Ian Brown, Leo Stanley, John Squire. Afflecks Arcade, Circa 88
Identity staff Mark and Colin make it in to the papers with a selection of 'Smiley' t-shirts.
I had been in Affleck’s Palace since 1983 trying different retail ideas, but eventually came up with IDENTITY in 1986. In its time it went through quite a lot of fashion phases but obviously its claim to fame was the ‘Acid House’ period - baggy dungarees, baggy jeans and then flares. Whatever you have heard or read about who started the whole flares revival, let me tell you the truth.
The scousers should really have the credit, but for us Mancs it was Phil Saxe, Happy Mondays, Cressa and Ian Brown. Phil Saxe was the first manager of Happy Mondays, and they all met through the stall he had in the Arndale market selling semi-flares. In 1988 Ian Brown came in the shop and asked if we could get any Wrangler flares as they were hard to get hold of. I thought ‘why don’t we produce our own range’ so I got in touch with 2 local guys, Joe Moss and Phil Wildbore. As well as being the original manager of 'The Smiths', Joe Moss had a clothes shop in Stockport and along with Phil they set up ‘Go Vicinity’ clothing. From this came the very baggy jean and finally the flares and the rest is history.
One of the other things I am most proud of about Identity is that we were involved with selling the very first range of Smiths t-shirts. Designed by Elizabeth Taylor (no not that one), an amazing girl who worked for Phil and Joe, hence the meeting. We were the first shop to sell the now infamous daffodil and gladioli print t-shirts.
I never really realised how exciting it all was at the time, although there were a few surreal moments when we had such icons as Debby Harry, David Beckham, Terry Hall and Alice Cooper, Robert Plant - Led Zepplin (27 inch flares before you ask), along with all of the Manchester legends standing in the shop!
Leo in The Sunday Times in 1988