Soul Girl, Soul Boy

January 2022

We look to the thriving soul scene of 70s and 80s South-East England for inspiration in 2022.

Music and subculture has always been our primary inspiration here at Fred Perry and for 2022, we take influence from the British Southern soul scene of the early eighties. A largely overlooked British subculture where fashion, music and multiculturalism collided in spectacular fashion.

While Northern Soul was rooted in the North-West of England and brimming with a wild, backward-looking enthusiasm for 60s classic soul, Southern Soul started in Essex and Kent with a focus on contemporary soul and breaking new records.

At clubs like Top Rank in Reading, Crackers in London and Goldmine in Canvey Island, DJs played a mix of contemporary US and British soul which later inspired everything from the Brit Funk movement to Acid House. And you can still hear its influence today in everything from Jorja Smith to Inflo’s productions for Little Simz and SAULT.

As with all subcultures, clothes were essential to the scene and personal identity was positively championed. Soul boys were renowned for experimenting with their style, finding their confidence and identity on the dancefloor.

Clothing was chosen to be comfortable and not restrict movement; loose fitting, wide legs to keep you nice and cool as you danced. Girls would wear giant skirts that spun around while bold colours were encouraged – think red trousers with mohair jumpers tucked in. The bolder the better, you wanted to stand out.