The Genteel
April 13, 2021

Andrew Adebowale

Classic 1960s British label, Ossie Clark, is being exhumed and in February 2013, will be reintroduced onto the British high street through UK department store, Debenhams. But, the deal leaves Andrew Adebowale with an uncomfortable feeling: is this a nostalgia-driven desecration of the designer's epitaph?

By Andrew Adebowale

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Andrew Adebowale

London United Kingdom

Andrew contributes to The Genteel from London.  Having gained editorial experience within the field of UK print publishing, London-based Andrew extricated himself from the drudgery of the 9 to 5 routine to spread his creative wings in a freelance capacity. Specializing in the underlying cultural forces that mould UK society, Andrew takes an active interest in the historical places, artistic spaces and other miscellaneous quirks of London Town. Follow him on Twitter @adeola2502  

Turning weapons of horror and destruction into objects of beguiling artistic beauty is no mean feat. Andrew Adebowale met up with the emerging artist that is looking to blow a hole in the London art scene through her use of the hand grenade.

From Ursula Andress and her iconic bikini in 1962's Dr No, to the return of the classic Aston Martin DB5 in the upcoming film Skyfall, the James Bond franchise retains an unrivalled penchant for style and design that has dominated the Western male psyche for half a century. One of the least obvious but vitally intrinsic aspects of Bond is the wristwatch he wears and the modern gentlemen that it represents. 

The London 2012 Olympic and Para-Olympic Games are just around the corner. Andrew Adebowale explores how the Stella McCartney-designed Great Britain Olympic team strip has helped evolve the complex relationship between sport and fashion.

The quintessential English trait of sartorial elegance combined with an icon of 1960s swinging London makes for an unique business concept. Andrew Adebowale pays a visit to the company that is taking Savile Row to the people via scooter.

In 2011, British retailer Burberry enjoyed a bumper year in terms of both sales revenue and pre-tax profits. The company's growth comes despite indications that the economic performance of UK PLCs continues to flat-line. So where did it all go right for Burberry and what could the fashion brand teach the politicos at Westminster? 

As rock 'n' roll legends, The Rolling Stones, drag themselves out of semi-retirement to commemorate 50 years in the game, there is a whispering campaign pushing the idea that Hedi Slimane will dress the old rockers for their impending tour. But is the egoist creative director of Saint Laurent Paris the right man for the job?

Old escape maps, signature parachute fabric, Ripstop cotton and Amelia Earhart flew together for Christopher Raeburn's S/S 2013 womenswear collection at last month's London Fashion Week. Andrew Adebowale charts the rise of ethical fashion's best-loved poster boy, but wonders whether the ethical tag is starting to wear a little thin. 

"Do you expect me to talk?" "No Mr Bond… I expect you to die!" So counters Goldfinger to MI6's most famous son. As the 007 film franchise approaches its 50th birthday and in anticipation of the release of Skyfall in November, Andrew Adebowale visited the James Bond exhibition at London's Barbican Centre to fathom the ongoing appeal and influence of the world's no. 1 spy.

Known as the rock 'n' roll cobbler to the fashion glitterati of the 1970s, Terry de Havilland is still going strong after over 50 years in the business. With the upcoming opening of his London pop-up shop, Andrew Adebowale dons his platform wedges to chart the second coming of a British style icon.

The fashion industry is particularly skilful with its utilisation of typography. Many brands spend an inordinate amount of their marketing research budget on understanding our typeface preferences in order to ensure they create a logo suitable for their demographic. Andrew Adebowale investigates.

The twelfth commission of the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion series, located in London's Hyde Park, will open to the public in June 2012. Archaeology, cutting-edge design and sustainable building materials will unite in the latest "art meets architecture" installation. But do "public" works of art such as this have a tangible and positive effect on urban regeneration? 

Can art only be appreciated if it's placed within the rarified air of a gallery, against a plain white background and guarded by a velvet rope? Or does the rise of the "guerrilla" artist, with their compunction to use city walls as a canvas, convey a much more vital and transformative experience? Andrew Adebowale casts his eye over the role art has played in the evolution of humankind.

Most Londoners of a certain age will have experienced travelling on the iconic Routemaster, the original double decker bus that remains a universally accepted symbol of the UK's capital city. Seven years later, the Routemaster has been expensively resurrected and is about to be re-launched back onto the streets in February. 

