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Essential Journal

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Northern Soul, Safe & Sound

A fond look back at Ben Sherman’s tributes to the soul boys and soul girls of yesteryear

For over 50 years, Ben Sherman has been synonymous with some of the North’s most vivid and vibrant musical subcultures. 2018 provided a heartfelt return to those rich, cultural roots as Ben Sherman teamed up with two of the North’s most influential photographers to celebrate one of music’s most fashion-forward and dance-centric subcultures, Northern Soul.

Kicking off in Liverpool, a city that experienced a second wave of music domination in the 70s and 80s, crowds flocked to Ben Sherman’s Liverpool ONE store for an evening of conversation with acclaimed photographer, Francesco Mellina. The Italian-born, honorary scouser played a key role in documenting some of Liverpool’s most iconic musical subcultures with his candid, in-the-thick-of-it photography.

The evening was a roaring success, with fashion enthusiasts and music lovers alike joining in celebration of Mellina’s work. And with a little help from London-based craft brewers, Fourpure, all those in attendance were able to raise a glass to the North’s unwavering individuality and enduring musical heritage.

Further south, the creative brains behind a host of the 90s most iconic album artworks, Brian Cannon joined an audience of colourful ‘old-boys and girls’ at Ben Sherman’s Commercial Street store, London, for an evening of catch ups, tall tales and friendly heckles. Born and bred in Wigan, Lancashire, Brian spoke of the chance meetings with the likes of Richard Ashcroft and the Gallagher brothers that lead to the creation of some of the UK’s most pin-up-able rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. 

However, it wasn’t only Brian and his accolades that were on show in Shoreditch that evening, as attendees of all heritages turned out to rep subcultures past and present. Supported by London’s own Hackney Brewing, the beers on offer were very much in keeping with the vibrant-yet-timeless style and grace of the guests in attendance. EJ

Words by Ralph CANIS