As SPEZIAL has become a real success story, Gary Aspden sat down with Sneakers Magazine to give an insight into the brand.
The success of SPEZIAL can arguably be attributed to the fact that it is the product of a fan curating the collection, rather than that of a brand looking at what its consumers may want to buy. SPEZIAL has reached its fifth instalment this season, Sneakers Magazine sat down with Gary Aspden to learn more about his background, his history with the brand and the special angle that makes SPEZIAL so important.
SM: Gary, thanks for taking the time. Can you briefly introduce yourself with a little story on your background?
GA: I am from a town called Darwen in Lancashire, which neighbours Blackburn. Clothes and trainers were really important to us. The older generation from Blackburn would regularly go abroad on “shopping” trips to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany so their younger brothers – who were our age – were way better dressed than us. They would be wearing clothes that were stolen from abroad that even if we had access to we couldn’t get anywhere close to affording. There wasn’t a lot of money about in the North West in the 1980s – my father worked in a factory and my mother worked on the market. So I had to use my ingenuity to get the money to keep up with the fashion at the time. There were lots of gangs in Blackburn from different areas of town and while they fought amongst themselves, the one thing they all agreed on was that they didn’t like people from Darwen. Things got pretty hairy at times growing up.
SM: What was your first pair of adidas and what kind of clothes were you and your peers wearing at the time?
GA: My first adidas trainers were adidas Kick, and my first football boots were adidas Beckenbauer Super, both in the late ‘70s. And I wore adidas Europa tees from a very young age. Around 1980, we all looked and dressed very much like Carty’s gang in the [football hooligan] film Awaydays. We wore Fred Perry polo shirts, a brand which none of us would be seen dead in after 1982 when Lacoste took over, and acrylic Slazenger V-neck sweaters or V-neck knitted tank tops, usually in burgundy. Also Polar Gear bubble coats, Yale cardigans from the local market, and white socks with adidas trainers like Mamba, Bamba, Samba or Kick. Jeans were worn skintight and there were a host of denim brands like Superbrat, Dollar, Razzy, Second Image, and so on. Jeans were generally purchased from the local market.
SM: Any particular moment or experience that got you hooked?
GA: One evening I had popped to the corner shop near the local park and I could hear music coming from an adjacent street. What I heard sounded like music that had come from another planet. I was curious as to what was going on and when I got there, I saw a big circle of local kids watching a group of lads who were a few years older than me practicing break dancing and body popping on a huge piece of linoleum or cardboard. The music was coming from a huge portable stereo – I discovered later that it was the “Street Sounds Crucial Electro” album. The lads who were dancing were all notorious faces around my home town, they were all known for being well dressed. I remember there was one Italian lad there called “Beans” who was wearing a Cerruti track top – great logo! – and a pair of grey adidas Trieste.
If you want to check out more of the interview you can find it here.
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Image source: SNEAKERS MAGAZINE
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