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LISTEN: Paul Weller for Sunspel – ‘Every day’s a dressing-up day’

Paul wears our Pique Polo Shirt in Navy and Pima Cotton Trouser in Light Grey

Paul Weller has been a British style icon for as long as he’s been a music hero. Knowing Paul to be a Sunspel advocate, we invited him on a factory visit which developed into a collaboration - with Paul hand-sketching designs, selecting fabrics and reinterpreting our 1930s Sun and Clouds logo.

The result is the Paul Weller for Sunspel collection – a very personal capsule collection of the staples that Paul Weller feels are the foundation of his modern day wardrobe. In this podcast, Paul talks to journalist Terry Stiastny about the concepts behind the collection and why ‘every day is a dressing up day’…

Words and interview by Terry Stiastny

Paul wears our Technical Mac in Bottle, our Pique Polo Shirt in Avocado and our Pima Cotton Trouser in Light Grey
Paul wears our Henley in Ecru

 

At the Sunspel store on Chiltern Street in Marylebone, Paul Weller is in the shop window, modelling the new range of clothes he’s designed. Around him, the camera clicks and the stylist helps to adjust the Henley T-shirt that Weller is wearing. Paul Weller is taking a keen interest in the whole process, looking into the viewfinder of the camera and asking questions about the colours, the light, and how it’s all going to look.

Paul Weller’s been world-famous for over forty years — first in The Jam, then the Style Council, and now with a long and flourishing solo career. Throughout his life, music and image have been closely bound together.

‘All my life, for as long as I can remember, clothes and music were always the most important things to me,’ he says. From his first awakening as a young child in the Sixties, ‘they were always connected in my mind — the look and the music always went hand in hand.’

‘From the Beatles to the Small Faces, whoever it was, I liked their music but I liked the way they looked as well’, he remembers. ‘I always wanted to look like the Beatles, which is impossible when you’re seven or eight,’ Paul says. But with the help of a trendy, young Mum and, later, a part-time job, he was soon able to save up for his own clothes.

Paul wears our Technical Mac in Bottle, our Pique Polo Shirt in Avocado and our Pima Cotton Trouser in Light Grey

He was first aware of Sunspel when he became a fan of the classic white T-shirts that he’s been wearing for years. So when Paul Weller visited the Sunspel factory in Long Eaton, he was interested in learning more about how the clothes were made. ‘The factory was amazing,’ he says, and had ‘a real family vibe’. ‘It’s like how the clothes feel in a way,’ he continues, ‘they’re cared about and there’s a bit of love put into it.’

What was he looking for when he came up with his designs? ‘I was trying to get them to make stuff that I couldn’t get anywhere, that was the idea,’ he laughs. He made ‘his own little sketches,’ which he says were good enough to give Sunspel’s designers the idea to work from. Describing his collection as ‘very wearable things’ — from T-shirts to polo shirts to a mac and a sharply-cut pair of trousers — Paul says he was fascinated by the colour palette. ‘I’ve got a thing about bottle green,’ he points out, adding that ‘every year I have little sort of fixations on colours, I don’t know why.’

But what does the avatar of Mod style, with its emphasis on precision and sharpness, make of the trend for dressing down? After the photoshoot, he is carefully turned out, with black loafers polished to a high shine. For Paul, ‘every day’s a dressing-up day’, even despite lockdown, though he stresses ‘I don’t dress for other people, it’s for my own satisfaction, really.’ He attributes this to his background. ‘Because I come from that time where the music and the culture and the clothes were all entwined, they all said something about you as a person and defined you as a person as well.’

Weller says that the move to more casual dressing, which he sees worldwide, whether in Paris or Milan or all the fashion capitals, is ‘kind of an alien thing to me, with ‘people wearing trackies or jeans and trainers’. ‘The time I come from, when we were kids, if you went out on Thursday to the local disco, everyone dressed up. It was very much part of the old working-class culture, whatever you didn’t have, you made sure you looked good on a Friday or Saturday night when you went out. I’m sure younger people are doing that now but it’s a much more casual style.’ In that culture, he says, ‘everyone made an effort and precision and detail was of great value and importance.’

Paul Weller looks for quality in his clothes, whether those he’s helped design or others. ‘I like quality, whether furniture, clothes or whatever, quality counts for an awful lot. A shoe or a jacket or a coat, that’s for life if you look after it,’ he observes. That attention to detail and quality was reflected in the creation of his range — for instance, in adjusting the weight of the polo shirt cloth until it was just right.

What does he hope Sunspel wearers will get from his clothes? ‘They’re well-crafted, well-cut clothes and you’ll look good in them, and they’re quality and they’ll last.’ And from the Modfather, you couldn’t ask for more.

Paul wears our Pique Polo Shirt in Avocado
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