http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014 ... erformance
‘If I could go back and give myself style advice, I’d say: “Tone it down or it’ll come back to bite you in the arse”’: Suede’s Brett Anderson, 1993.
‘If I could go back and give myself style advice, I’d say: “Tone it down or it’ll come back to bite you in the arse”’: Suede’s Brett Anderson, 1993. Kevin Cummins/Getty Images Photograph: Kevin Cummins/Getty Images
There’s no such thing as non-image in music. Even bands who say they don’t have an image, well, that’s their image. A look is part of the magic and mystique of why fans get into particular bands.
People assumed Suede were strutting peacocks, but it wasn’t really like that. We were all on the dole so we went to charity shops – we were styled accidentally by Oxfam. In the early 90s those shops weren’t full of Gap T-shirts, they sold clothes from 10-15 years earlier. It looked like we’d adopted retro chic, but in truth it was financial necessity. At the time I was watching classic 60s and 70s films – The Servant, a lot of Alan Bates – so I looked for similar suits and shirts in the charity shops, there was a certain Englishness to it and it became our look. But it wasn’t as self-conscious as people thought.
Bands are like families, they spend a lot of time together. When you get very close, you start borrowing each other’s clothes. That’s why bands that are any good have an identity. It’s part of the tribalism of the band, and you’re proud of it. Your music sounds a certain way and you look a certain way. I don’t think any good band is obsessed by style. It’s just an extension of your identity. You won’t be any good if you’re style over content, it simply can’t happen.
I regret I allowed the look to become cartoonish by going on stage wearing more feminine clothes, blouses. But I honestly started doing it because my clothes always got ripped off me by the audience. I had to go out every day when we were on tour and buy some flimsy old bit of nonsense from a junk shop because I knew it would get torn to pieces. If I could go back and give myself style advice, I’d say: “Tone it down or it’ll come back to bite you in the arse.” But we were young and it was exciting – part of the thrill of being in a band when you’re young is making mistakes.
I’m 47 now and I’m lucky enough to be able afford nice clothes. As you get older, you dress better. Though I’m quite conscious of not overdressing, particularly when the band is on stage. I don’t like it when we all turn up in suits, as if we’ve walked out of a Savile Row tailor.
I still go into charity shops, though, I love them. I’m nosy. I like looking through other people’s junk. I’m like one of those people who doesn’t want to buy a house but still books appointments with estate agents just to have a look around.
Suede will release a limited-edition box set of Dog Man Star on 20 October to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album’s release
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