Paul Weller (born 25 May 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Starting out with the band The Jam (1976–82), Weller branched out to a more soulful style with The Style Council (1983–89), before establishing himself as a successful solo artist in 1991. He is also revered as one of the coolest men on the planet.
While Weller has been described as a punk, a soul boy, a pin-up for dad-rock and laddism, throughout it all he has been, first and foremost, a Mod (nicknamed the Modfather). Looking sharp is all important to Mods – it’s almost a religion to devotees – and for almost four decades Weller has been a style icon.
I come from a time when every kid dressed up. Everybody. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to hang out. It was very tribal. There’s nice things in that. It’s culture, it’s roots for me. Maybe I just never grew up, mate.
When I was a kid in Woking, every week you went to the football dance, and every week the top kids would be wearing something different. You were constantly trying to catch up with them – which you could never do because, by the time you’d saved up enough to buy the item, they’d moved on to something else. That’s the whole Mod thing I suppose.
This was the late Sixties, early Seventies and we were all post-skinheads – suedeheads. We were little peanuts, too young to be proper skinheads. But those styles permeated down to the kids anyway. The main strand that forged it together was that American-college look, the Brooks Brothers look: the cardigans and sleeveless jumpers and the buttoned-down shirts and the Sta-Prest trousers. That was the common ground. It was a way for people who haven’t got much to make a show.
I can remember original Ben Sherman shirts being around till the early Seventies. I had to really save for my first Ben Sherman. We used to buy Brutus shirts, which were much cheaper – second best. But Ben Shermans were the sought-after item. The first one I ever got was a lemon-yellow one. I must have been 12, 13, and it was a bit too big for me. But being a kid I didn’t realise you could take it back to the shop. I wore it till it fitted me.
It’s the aesthetic that sticks in my mind. The colours and the look of things have stayed with me. It meant everything to me. It was a statement of intent. And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Ben Sherman as they used to make ’em 40 years ago, or whatever it was. So I spoke to Ben Sherman about doing my own design, based on how they used to be, as near as dammit anyway. With a few little modern touches. I just did a little sketch, put all the details in: the bigger collar, bit more like a contemporary Italian collar, a few little touches here and there. It’s not rocket science.
The hook-up with Ben Sherman follows previous collaborations with shoemakers Hudson, for whom he came up with a basket-weave shoe, ‘which really took off.
He e was also involved with another British clothing classic, Fred Perry. ‘I went through their archives to try to find the same kind of weave they used 35, 40 years ago. I wanted to make the collar a little wider and have more of a roll – all the little details that they lost along the way.
In 2009 Liam Gallagher, front-men Oasis, founded a brand which unites people through a love of music and fashion. Named after a track by The Jam, ‘Pretty Green’ provides simple, classic clothing with a modern twist in three distinct labels. In 2011, Paul Weller designed a collection for the label.
Paul Weller for Pretty Green
And in October 2014, launched his own line of clothing with his partner Phil, owner of Tonic on Portobello Road, under the name REAL STARS ARE RARE. It has a simple vision: small collections of classic, timeless pieces with a focus on quality materials. Every garment we is based on inspiration Paul Weller has taken from a life-long interest in fashion and style and starts life sketched by him.