430: Mr Freedom serves up sex and sass in Club

Long before SEX served up, er, sex from 430 King’s Road, Mr Freedom – which started out from the same premises  – supplied clothes which fused a celebration of sexuality with a bedazzling take on pop art and trash culture iconography.

This was outlined in a May 1971 eight-page colour feature in short-lived men’s magazine Club delivered to us piping hot from the archive of our pal Steven Millington.

The report by the ever spot-on Michael Roberts with photographs by Mike Berkofsky pointed to the fashion-forward velvet hot-pants, bumster trousers, ice-cream brooches and Disney licensing by Freedom founder Tommy Roberts and partner Trevor Myles (who exited to establish Paradise Garage).

By the time the Club piece was published, Mr Freedom had been based at 20 Kensington Church Street for six months.  It’s interesting to note the range included “Teddy Boy suits” (as well as boiler suits and “huge bovver boots”), presaging in part the stock at Let It Rock when the late Malcolm McLaren took over 430 King’s Road from Myles in November 1971.

As it happened, Mr Freedom did not last much more than a year in Kensington. Lack of financial controls and overheads including the cost of operating a warehouse spelled the end of the shop, which was superceded by City Lights Studio in Covent Garden.

Still, the Club article provides a superb showcase for Mr Freedom, highlighting such clothes as the skull-and-crossbones tee as worn by Marc Bolan and Freedom designers Jim O’Connor and Pamla Motown‘s wonderful and now highly collectible baseball suit.

Around the same time Michael Roberts took the opportunity to include Roberts and Myles in a separate Club piece on six of London’s leading auto-fiends, Tommy with his pillar-box red V8 Pilot and Trevor with the Paradise Garage Mustang tiger-striped and flocked by Electric Colour Co.

We’re really grateful to Steven M for thinking of THE LOOK as the place to showcase these fantastic editorial pages; check out his alter-ego Lord Dunsby’s sterling retrographic illustrative work here.

stéphane malingue said,

May 16, 2010 @ 6:15 pm


Mondo said,

May 16, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

What a great piece. The skull shirt is almost a dress rehearsal for McLaren/Westwood the Too Fast To Live tee.

Any details on what issue this is? I may have to browse Ebay for a copy

rockpopfashion said,

May 17, 2010 @ 7:03 am

It’s the May 1971 issue.

Thought that about the tee ever since I got a cheap Cube T.Rex comp in 1981 – Bolan’s wearing it on the sleeve (from the same London features shoot as The prophet songbook cover).

Of course MF was an acknowledged source of inspiration. I quote Malcolm McLaren in The Look talking about buying his first pair of (blue suede) brothel creepers there in 1970, and he says they inflamed his passion to open his own store.

It’s not widely known but Tommy R also contributed a t-shirt design to the SEX collection.

Michael said,

February 26, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

I have a Mr freedom STAR long sleeve T. Shirt that Marc Bolans wife June gave me in the 70s

rockpopfashion said,

March 3, 2012 @ 7:30 am

Great! Would you be up for sending a pic to feature here? PG

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