Thank you very much to Mark and Neil, Proper Magazine for your time.
What has changed in Proper Magazine from the first number to the last?
So much. We had no grand plan to turn it into a website or magazine at the start, we just did it for a laugh. It was purely a fanzine which we put together as a hobby. It still is, but we’ve just learned a lot and are able to put that into practice as time goes by.
What is your relation to the world of football?
Based on the final league positions of last season, I’m a follower of the worst professional football team in England. Stockport County have been around since 1883 and are in the shadow of the two big Manchester clubs, and most people in our relatively large town understandably favour the more famous teams. For me though, it was never an option. You don’t choose your team, your team chooses you. Bad luck for me maybe. I think more and more these days, it’s the opposite way around. People in the UK watch their team on TV and choose the best teams more and more. I still attend games even though we have fallen five divisions in 12 years, but it’s not the same. We are now part-time and although our attendances are far, far bigger than every other team in our division, we’re still struggling. I’d like to give up watching but I can’t. It’s the hope that kills. One day we’ll be back as a pro team. It was only 12 years ago we played Manchester City in a league game and beat them.
It seems that this past year in England has returned to the world of violence audible. Talk a bit about this subject as you live there.
I think socially and culturally the conditions are there again. We saw most big English cities break out into disorder a couple of summers ago. People are angry and have less to lose. While the economy isn’t as badly affected as some countries, there’s still a clear class divide, especially under the current government. People don’t have the same ambitions and opportunities, and football represents a chance to belong and feel part of something for the younger crowd. This naturally boils over. I also think the whole casual movement has gone overground to the point of saturation. The idea was to always be transient and move forwards and to me that’s how it remained underground for so many years. But social media and other media coverage means it’s much easier to pin down a look and a way of acting. It’s more accessible but worse because of that.
Your magazine has become almost required reading for lovers of casual culture, but think what has over come this barrier and which has reached a much wider audience?
We began by aiming it at lads on casual forums and pretty much nobody else. Back then there was no facebook, twitter or instagram so they were the only group of people we had easy access to. I think as time has gone on the interests of both ourselves and our contributors have evolved a little. Covering the same old brands and the same old subjects would be very boring. Someone described Proper as a ‘post-casual publication’ recently and I thought that summed up where we are now. It was partly born of that scene but has moved on. It’s easy to stand still.
Many say that the golden age of the ’80s were casualism , aesthetic novelty, violence, etc.., Where did you think what this culture is evolving?
Do you mean the future? It’s hard to say. I think the average age of fans in the Premier League is 43. That’s very old. The kids are priced out at the top level so it’s hard to say how that’ll affect things. It’s not the done thing to regularly attend football matches anymore. Tickets are freely available for many of the bigger clubs but it’s still too expensive for the younger lot, plus they’re out of the habit of attending. Many can watch games with their mates in the pub and have a better time. The fan culture in England is not what it was and I think the football crowds will be closer to rugby crowds in future unless big changes are made. Maybe safe standing would help.
There was a time where Italian brands dominated the stands, have now moved into the background, and people prefer small productions and hand made as possible. You think it’s positive?
I think changing tastes are inevitable. Above all else people should just buy what they like and always think for themselves.
What no well-know brand would you recommend us?
There are lots of new brands which are interesting, but you’ll have to find them for yourself. I’m more interested in finding older brands which weren’t necessarily popular. There are lots of old mountaineering or workwear brands which inspire the current generation of designers. I like to dig deeper sometimes. Everything has gone a bit technical recently which is a reaction to the heritage trend. Where things will go next, I’m not quite sure.
Lois was an important part of the stands in the 80’s, did you know some other brand over our country?
Lois was a little before my time. I’ve been to Spain a lot but only really bought Lacoste. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places?
Football, fashion and fighting. Does not it seem absurd to go dressed in clothes that cost £1000 to fight for your team?
Absolutely. But that’s just one nuance of the whole scene I guess. Above all else the roots are simply in being better than your counterparts. So while the teams try to get superiority on the pitch, the fans do the same off it in whichever way they see fit. Either in the violence more prevalent in the past, in songs (also sadly more a thing of the past these days) or in the clothing. Getting a name for being the loudest, best dressed and hardest is just the tribal part of human nature applied to football whether people think of it in those terms or not.
Mates is a small brand located in a suburb of Barcelona, where manufacture and sell his shoes elaborate totally handmade. With good quality, with an attractive aesthetic standard, and which offers the possibility to choose your own colors.However it is not just known and used by the lads in this country. Do not you think with all these premises would have to be a brand for claiming with pride?
I like the idea of being able to buy something customised and made by someone who knows their craft. That sort of thing should definitely be on the radar of anyone claiming allegiance to the casual scene.
Massimo Osti was a whole ahead of its time, innovative and a myth. What think today of course what you have taken Stone Island, which in my view has lost much both in quality and design, saving some article of each catalog, plus take manufacturing out of Italy.
I think the huge weight of history behind Stone Island and CP Company is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a real benefit to the brand in that it’s a plus point for people to buy into, but it also means they’ve always got to meet very high standards. I’m not bothered where something is made as long as it’s good. The world is changing, the Far East is catching up the west in terms of working conditions and manufacture quality. I’ve spoken to a lot of people involved with UK brands who would like to make stuff here but can’t find the right manufacturer with the right appreciation of what they want to achieve. So Stone Island taking stuff away from Italy isn’t a concern to me. I can understand the purists feeling as though something is being taken away though. As for the quality and design, I think it’s still up there. The things that strike me with both Stone Island and CP, plus a lot of the more expensive brands in similar retailers is how they fit. They always seem to fit really well. More inexpensive stuff is always not quite right.
Sierra Designs, Woolrich, Berghaus,Topo Designs, Fjallraven, to what extentis influencing the world of mountain in the world of the stands?
Certainly in the North West of England, there is a long tradition of taking the mountaineering look and twisting it in a few different directions. Oi Polloi in Manchester had a big influence in taking that to the mainstream and since then lots of contemporary brands have taken that on to a wider audience. I think the two main things that make this sort of gear appealing is that it is authentic outerwear that will keep you dry and warm, and also the history behind these brands is pretty cool. These items were worn by genuine mountaineers, and in some cases they’re still popular in that world. Again, it’s all about looking beyond the identikit, obvious look and trying to be a little different, anti-suss.
Only aesthetic interest, or think that really interests the beauty of natural landscapes, trekking, etc..?
For me personally, I like walking a lot but rarely get out into the mountains to do it. I don’t drive so do a lot of walking locally. I like the idea of taking something meant for the mountains and wearing it in the street. It’s a popular look where I live for a good reason. Maybe the weather plays a part.