Sew & Tell
Costume designer Jeffrey Bryant has created looks for some of the world’s most iconic performers including Duran Duran, Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones. While on tour with Pet Shop Boys, with whom he’s collaborated since the early ’90s, he spoke with VAULT about growing up in punk-era London, his passion for kimonos and the style legacy of Glam Rock.
Growing up in South Wales, were there any clues about your destiny?
As a child, I daydreamed. I was obsessed with Greek and Roman history. I was always dressing up. I remember tying bamboo tablemats around my chest, like Samurai armour. A tea towel became the helmet. I left school at 16 to work in a factory, completing a mechanical engineering apprenticeship. In 1976, everything was about to change.
The UK Punk explosion was life-changing for many of our generation!
Punk was the natural progression for a tribe of like-minded people. In 1977, I began to explore wilder fashion and music. In ’78, I visited Vivienne Westwood’s shop, Seditionaries, in Kings Road, Chelsea. I bought their ‘Destroy’ T-shirt for £4.50. I also bought the now-iconic lime-green, leopard T-shirt, from Boy [London], which I still have. By the summer of ’78 I started customising vintage clothing and spray-painting T-shirts. My older sister had a sewing machine, which was easy to operate. I made a pair of red tartan bondage trousers.
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