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Pretty Green beginning
Milan

Liam Gallagher: clothes are important, man

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

LONDON - Three years ago, Liam started his own clothes company, based on a straightforward idea: to produce the kind of attire that Liam, a self-confessed clothes addict, likes to wear. So think Beatles-y suits, Quadrophenia -ish parkas and polos, carefully cut denim and plenty of paisley.
Although Liam, unlike so many dubious celebrity "designers", has never professed to create the clothes himself, he does control the quality of everything - and stringently so. "If it isn't cool it gets binned," he says. "I know people might buy it anyway and not everyone's me, but that's how it is: you've got to look at every detail, otherwise you'll end up selling shit."
Pretty Green has since done pretty amazingly. In its first year of trading turnover was a reported £4 million, and there are 11 stand-alone shops across the nation. Now it is going international, says Liam: "We've got something going on in Copenhagen and there's Tokyo as well."
The company's first Japanese store opened and a party was attended by several hundred label‑loving fans and Liam himself, who was passing through for a gig with his post-Oasis band, Beady Eye.
Liam's move from rock to retail (although he's still rocking) has not only been a success during a particularly difficult period for clothes sales, but seems to have come at the perfect time for a man whose fortune depended partly on record sales. These might have been destroyed by the internet - but you can't download a jacket.
"Yeah, you're right," he says. "No one's making money out of records so it has been a good move. But it wasn't a planned move, it just happened."
Gallagher is keen to avoid sounding too enthusiastic about being in the fashion business because, quite simply, he loathes fashion. "I don't want to get caught up in it," he sniffs. "I'm not hostile, but 90 per cent of the music business is run by idiots and I'll guess it's the same for fashion, know what I mean?"
(it is the same...)
To drive the point home, he adds: "I haven't got a favourite brand, I haven't got a favourite designer. I like what I like. I spend a lot of money on clothes so I know my shit. In fact, I probably spend more on clothes than 90 per cent of these fashion people because they get it all for nowt."
And although he stars in his own campaigns, he is even endearingly shifty about endorsing his own clothes.
He reserves particular disdain for other musicians who allow themselves to be dressed rather than dressing themselves. "I'll never have a stylist. If I like something, I get it and I put it on. Who are these judges? If you like something, you like it, and if someone else doesn't, well it doesn't mean you're wrong, does it? At least you went out and dressed yourself. If someone turned around to me and was like, 'here mate, take that rubbish off that you've worked your b------- off to buy and get this on you…" A look of withering froideur flits across his face.
He may despise fashion but Gallagher is perfectly happy about growing his brand. He is, he says, "passionate" about doing boys-wear on behalf of his sons, Lennon and Gene. "Lennon's 13 so he can start wearing the T-shirts but Gene [just 11] is desperately going, 'Dad, can I have a parka? Can I have this?'And I'm mad for getting them made."
Although he notoriously uses it to aggravate, a lot of Liam's ruckus-whipping rhetoric is, in truth, delivered with a self-deprecating wink. This comes out best today when I ask whether he plans to make Pretty Green perfumes - a question designed to rile him but which delights him instead. "Why not? I'm down with the fragrances. I love my Chanel Bleu - I love it, man - and I get non-stop compliments off the girls who work in toy shops, man. I put loads on, you can smell me coming. So I'd definitely do it, without a doubt. I've got no idea how you go about it, though."
Next month Liam turns 40. He plans a party - "just another party" - and doesn't seem worried about the milestone: "Bring it on!"
Clothes-wise, though, could Liam be confronting the same conundrum as so many men of his generation, who have spent their teens, twenties and thirties in sporty casual gear but now face looking like sad, try-hard dads?
The rock star pauses for thought, concedes that he hates "old geezers in tracksuits", then adds: "I hear what you're saying, because I've started wearing slacks and Tod's. They're great and all that, but I'm thinking, 'Am I losing the plot here?' "
OK, then… a midlife clothing crisis? "No! It's not a midlife crisis. Because I'm looking cool as fuck. Although I have since gone back to my decking pumps and leathers."
So even Liam Gallagher concedes that you can't put style over comfort for ever. "Mick Jagger, he's done his time now, hasn't he? So he's wearing lovely, nice loafers and his feet are comfortable."
And what will Liam be wearing when he's as old as Sir Mick? "I don't know, man. Pretty Green. As long as you look cool and you've got your own head of hair, that's all I care about."
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