Discovering the man who adorned The Blitz Kids
Recently collaborating on a fashion spread titled ‘Creativity will save us all’ with fellow i-Con Tim Walker, the king of customisation, Judy Blame, is proving that subculture never dies. Dominating London’s fashion scene during the 1980s with DIY jewellery, Blame now runs an Instagram feed featuring his collection of Punk themed imagery and continues to live under the ethos of his punchy bio-line; “Style & Attitude”.
Venturing to London from Leatherhead, Surrey, at the aged of 17, Blame made a name for himself during the heyday of Covent Garden’s Blitz Club. As a fever of creativity hit London during the 80s, a new generation of creatives appeared. Blitz became a meeting place for the cities most visionary and vibrant, including: singers Boy George, David Bowie and Steve Strange, members of Spandau Ballet and milliner, Stephen Jones.
In the era Blame regards as “the age of character”, the iconic New Romantic and Punk styles were born.
“The main thing was looking bloody fabulous to go out!” Blame told Gregor Muir in a 2016 interview. Rebelling against the mainstream, Blame and his clique thrived on individuality.
A son of a Precious Metal importer, Blame’s magpie-eye for striking hardware often had him raking the river banks of the Thames, salvaging washed-up gems. String, buttons, bones, clay pipes and bottle-tops were recycled into avant-garde accessories.
Blames conventional creations instantly caught the eye of photographer and Buffalo founder, Ray Petri. Collaborating together on photoshoots and films, Blame soon discovered he had a keen interest and talent for styling, leading him to work for publications such as i-D and The Face, eventually becoming creative consultant for musicians Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack.
Overtime, Blame has turned the disposable into the exquisite, and epitomised the art of recycling. Bottletops and buttons have been transformed into badges, as knives and forks have embellished hats.
In 2016, Blame created custom packaging for Jo Maline and collaborated with upcoming menswear designer Christopher Shannon on his spring/summer 2016 collection. He was also honoured with a solo exhibition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts that year.
Still residing in London, Blame continues to work as a multidisciplinary creator within fashion. Successfully lying under the radar and avoiding the influence of the mainstream, his work carries on exemplifying and embodying the styles of Punk, New Romantic and all-round Britishness. Appointed as fashion director for our latest issue, Blame worked alongside a new generation of London’s creative thinkers who reference and honour Britain’s creative icons such as Blame and share his enthusiasm for the future of our dynamic and influential city.
Words by Emily Gallagher