At the end of 2011, IBM reintroduced the Hemline Index back onto the news agenda. Giving a 21st century twist to the original theory by adding a kinky mix of social media and high heels to the equation, IBM set about investigating the link between fashion trends and the underlying state of the economy. Andrew Adebowale attempts to separate fact from fiction on how fashion affects society's response to a changing economic environment.

The British monarchy has a long history of incorporating different styles into their mode of dress. Royal appropriation of the textile design known as tartan is bound in a historical and political power struggle that pitted Scotland against England and took tartan from the Highlands to the catwalks of the world. Andrew Adebowale examines fashion's enduring love affair with arguably the most rebellious of textile designs.

The word 'iconoclasm' is often considered positive when describing today's innovative artistic works, but this has not always been the case. Andrew Adebowale ventured to London's Tate Britain to explore 500 years of artistic malevolence with the "Art Under Attack" exhibition.

With names such as Fred Astaire, Sir Winston Churchill and Elton John having previously visited Savile Row for its high-quality suits, the proposed opening of an Abercrombie & Fitch store along the same iconic stretch of London road was met with disdain by many well-dressed protesters last month.

The Curtain Theatre in London's East End, where William Shakespeare once staged his plays is now a hotbed of grime music, a distinctly British art form in which wordsmiths contort the English language into a barrage of rhythmical storytelling. Can the inner-city soundscape of grime be considered the unruly and streetwise love child of the Bard himself?

Usually the preserve of the luxury knitwear market, cashmere has a heritage imbued with humanity's desire to challenge the elements of the natural world. Inspired by early polar explorers and mountain climbing pioneers, Scottish-based sportswear and clothing brand, Dhu, is harnessing cashmere's sustainable and hardy nature for the modern, fashion-conscious adventurer.

Emilie Grubert is a Danish costume designer making waves in the Copenhagen arts scene. Grubert's elaborately detailed and individualistic creations - and now her films - conveys the world from her perspective. Andrew Adebowale speaks to Grubert about her haphazard journey.

Breaking a ten-year musical interlude, David Bowie quietly released his mournful ode to the city of Berlin on his 66th birthday last month. The new single precedes the imminent release of a new album and heralds a year of retrospective appraisal of the man who fell to Earth and changed the world.

While the cows of Pilton Farm take a well deserved rest from this year's Glastonbury Festival, let's analyse the growing influence of fashion on an event that is revered for its eclectic mix of music, ecological manifesto and spiritual ley lines. Is the underlying essence of Glastonbury being compromised by the celebrity fashion circus?

By some strange twist of fate, the development of the fine arts into a central tenet of Western civilization and culture was only possible because of bankers with deep pockets. Today, trading exchanges offer shares in artwork to investors looking to make a profit. Andrew Adebowale examines the commodification of art.

The Fred Perry laurel leaf has been around for as long as Queen Elizabeth II (God bless her) and the sportswear label is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a number of collaborative projects. Andrew Adebowale discovers how the brand's quintessential middle-class tennis garments were adopted by the visionary, working-class street stylists of 1950s London, who set into motion a series of interconnected sub-cultures that would ultimately shape the cultural mindset of Britain. 

Despite its small financial muscle and physical size, Jamaica's standing as a cultural (and sporting) powerhouse is indicative of a country that punches well above its weight. But it is Jamaica's influence on the world's street style that offers a revealing glimpse of the island's innate character.

London has no need for tacky slogans or grandiose pretensions to make itself identifiable. Instead, the concrete metropolis has one of the world's best recognised logos; an abstract work of art that has changed little over the past century. Andrew Adebowale ventures underground to pay homage to the transport system's circle-and-bar.

Philosopher and writer Alain de Botton has put the cat amongst the pigeons with a proposal to construct a temple for atheists in the heart of London. The proposal has commenced a debate that asks what values best represent the UK's postmodern capital city.

In the second part of his venture into Tate Britain's exploration of artistic malevolence through the "Art Under Attack" exhibition in London, Andrew Adebowale considers the artistic and social power of iconoclasm throughout history.

Thanks to Christie's auction house, pop culture fans were offered the chance-of-a-century to get their hands on 154 lots of infamous items, including Madonna's conical-cone corset by Jean Paul Gaultier and Mick Jagger's sequined Ossie Clark crushed velvet jumpsuit.

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