Catwalk Croydon: the London borough that became a global fashion brand

By - Friday 28th April, 2017

Charting the rise of Croydon’s impact on the global catwalk

Croydon Vs The World, as seen around the world.
Photo author’s own.

Last year, I launched a fashion label

A year ago today, I launched Croydon’s first fashion label – Croydon Vs The World.

My thinking was simple: Croydon is a borough that is on the up (after years of being wrongly maligned) and it was time for some kind of tangible product to reflect this and help spread the good news. Inspired by what I saw across the pond in the USA – where jingoistic affection for one’s place of birth is as genetically-embedded as adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine – I thought what better way to do this than through branded clothing.

Since then, the response to the Croydon Vs The World brand has been incredible. Clothing has been sighted around the globe in places such as Iraq, Chile, Australia and Japan, and most days I receive pictures of happy Croydonian travellers and ex-pats proudly displaying their new threads. It’s not just regular hoi polloi who are copping it – even the deputy editor of glossy fashion bible Grazia has been seen wearing one!

But what I hadn’t anticipated was the flurry of other Croydon brands that would emerge in the wake of Croydon Vs The World, each of which are bringing their own unique style, verve and wit to the London borough that has now legitimately become a global fashion brand.

Others are doing it, too

CDN is the brainchild of local photographer Wesley Baker whose t-shirts bear the moniker ‘Never Mind the Concrete”, a homage to the famous Sex pistols album cover ‘Never Mind The B*ll*cks’ created by the artist and Croydon School of Art alumnus, Jamie Reid.

In his own words, Baker explains:

‘Never Mind The Concrete’ is a response to the idea that despite Croydon’s architecture from Elizabethan times, the street art and wide array of green spaces there is nothing more to offer than its brutalist architecture. We feel this is a statement anyone from urban areas can adopt be it NYC, Coventry or any town or city [unfairly] labelled as a concrete jungle.

Croydon Clothing is a little simpler in its outlook. Unlike CDN, there are no great ideological underpinnings to Croydon Clothing’s designs. Instead, it has elected for a simple alliterative brand on cow print backgrounds and more staid variants. New kid on the sartorial block Cronx Life is brought to you by the team at IvyRose London which has gone for a bolder, declarative print denoting locals’ affectionate nickname for the town.

Some Croydon clothing is a parody or even an earnest reaction against the borough’s sudden positive image. One notable example is the Make Croydon Bait Again print put out by the ironic dubstep scenesters at Croydub over Christmas; an amusing play on Donald Trump’s recent campaign slogan knowingly mixed with London slang.

Alternative hipster hangout Timebomb Croydon has been a longstanding ‘bricks and mortar’ purveyor of inventive apparel that takes popular logos and gives them a (potentially copyright-violating) Croydon remix which may well be giving Coca-Cola, Wu Tang Records, and Run DMC’s respective legal teams many a sleepless night.

Croydon is now a global fashion brand

The borough has a fine history of generating exceptional fashion talent that have gone on to bigger and better things.

Croydon is the borough that birthed elfin supermodel Kate Moss and male model Danny Schwarz, who was recently voted the fourth most successful model in the world by Forbes Magazine. Fashion mogul John Rocha studied at Croydon College’s School of Art. Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Arcadia Group, is Croydon born-and-bred.

But what’s so encouraging about this current generation of Croydon fashion is that it’s being created by proud Croydonians that have chosen to instead remain in the area and volunteer their talents to making it a globally-renowned place. Thanks to their hard work and eye for good design, Croydon is going to be the borough that is in everybody’s wardrobe – both in Croydon and abroad.

To buy a Croydon Vs The World t-shirt, hoodie or bag to reflect your hometown pride, please go here.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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