First launched in 1973, Gabicci was an Italian inspired menswear knitwear brand, aimed towards the more discerning seventies man to be worn at a country club. Unexpectedly, it fast became an underground style leader embraced by second generation black Londoners. The knits were the brainchild of two friends Jack Sofier and Alex Pyser in a basement on Maddox Street, London, and were distinguished by unique fabrics, buttons and linings, not to mention the gold ‘G’ motif.
The brand also fell on the shoulders of big players like UK ska revival band The Specials and Jamaican reggae singer,
Bob Marley. Around the same period, it was also being worn by those heading to soul all nighters and reggae sound-system parties at the weekend where they would remain till the early hours. In recent years, a new generation have been seeking out heritage brands to fulfil revival trends in the City of London. Victor Romero Evans gives Michelle Edwards a guide and his brief take on the fashion trends of his generation while sporting 8 original pieces.
VRE: “Most of what was instilled in me about my fashion sense and clothing personality came directly from my parents. From an early age I was taught to take great pride in my appearance. That cleanliness is next to godliness. Posture was also key in terms of outward appearance. By standing and moving properly, I could completely change the way I looked and hugely increase my confidence.
Two years after leaving school, I landed a job with a Tottenham clothing store called ‘Davis’ which heightened my interest in fashion. I thoroughly enjoyed watching new lines come in and picked up useful tips from some of the customers. It truly was my introduction into the world of Men’s Fashion.
When I got my first salary I couldn’t wait to spend it on clothes and shoes. Back in the day, most of my crew went to Grants in Dalston Juction. They sold the most expensive shoes. Black crocodile, Turtle, Ostritch or Snakeskin shoes. You name it; they had it. That was the place to be. Back then there was definitely a surge in male grooming. An illustrative identity of fashion and style was formed through African-American movements such as the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the conscious Jamaican movement of Rastafarianism. They brought together the knowledge of self and the importance of outward appearance. The former had a uniformed dress code. The latter dress code requires that clothing be modest and made from natural fibres. Clothing made from animal skin was prohibited. What one has to realise is that the culture of the ’70s, from fashion to music, was intimately tied to the radical social movements of the time. The Rastafarians must have approved of Grants because they often shopped there.
Gabicci pieces somehow cemented themselves onto the bodies of the Lovers Rock crew of the 80s. They would head to the parties looking crisp. It was what led me to pen my two biggest hits, “At the Club” and “Slacks and Sovereigns”. I wrote about the life we were living. What I saw. The look at me I’m a star factor. I had Farah Slacks (trousers), Cecil Gee (menswear retailer), all those shoes in Grants and those big chunky sovereigns (rings) in mind when I was singing away. They were fun times. Passing through the hottest night clubs of the time, Night Moves, Bouncing Ball and Cubies. Doing the photo shoot with the Gabicci pieces brought back good memories. I can’t believe that they looked so good after all this time. The colours and feel are just as I remember. It’s great that Gabicci is on its way back.
Given the pride of the Windrush generation and the one which followed, it’s a little disappointing to see some of today’s fashion trends. Not sure if there is any pride in having trousers hanging down your ankles or emulating the American thuggish look but maybe one day we can get back to the way things were.” BB
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