So what was the eighties really like? This was the question I was asked on Newsnight last night. Was it all about strikes, industrial melt-down, the miner's strike and a return to austerity?
Well these were all certainly part of it but I also remember the optimism, the explosion of colour and design, the music and the creativity being shown by the young who with no money would create some amazing new outfit to wear to their local club where they would dance the night away.
It was when Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Katharine Hamnett, Bodymap and others were bringing out fashion that would have influence all over the world. It was when Boy George, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and The Eurythmics were bringing exciting new sounds and looks to our ears - when Manchester led by Tony Wilson was the centre of Northern music and cuture - when Neville Brody and The Face Magazine and Terry Jones at I.D. Mag were breaking the boundaries of graphics and publishing and Ben Kelly and others were bringing industrial waste into retail and club design including my own shop Mrs Howie in Covent Garden.
It was when Bob Geldorf, prompted by Paula Yates, initiated Live Aid and got us all caring about world poverty; when Katharine Hamnett brought out her slogan Peace T-shirts, bringing politics into fashion, based on the Buddhist Expo Chose Life I took her too and when I got the fashion business chanting every morning during London Fashion Week that the tents to house the designer shows that I put up in Kings Road would become the huge success they were - leading the way 25 years later for the success of British Fashion worldwise.
These were the memories too of the friends I bumped into last night at the Notting Hill shop opening of Californian-based interior designer Rachel Ashwell, creator of the influential Shabby Chic look. Even more exciting is that so many of us involved in the explosion of the creative industries in the eighties are still here causing waves of social and creative change that can balance out the austerity that is clearly coming our way again. Have a good day!