TEXT_ WILLIAM BARNES
When a world-renowned stylist, designer and image-maker starts reposting your personal photos of street scenes on Instagram, you know you must be doing something right. For Adam Jones it was, in his words, “thrilling”, when - the now late - Judy Blame unexpectedly popped up in his notifications. But it was when Blame took note of the young Welsh designer’s fashion creations that things really began to happen.
“He asked me for a scarf, and we spoke online for a while where I’d pick his brain for advice”. It’s easy to see why these two men might get along; elements from Blame’s practice are echoed throughout Jones’ work. “It’s the idea of making use of found objects, seeing the beauty in the mundane or the throw-away; that D.I.Y mentality and punk way of looking at things,” says Jones. This comes through in the designer’s most recent line in which bar and tea towels are repurposed for a range of vests, scarves and coats.
This collection is one that could only be made by a Brit and it all feels very much of the moment. As a culture war simmers in Brexit Britain, it feels both right and brave for a designer to explore Britishness, with the pub a natural starting point. But the way Jones skirts through punk references, faux fur, beer brands and Sunday league football kits, is sensitive and equally smart. It culminates in a range of garments that could be from the wardrobe leopard-print-clad barmaid Bet Lynch from the British soap opera Coronation Street. That is by no means a slight (on either party), Jones like a good pub stand-up, manages to include everyone in on the joke, his humor inclusive, with a universal wit to his work; and a joyous ‘sod-off’ sensibility befitting to his mentor running through it all.
The iconography and references to working-class Britain draw obvious parallels to the wry Liverpudlian designer Christopher Shannon, who Jones cut his teeth with. Blame was instrumental in connecting the two creatives. “A position came up and Judy recommended me to Chris,” explains Jones.
It was here that Jones finally met with Blame in person. “It was a few weeks or maybe a month in, he turned up to Chris’ studio with the cash for the scarf, (not that I was even bothered about the money, Judy Blame wanted one of my pieces!). I remember he peered around the corner into the room I was working in, soaking wet in an Adidas tracksuit, I was starstruck.”
During this time the pair got to work on accessory projects together, Jones would go round to Judy’s and collaborate on pieces, “usually a crown, says Jones. “We’d drink tea and smoke cigarettes. I saw him a few weeks before he died, he asked me to make him a crown from beer towels and faux fur, which I delivered. I just hope he got to wear it”.