Since launching Your London Legacy back in 2018, I’ve met some pretty flamboyant characters—none more so than this week’s wonderful guest, Wayne Kirven, better known as Wayne from Buckhurst Hill.
A childhood friend of none other than Marc Bolan, Wayne is a well know Modernist and has been part of the London fashion scene for over 50 years, and there’s not much he doesn’t know about the London sub cultures during that period—from the days of the Modernist, to Hackney in the 50’s and Soho Mods in the early 60’s, and West Coast Psychedelic Folk Blues in the mid 60s’. Wayne has been there and done it all.
Clothes and music have always been his passion and he’s worked with the best of the best in men’s fashion from Cardin, Ralph Lauren, & Yamamoto.
Earlier this year Wayne realized a dream to record a true British rock n roll song which he did with Danny & The Champions of the World and friends earlier this year.
Settle down as we sip our cappuccinos in what is fast becoming one of my favourite Soho haunts, the classy Little Italy. This is Your London Legacy
“Family were always well dressed—they always went to tailors. They didn’t just have Sunday Best, they had Best all the time.”
Wayne got to know the East and West end of London extremely well at a young age, selling meat covertly alongside his Grandad. He noticed even then that people dressed differently in certain areas of the city. He loved Autumn in Soho and the people there, seeing everyone shopping and going about their lives after the war. Getting familiar with the artsy areas of town, he made friends and went around to cinemas where style and fashion were shown off, sometimes completely different based on the cinema.
”Apart from always having an interest in cinema—I got into ‘cinemas’—the style, architecture…so I moved on. I went through that Modernist period.”
While the term Modernist can be associated with jazz and Soho, the fashion and style sense of the Modernist movement can be tied to the art scene as a whole. The biggest influence in Wayne’s opinion was a relaxed tailoring known in Italian fashion at the time. Sweaters, polos, collar with three buttons and v-necks with stripes. It molded into an “Ivy League” kind of fashion and style that Wayne has loved ever since it’s emergence—all the way through the opening of his own store.
“It was raided and we’d sort of jump out the back window along the fire escape, and that fire escape actually led to the Whiskey—which was above the Flamingo—then when the police were gone we’d come back again.”
Wayne has his eyes set on the future—he’s seen trends in style and fashion just resurrecting the past and branding that as new, not something he’s a fan of. He continues to cherish those hard to find items, be it records or clothing, and even going so far as to record songs on an album for what he calls “true rock and roll”. He has seen so much change throughout the city, and admits there are still some great and genuine characters in London—something that we agree will never go away, and the very thing this show was created to highlight.