJ Nick Grimshaw and a cast of other fashionable faces, it was in celebration of Browns 50 that friends of Browns reflected on what half a decade in fashion meant to them.
Whilst blogger Susie Bubble and Browns CEO Holli Rogers remember their early fashion week attendance, for models Jess Maybury and Sienna King, it was walking the runway for designers such as Rick Owens and dressing up with Simone Rocha that they recall. Dressed in a dusty tulle Khaite gown fit for the red carpet, Zawe similarly recounts a recent fashion week memory: sitting front row alongside a bevy of fellow changemakers at designer Roksanda’s LFW show.
Reflecting on past and future, we asked London up-and-comers - designer Maximilian, musician Shygirl and host extraordinaire Miss Jason - to reflect on their nights at London’s legendary PDA parties, and the outfits they wore. “I met you in a skimpy dress!” Laughs Maximilian, who explains: “PDA is basically a night that one of our good friends used to run in East London. It’s a place where everyone on the fashion scene would come together and just dress up and do whatever they wanted.”
It’s this same spirit that characterizes Browns, where work and play fuse together in a riot of fashionable fun. “To me, Browns represents community,” explains Dazed editor-in-chief Isabella Burley. “Not only the collaborative spirit of the people that work there, but the way that they’ve supported so many different designers, and been with them from the start of their career.” A testament to this - designer Conor Ives fondly recalls Browns’ buying manager Ida writing him a reference for his UK visa renewal.
For some, Browns inspires devotion, a case in point when it comes to Nick Grimshaw. “I always go to Browns on a Sunday. I go to the gym and then I go to Browns after for a mooch, so all the way through my gym class I’d be thinking: ‘I wonder what they’ve got in Browns?’ It’s my church!” He laughs. For others, it’s about inspiration. “I studied at the London College of Fashion and we’d have to do these recces going to different shops and checking out outfits for inspiration,” remembers Morcheeba frontwoman Skye Edwards. For Buffalo Zine editor Adrián González-Cohen, it was lamenting his mother’s habit of dressing him and his little brother identically that proved his most memorable fashion moment. “Mothers, don’t dress your kids the same!” He warns.
Whilst the events of 2020 might have put a halt to our IRL party plans, a Browns birthday wouldn’t feel right without a little dressing up. We asked our invitees to recount what they’d be wearing to celebrate (even if it is in the comfort of their own homes for now). Whilst many will be wearing something from Browns’ exclusive 50 capsule collections, some had slightly more avant-garde ideas. From the ever outrageous Crystal Rasmussen: “I’ll be celebrating Browns 50 in this Halpern coat. And then later on, in the nude…”