Issue 20 (Summer 2019)
It’s hard to believe we have been chronicling manifestations of style for 10 years. The truth is we have been doing it a lot longer than that. It’s goes back to the late 1970s and the start of the rockabilly scenes in both the UK and USA. That’s where this all started, at London clubs like The Beat Route in Greek Street, where British beatnik types mixed with young men and women in heavily faded 501s and Schott one-star jackets or peg-trousers and a Hawaiian shirt. In other words, the art-school kids, the rockabillies and the soul boys. This was an experimental time when (mostly homemade) style cascaded through the streets of London’s Soho in exclusive and impenetrable cliques that few in the general population even noticed. That’s when Men’s File really started, it just took another 30 years for it to become official. Perhaps that’s the nature of things? First it is lived, then recorded and finally commodified. But we don’t give up so easily as we have never left that idea of the unauthorised and homemade that automatically reinvents itself out of sight of the onlookers.
Heroes of Men’s File
Revival style seeks inspiration in the mid 20th century but constantly moves forward, cutting swathes through official fashion and offerings from companies who pretend they understand what this is all about. This publication honours small manufacturers but holds makers and stylers in even higher esteem. We have maintained this approach from the start and we are still trying to improve our presentation of style through areas as diverse as architecture, custom car and bike culture and the sewing of denim clothing (to mention but a few categories). It is our self-imposed remit to find new individuals who might both inspire and entertain and in this 10 year issue we catalogue the Heroes of Men’s File who have done just that. We might not have included all of you, as we don’t have enough pages, however, if you have contributed in any way to this publication, be you a Native American artist or bike-builder, you are one of our heroes. Really.
Back in Berlin
Locations are important as they act as a catalyst for spontaneous developments of personal or group expression. Provided that point of inspiration is not commercialised too quickly, and the idea lost to the mainstream, there will probably be a manifestation of style that is site-specific. This happens all over the world and timing is everything. If we remove the dark years (1933 to 1945) from our field of vision, we see Isherwood’s literary sketches and Fosse’s interpretation in Cabaret. Even David and Iggy stood by that wall – at least once – and they were heroes too. During the communist period East Berlin was the site of much modernist design, some of which is featured on these pages. Today Berlin continues to offer-up the unexpected and we meet motorcycle builder and street stylist Bernhard Elfllien whose interest in counter culture aesthetics perfectly reflects his creative output at all levels.
Finally, I can only say a heartfelt thanks to all of our readers whom we see as collaborators and fellow travellers.
Nick Clements (Editor-in-Chief)