A CHILD OF THE JAGO
Just like its name ´A Child of the Jago´ is an acquired taste. Joseph Corre´s central London label has been manufacturing its Dandyish, Edwardian influenced attire since its opening in 2008. Unlike the Hipsters and Hoxtonites, this brand is not your typical London fashion fare by any imagination. If anything, Joe describes the recently relocated label as an ‘anti-brand’. A name sake of the brand is the bestselling book which recounts the brief life of Dicky Perrott, a child growing up in the ´Old Jago´, a fictionalisation of the ´Old Nichol´- a slum located between Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road in the East end of London.
In apparel terms, Joe is descended from fashion royalty. He’s the only child of Dame Vivienne Westwood (with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren as his father). Clearly, fashion and rebellion are as much in his blood, as theirs. Having worked with Westwood for many years after leaving school at 16, he went on to found Agent Provocateur in 1994, with his then wife. After breaking loose from the company, his own project, A Child of the Jago, was born 7 years ago and has gone from strength to strength.
Jago clothing is very distinctive. While the brand covers all ranges from t-shirts to womenswear, Joe considers men’s tailoring to be its hallmark (and suits are showpieces). From fly away lapels to striking juxtaposed patterns (featuring thick pinstripes alongside clashing tartans) you won’t be blending in to the crowd in one of these. Joe commented light-heartedly that ¨You don’t see people dressed like this on the Northern Line very often. Mainly, people after stage wear – pop stars, bands, TV people and the like.¨
The Charing Cross Road shop is a theatrically themed extravaganza for the clothes. Hats adorn a levitating rack above a staircase, there is Gothic-looking jewellery (thick silver bone-shaped rings with pearls are displayed in antique cabinets) and quirky details (a dressing room on the ground floor which opens with a heavy brass key) are normal place. Windows are elegantly gilded with the surrounding walls papered in yellowy sepia toned London maps adding to the urban / stylised / eccentricity of the space.
A Child of the Jago is a very ´London brand´. All of the cultural impressions come from Joe´s upbringing and everything he has grown up with (which not surprisingly includes his mother). ¨Not necessarily in the styling of the shop, but in terms of the clothing, I’ve definitely been influenced by her. She’s done everything, invented everything, from the tube dress, to every look you can think of, she’s done it ages ago. It’s impossible not to be influenced by that¨ he said melancholically.
I was tired of the global brand thing, opening new stores all over the world. I am very against mass consumption. It was my idea to make clothing using up what was left from the fashion industry – end of line cloths and high quality fabrics that were left on shelves. We make things in small runs, here in the UK – Joseph Corre
Corre recently said that he brought his brand to the West End because ¨people don’t go to the east end to spend¨. A piece of Jago does not come cheap either, with suits starting from £445, hats from £95 and printed T-shirts from £55. So, how does this contradict his anti-consumerist stance? ¨It’s consumerist to have a new outfit all the time. I want to make things that people will still be wearing in five years. If you buy fewer things that are better quality, then that’s better for everyone.¨ This is a philosophy that is rapidly becoming a trend within the ´ethical´ and ´anti-fast fashion´ brigade of present.
It’s consumerist to have a new outfit all the time. I want to make things that people will still be wearing in five years. If you buy fewer things that are better quality, then that’s better for everyone – Joseph Corre
Having controversially turned down an MBE in 2007 in protest at Tony Blair’s handling of the Iraq war (¨I was brought up with a healthy scepticism of the government.¨) It’s unsurprising that his anti-establishment streak extends to the world of fashion. ¨I don’t consider myself in fashion. Fashion is about trends. I have no interest in trends, nor interest in fashion weeks. I love clothing, and dressing up. It is about the quality of fabrics and making things.¨
What about the majority of people who consider the brand not to their taste? ¨Fuck ‘em. If people are scared to step out of the shadows and try something different and want to continue to be sheep, that’s up to them.¨ There’s something very familiar in Joe’s philosophy, isn´t there?
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography Credits: Joseph Corre / A Child of the Jago