Visual feast from Demob + Modern Classics


Thanks to THE LOOK follower Salv Macasil for sending us this visual feast: images of five key pieces of clothing from the historically important London boutiques Demob and Modern Classics.

In very good condition, the garments convey many stories about the development of the particularly British aesthetic which thrives today at Will Brown’s Old Town Clothing.

Demob’s most popular design was the much emulated plaid-lined, hooded checker-cab strip anorak, notably worn by Paul Weller in the promo clip for The Style Council’s 1984 hit Shout To The Top.




The “nurse’s dress” and the F.C. El Classico shirt were acquired at Brown’s first shop, Modern Classics in east London’s Rivington Street in the early 80s; the shirt shows Brown far ahead of the game in terms of engaging with football at a time when it was unfashionable.







Robin Archer designed the cotton canvas brown belted Demob jacket, which has a variant on the label as well as a personalised logo. Archer had designed for Jon Baker’s Axiom, which was part of the attempt to export “Blitz culture” to the US with a much-ballyhooed NYC fashion show in 1981.



Brown’s so-called “dreadnought” trousers were picked up from the designer’s stall at the early 90s market in the King’s Road’s former Bluebird Garage (which these days houses two restaurants and the upmarket Shop At Bluebird).

Dreadnought trousers are still available from Old Town here though Macasil points out the pair he bought at the Bluebird have metal buttons and an unusual back pocket with a label.




Thanks very much to Salv for seeking these out and photographing them; he’s still to find his pair of Modern Classics “90 degree trousers” and a Brown-designed yellow Axiom donkey jacket, but promises that as soon as he does he’ll be sending more images across. Looking forward to it.

Disneyrollergirl said,

June 14, 2011 @ 9:41 am

Aaahhhh, had the Demob Style Council jacket in red and remember the cheap imitations very well. Mine was huge for me but I still wore it. The nurse dress is looking quite Silas-meets-Charles-Anastase is it not?

Robin Archer said,

June 14, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

Robin Archer here…. Wow, great to see this again. I don’t have any of these things any more. Actually, I do have one pair of the Demob black denim baggy jeans. Wish I had more…. This jacket was from my degree collection, all of which I sold to Demob. Great times, which all came to sudden halt in 1982.

These days I am running House of Harlot, fetish wear design and rubber specialist. Makes a change from canvas….

Patrick said,

October 9, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

Still have my black/yellow Demob anorak that i bought early ’85.
Thought about sending it to the chaz shop a few times but can’t part with it.

RobertE said,

November 9, 2015 @ 6:27 pm

If anyone has a Burgundy checked XLNT Jacket for sale I have cash waiting

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