Adam of London talks to Eyeplug

Early days:

01 Where were you born, and where did you live as a child, if different? What was your town like?

Hackney, East London, lived there all my childhood and teenage years, all in North East London, Hackney, Stoke Newington. Hackney wasn’t a quiet neighbourhood, like most inner London neighbourhoods, it was a little bit rough; you had to keep your wits about you.

02 What were your interests as a child?

From the age of about twelve onwards, I was really into clothes, and music, ‘cause I played in a band. Pop music, whatever the music was at the time, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, that’s what I was into. I know people talk about Northern Soul, but that didn’t come ‘til much later, maybe a decade or so later. Bluebeat was around in ’63, ’64, the fringes of it, Prince Buster, I didn’t dislike it. Went to quite a few live gigs, The Rolling Stones three times, I saw The Searchers, I saw Manfred Mann, I saw The Animals probably three or four times, good band. There used to be a club in Tottenham, The Club Noreik, live bands. The clothes were important, even when I was at school, I used to buy these jeans, I used to buy them for fifteen and six, dye them various colours, and sell them for 30 shillings!

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03 When were you first aware of Mod?

’63 when I was 15. I had a scooter, a black LI. I wasn’t totally into them. I bought it for thirty bob. A friend’s uncle was getting a car and asked if I wanted it. I rode it away, no tax no insurance. Later on, I got a car, a red mini, on HP, with an uncle as guarantor. No credit checks or bank references in those days. They’d check to see if you lived where you said you did, but that was it. I never had a parka. I had a Crombie, and a sheepskin.

04 What or who do you feel was the greatest influence on your life?

As a teenager, my boss, when I served my apprenticeship. He was a Polish Jewish tailor, he had a front of shop and at the back was the factory. The cutters worked there, and the master tailors. Later, I met a German technician, called Edward Nobel, and in three weeks with him, I learned more from him than in the three years of my apprenticeship. By technician, I mean a master pattern maker, and he would show you how to make the garment.

Shop and customers:

01 When did you decide to run a one-stop shop for the Mod community, if you did decide?

I didn’t. I was more into manufacturing, supplying others. I went to the USA, and about ’84 I came back to the UK, to Portobello, my daughter was doing some business with the Japanese, and a Japanese asked me ‘Can you make us some mod suits?’ I started doing them for the Japanese market only, on average two thousand suits every two months to Japan. Later, I opened a shop in Carnaby Street, and one in the King’s Road, in the 90’s.

02 What sort of people come to your shop? Aspiring or existing mods? 24 hour mods? Describe what you think your typical customer is like.

We get a lot of new mods, youngsters. But our client base it sixteen to seventy five years old, they’re new and existing mods, no typical customer. We’ve got the next generation in the business, who have their views on things.

03 How far do you see yourself as a guide for the aspiring mods?

Yes, they do ask a lot of questions and I’m quite happy to answer them. They’re sometimes quite astonished when I tell them the truth about how we used to dress, because you realise the styles have all become bastardised, mixed up with the late 70’s.

04 Is your stock formed by your personal taste? How far? Do you go for specific cloth and designs, or do you like to experiment?

I think any designer, no matter what he’s designing, it’s his view, but you are influenced yourself. I didn’t create this. Yes, these are original designs, but you are influenced by what people want, and you’ve got to put in a few changes. We go one hundred per cent for specific cloth. First of all, I will only use English fabrics, Huddersfield, Bradford, and there’s a reason for it; it is the best in the world. The mohair for the suits is specially woven for us. We select the yarn colours in the mill, and have them woven for us. We’ve got seven new colours of three ply mohair coming in, in the shop by January/February.


01 How would you rate yourself as a mod?

Then, twenty four hours, yes, but now? Lapsed a bit. I wouldn’t wear anything other than this, wouldn’t even think it. (Adam was wearing a smart three button suit, pocket square and three button cotton top). I might wear the tracksuit bottoms on a Sunday, even then, I’ve got a John Smedley, and a Crombie coat over the top!

02 Were you a fan of the mod revival bands of the 70’s?

Yes, some of them, like Weller, Madness, The Specials, loved the Specials, the boys in the band, a couple of them do come here, but no, didn’t go to any gigs. Mid-life, your family are more important to you.


01 What do you think of the way young people generally dress today?

They’re a mixed bunch, No direction, a bit of a mish mosh. Some of them, some are cool on very little money.

02 How about young mods? Do you think they’re getting it right? Compared and contrasted with revival mods?

Yes, they look smart, they’re nearly there, and I always say to them, ‘If it feels right, it is right.’ Not like the revivalists were. They weren’t getting it right at all. There’s a guy in Quadrophenia in flares, that’s supposed to be ’64, it’s more like ’74 isn’t it? Another good thing is, there’s no racism now among the young mods.

03 Do you think they’ll stick at it?

Yes, I think they will, it looks very smart, you stand out. It’s a great look.

04 Apart from mod, is there a subculture you think is particularly sharp or exciting today?

No, there isn’t really.

05 Are there any subcultures you don’t like?

That one where they wear their trousers hanging half way down the legs, and the baseball cap backwards. Do they not realise how unsightly it looks?

06 What do you do to relax? What makes you laugh?

My family, my grandson, driving, all help me relax. I like driving. I like a nice comfortable car, a nice drive down to the South of France. I drove to the South of France, in ’68, in a Triumph Vitesse 2 litre convertible. It rained on the way back, and a lorry ripped my roof off. For laughs, a good comedian can make me laugh, like Michael McIntyre, or Tommy Cooper.

07 Do you still like to listen to music? Are these the same bands as when you were younger?

I do, but I listen to whatever music’s around. I still like listening to The Rolling Stones, a bit of Pink Floyd.

08 If you could have been born in some other place, or another time period, what and when would it have been?

I’m quite happy with the time and place I was born.

…and being born early enough to appreciate the first flush of mod, who can blame him? Adam Shener, thank you.



Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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Originally posted 2013-03-12 14:35:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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