Yorkshire brand Joe Browns celebrates individuality by asking its real-life stylish friends and fans to model its autumn/winter collection. Stephanie Smith takes a look. Photography: Kevin Peschke.
As a brand, Joe Browns has made a name for itself by refusing to conform to the fashion norm. Its signature style takes classic, flattering cuts and heritage fabrics, and mixes it all up, adding in striking pattern and quirky detailing from vintage touches to quaint boho flourishes. A mismatched button here, a contrast patch of fabric there – and then there are those prints, for which Joe Browns men’s shirts, in particular, are renowned.
Founded in 1998 in Farsley, Leeds, by Simon Brown, Joe Browns has grown to become a successful multi-channel retailer, selling via its own site and through others such as Very and Simply Be. Last year, it opened its own shop at Meadowhall, Sheffield.
HQ is now in Holbeck and, in keeping with the Joe Browns ethos, it’s quite a surprise, a standard out-of-town business unit on the outside but a cool and funky open-plan fashion house inside, decorated variously with Union Flag sofas, coloured bunting, a big red motorbike, a drum kit and posters featuring Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and the Queen.
Simon was inspired to create the brand when on holiday in Wales, visiting the Ty Coch pub, where he saw a bunch of carefree surfer boys and girls, all salty hair and wrist bangles. It was a feeling, a vibe, he wanted to bottle.
Now he and his team travel the globe for more inspiration, capturing that easy, liberated and, most of all, individual, Joe Browns style. The new autumn/winter collection, newly released, is a gorgeously eclectic and stylish example.
“This season we’re celebrating all things individual – ourselves, our customers, and all the unique characters we meet along life’s journey,” says marketing director Tracey Hepton. “To mix things up a bit, we decided to seek out some truly individual characters to feature in amongst our usual faces. Real people with real stories – some of whom are normally behind the camera, not in front of it.”
And so it is that photographer Kevin Peschke turned model for one of the six individual looks, passing his camera to art director Richard Olsen. “I often have to show models the sort of pose and look we’re after, so it was a good laugh,” Kevin says. Shooting for Joe Browns is always a proper adventure, he adds. “It’s a real team effort. It’s like a bunch of pals, all working to get the best shots we can. I think it shows in the quality and freshness of the images we produce.”
These are the six individuals selected for the autumn/winter campaign, each wearing their favourite Joe Browns pieces from the new collection.
Tracey Hepton says: “We believe it’s our quirks, experiences and quite often a few moments of madness that help make us who we are, so why not celebrate being an individual? As they say, it takes all sorts to make a world.”