Casual Recollections With Nick Love
Ever since the early noughties British film director, Nick Love, has brought us a range of different subcultures & scenes to the big screen.
Nick Love is a British film director that has put his spin on various eras from the 1980s to the mid noughties. From growing up on a London council estate in the early noughties with Goodbye Charlie Bright, the glamourous ex-pat gangster life on the “Costa Del Crime” in the 1980s & an insight into Chelsea’s notorious Headhunter’s firm with the Football Factory in the mid noughties. Nick Love clearly has a passion for the colourful casual scene which was amplified with The Firm from 2009. The cult classic introduced casual sportswear to the big screen courtesy of stand up performances from Paul Anderson (Peaky Blinders) and a shed load of Sergio Tacchini.
Above: Nick Love’s ‘The Business’ from 2005 launched 80s Casual Classics & many revival styles like the Fila Settanta.
It was The Business from 2005 that really launched 80s Casual Classics and the sportswear brands that featured within the film. On the original DVD for the film we were listed as stockists of the clothing featured which created a demand for 80s sportswear styles from Fila & Sergio Tacchini like nothing ever seen before. Key styles like the Fila Terrinda, the Fila Settanta & the Sergio Tachinni Dallas have remained a key part of the 80s CC DNA ever since. The film would also lead to further projects between Nick Love & 80s CC founder, Neil Primett, later down the line with The Firm in 2009.
Above: Neil Primett featured in The Firm as the shop keeper in the sports shop scene.
We worked with Nick Love on the wardrobe for The Firm, as well as hosting a Bedford premiere for the film. Our very own head honcho, Neil Primett, even starred in the film as the shop keeper in the iconic sports shop scene. The sport shop scene had us all itching to get our hands on some of the 80s styles that featured in the film. After The Firm was released we played a key role in the revival of archive styles from Fila, Sergio Tacchini & Ellesse. These classic 80s sportswear styles have played a key part of the 80s Casual Classics story and still remain some of our top sellers to this day. Ever since their work together on The Firm from 2009, Nick & Neil have always talked about another 80s project, all we can say for now is watch this space and check out ‘Nick Love’s Casual Recollections’ below.
Above: Callum MacNab, Neil Primett, Nick Love, Paul Anderson & Joe Jackson at the Bedford premier for The Firm.
Nick Love’s Casual Re-Collection
Way before girls and football and film-making, fashion was my first love. I think I’m speaking for generations of young men, particularly working class men, who learnt that you wore what you had on your sleeve, literally, to show off what you had. I remember my mates at school (my mum was left wing middle class so I started with lentils and CND flags instead) who had plastic runners over their carpets, and sofa protectors all over their front rooms – and the reason was to keep what you had, looking neat and tidy, because if you didn’t have much you showed it with pride. And the same applied to fashion. Me and my mates worshipped fashion. I got my first Lacoste (moody) tee-shirt from Deptford market when I was ten, and even though it was a fake and the crocodile fell off after a couple of washes, it afforded me a new status, and kids started looking at me differently.
My informative years coincided with the explosion of the terrace casual scene, and as boy growing up in south London who was interested in clothes and fashion, it couldn’t have been more powerful. All the older boys that lived near me and went to Millwall, started wearing Fila and Tacchini – they walked around the estates and terraces looking like Borg or McEnroe – and to outsiders they might have looked like wannabe tennis fans, but they were the coolest cats on the block to us younger boys. I think I brought my first Fila top when I was about twelve, probably drove my poor mother fucking mad and she gave me the dough to go up to Nick Nacks – one of the London casual wear emporiums – and buy a Settanta warm up top (I don’t remember it being a BJ – they were still out of reach to a kid who hadn’t hit his teens). Some my mates were spoiled by their parents and had all the gear – came to school head to toe in Fila – fucking wristbands as well – but having a lefty mum, who was into sewing up old clothes and making me wear Stamford house plimmies instead of buying new ones, had to work a bit harder. Working a bit harder meant stealing basically, so I got into the hoisting with a bunch of mates from south London, and we would make regular trips up to the west end, mostly Lilywhites or Olympus on Oxford st, nick a head tennis bag, fill it up with Fila, Tachinni, Ellesse and L’alpina – then fuck off back down south and wear our new threads with pride on the estate and terraces.
In those days, you simply had to have it. Unlike now, when fashion seems cheaper and flooded everywhere, the casual sportswear was elite and hard to come by. I got my first Fila Terrinda in 84/85 I think (they were and still are, the holy grail of casual sportswear) – navy blue if I remember rightly? Between the years of 82/86, Bjorn Borg’s myth had grown and grown to the point if you didn’t wear Fila BJ, you were some sort of a pikey. The same went for some of the Tachinni gear – full electric blue Dallas was the number one choice – Ellesse were producing some top end jumpers as well as tracks – the list is endless and I could go on forever…………
Above: Nick Love sporting a classic Fila ‘BJ’ Terrinda in the classic 80s red colourway.
Being the most influential time in my life, I always wanted to make a film that reflected the clothes and music (the two leading influences) so I wrote THE BUSINESS after editing the FOOTBALL FACTORY and got some financiers to part with their hard earned money – there were a lot of raised eyebrows when I said it was set in the 80’s and concentrated on the sportswear fashion of the time. I think the feeling was, that in hindsight it was seen as flash and uncool – but I felt that audiences my age and older would connect to it because of the nostalgia – and younger audiences would get it, and become interested in it – because younger people, especially men, want to know about fashion, where things originate from and who wore them etc. we shot the film in Spain in 2005 after me and my costume designer scoured the earth for the right sportswear – I think he nearly had a breakdown – he had no idea of the levels of obsession I had – and how much the detail had to be right. I kept telling him that nearly right was not enough. It had to be spot on. And if audiences are anything like I was, the look had to be perfect, otherwise you’d feel cheated. The chaps didn’t wear Olympus own brand tennis shorts – they wore Fila and Tachinni and Ellesse – and nothing less.
So anyway, we shot the film and the rest is history. I like to think that THE BUSINESS played some small part in current revival. I have seen a lot of new casual websites popping up, with people wanting to share their knowledge and experiences from the golden era. Certainly the people that run brands like Fila and Tachinni are quick to tell me that the vintage sportswear of the 80’s are being sort after again, having been on the shelf for years. Classics such as the Sergio Dallas, Fila 2 stripe velours, Pac-mac Kagouls, 4 and 5 stripe Fila wham jackets, Borg Settanta’s are all making a big comeback – while Ebay is the elite vintage trading ground for Fila Terrinda jackets – the holy grail – as well as Terrinda polos and shorts – now left only to a select elite that want to stay looking sharp like the 80’s – and frankly why wouldn’t you? If you think what came after the casual scene, it was a bunch of soapy cunts running around fields in day glo cycling shorts and dungarees. Not for me – I’m a casual all the way. Till I die.
Recently I got hold of a red Fila Terrinda through a mate. It was the only one I couldn’t get hold of when I was a chavvy. Couldn’t buy it, couldn’t nick. Nothing doing. So I’ve been wearing around London lately – and people come up to me and ask where I got it from and how cool it looks etc (I’m sure some people think I look like a fucking swan vesta) so it shows how much staying power the original gear has. To end, because it was so powerful in my life and has affected my work, I’m planning on revisiting the 80’s once again in a film. Set in London around the football/terrace casual scene, it will be about what it meant to be young, casual and join the gangs – and how much it meant to people. Just like me.