La Rocka! We love Johnson’s!

Good Lookin Sexy Kool Kat’s Motor-Lucifer Rockabilly Rockers II Robot Johnson’s Mania.

As Groucho Marx would have pointed out, we said a hatful there but it’s well worth enunciating, for that is the title of the very first book dedicated to the rock fashion business created by Lloyd and Jill Johnson in London in the 80s and 90s.

Written and compiled by Daitsuke Tsuda (who was a Johnson’s customer going back to 1982), the heavily-illustrated book homes in on La Rocka!, the label launched in the early 80s at the Johnson’s outlets in Kensington Market and at 406 King’s Road to accompany the change of direction away from mod and 60s British styles towards western, rockabilly and harder-rockin’ gear.


With hundreds of pages lovingly setting out every La Rocka! design option, shoes by Dave Fortune’s neighbouring store Robot are also represented, as are sister Johnson’s labels such as Beat Beat and Mex-Tex.

There are also shots of contemporary youth of both sexes sporting original pieces. Lloyd and Jill (who contributed photos from their own archives, including one with their daughter Ruby as a baby and a more recent depiction of the family garbed in Beatnik glory) confess to being honoured and delighted by the tribute. “Frankly we’re a bit taken aback,” says Lloyd. “They’ve got everything in there, including stuff I don’t even remember us selling!” 


And I’m particularly flattered that they thought to include a pic of me and the dynamic duo from my wedding last year.

This volume represents just one of Lloyd’s creative endeavours; the success of his Kensington Market partnership Cockell & Johnson from 1968, the investigations into vintage-wear in the mid-70s and the Tiki outlet in Notting Hill in the mid-90s – these and many other adventures deserve to be compiled in a dedicated book which would underline this unassuming and charming man’s importance to British fashion over five decades.

For now you can read more about Lloyd, Jill, La Rocka! and Johnson’s exclusively in THE LOOK.

Copies of the new book are available here.

Tim B. said,

August 28, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

Hey Paul – Do you think there’s any chance this will be published outside of Japan, and in English?

rockpopfashion said,

August 28, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

Can’t see it Tim, which is a shame.

I’ve talked to Lloyd – who was just here! – about it before but we just don’t think Western publishers get it. One day maybe…

Trust all is well with you; loving the 80s pix on Facebook.

Ed said,

August 31, 2009 @ 4:50 am

Two years ago I purchased a La Rocka! motorcycle jacket in Los Angeles.I was told it was circa 1979 or 1980,is there a way to figure out when it was made?

rockpopfashion said,

August 31, 2009 @ 5:29 am

Hi Ed

The best way would be to mail us a photograph and we’ll see if Lloyd and Jill can pinpoint the year of manufacture or at least when the design was introduced.



rockpopfashion said,

September 1, 2009 @ 2:08 pm



Have set up a Facebook group for people to post images, memories etc about one of the greatest rock & roll labels of all time.

Already there are 40+ images, 21 members and three/four clips.

Go here and enjoy!

scope said,

September 7, 2009 @ 12:15 pm


Martin said,

October 13, 2009 @ 7:09 am

Why did Jonhsons close ?

rockpopfashion said,

October 13, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

Lloyd can answer this with authority.
It’s my understanding that the Kings Road property lease owners knackered the fashion business and drove out independent stores by hiking up rents and leaseholds in favour of estate agents, coffee and mobile chains.
It was no longer tenable by 2000 for Lloyd and Jill to continue occupancy
Story of Western retailing. Which is why the Kings Road is a retail desert with many unoccupied premises.

Martin said,

October 14, 2009 @ 8:00 am

Thats a real shame.

phil said,

October 28, 2011 @ 11:10 am

Hi,looking for steve prentergrass, used to work there in the early eighties,then went on to establish World Service with Stoppa o’reilly I used to work with them
in covent garden and would like to get in touch with both of them, I live in Cape Town south africa now, if any one could give me a number or email I would be gratefull, All the best Phil Black

rockpopfashion said,

November 1, 2011 @ 9:19 pm


Can probably put you in touch with Steve, Phil. I loved World Service – had a great straw Panama from there…

Jann Kempton said,

December 6, 2012 @ 12:41 am

My husband and I are old friends of Dave Fortune, of Robot fame. We lost touch with Dave and Kathy and would like to be put in touch again, if possible. If there’s a chance to send me an email adddress or phone no. I would really appreciate it!
Thank you so much,

Jann Kempton
Jim Kempton

pat donohue said,

July 13, 2013 @ 3:58 am

Does anybody know how I can get the same jacket and shoes that george michael wore back in the 1988 music videos of faith and one more try if so please email me asap thanks

rockpopfashion said,

October 28, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

Try the Facebook La Rocka! and Johnsons group

URL said,

November 28, 2013 @ 4:41 am

… [Trackback]…

[…] Read More: […]…

db burkeman said,

October 19, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

I’m home with a bad cold today, so found some solace tripping down memory lane, which started with your fantastic Jah Wobble piece, & then stumbled on the Boy fashion show clips (which I might have been the DJ at), on to the Johnsons one, which I’m very happy to see includes the Limelight flyers I sent you! Kings Rd was my stoping ground from 82 till 88 when I moved to NYC. Thanks for the memories Paul. said,

June 13, 2016 @ 2:15 am

“[…]::THE LOOK – adventures in rock and pop fashion:: » La Rocka! We love Johnson’s![…]”

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