What’s the crack with Adam Jones? He’s a 28-year-old designer from Froncysyllte, a tiny village in north Wales, and designs clothes inspired by pubs – of the old man variety. Those that simmer with the all too familiar scent of stale beer, have deep maroon carpets and a no-nonsense veteran landlady guarding the bar.
Jones is sat on the stool next to me at The Pride of Spitalfields, a proper East End boozer, with a pint in hand. “You could make a collection from this pub now,” he says, looking around. “Look at the red velvet drapes and the fringing, the graphics in the mirrors and the old carpet patterns. Even the rivets in the chairs.”
Time spent in pubs, both sat at the bar and working behind it, has proved a valuable source of research for Jones. His ability to survey and observe his surroundings – from the grain of the wood on the bar, to the intricate design of a beer mat – has allowed him to riff off the oddities found in mundane environments.
“Living and growing up in Wales, we’d spend time in the old men’s pubs because that’s all we had,” Jones recalls. “It was either that or happy hardcore girls in mini dresses, drinking vodka shots and WKD’s – so we went for the old man pubs.”
Before building his brand, the designer graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2013 and took a position at Christopher Shannon two years later with the support of the late and great Judy Blame – the punk iconoclast with an unwavering eye for raw talent – who discovered Jones on Instagram.
Since then, his designs have come in the form of sweater vests, scarves and bags inspired by beer towels emblazoned with Newcastle Brown Ale and Smirnoff logos, made from a fuzzy material similar to the one you wrap yourself in after a shower. Meanwhile, his tiger print overcoats are adorned with – you guessed it – beer brand logos and his slime-green t‑shirts are designed with prints of horses or dogs splashed across their fronts, the type you see in those rusty photo frames that are always up for grabs at car boot sales.
With designs that feel immediately familiar, it’s unsurprising that Jones takes an inclusive approach to design. His subversive pieces are for “anyone and everyone”.
But to carry on designing requires a steady flow of cash-money, and living in London while juggling the extortionate costs of fabrics, a studio and shows at London Fashion Week is no cheap feat. And so Jones has set up a GoFundMe page where people can donate the funds necessary to keep his brand alive. Being the modest guy he is, Jones was ever so reluctant to discuss it.
“I don’t know how I feel about it – it feels like a vanity project. Like ‘give me money to make some clothes because I enjoy it’. But it’s overwhelming that people have given me money especially those that have never bought anything off me,” says Jones.
Fact is, the world is bloody tough. Expensive, too. So if you believe in the designer’s work, why not help a Welsh lad out? Here’s hoping he’s designing those scarves forever. Learn a little more about the designer, pint-drinker and soon-to-be-legend about town here.
How much do you love being a talented designer?
Are we starting like this?
It’s a dream come true.
What’s the most memorable job you’ve had?
I worked in a fancy dress factory called Crazy Ladies for a year in Wales – it was brilliant. It was basically people on the verge of homelessness, drug addicts and lovely old ladies, and me. You’d get people coming in for custom [costumes], like an old man coming in for an Alice in Wonderland dress and weird, kinky farmers. It was insane.
Do you prefer an old-school pub to the new hipster kind?
Ooooh yeah. And if they’re sun-stained.
Where’s your favourite place to be in London?
I just love the weird outskirts, the characters you get there. I used to live in Penge! I don’t feel comfortable in Shoreditch and all that.
Could you live anywhere other than London?
No. But I love Paris…
I think it’s a bit poncey.
Do you think? That’s the other side of me – I just love the old school fashion…
Have you ever designed something and thought, “‘that’s really shit”, and had to start again?
No. I’ve made stuff I don’t like, but I don’t put them in the show or whatever. I like them at a time and then I don’t think it’s good anymore. I have to squint my eyes if it seems a bit dodgy.
What is something you wish people would stop doing?
[Stop] designing for landfill. People that design this tacky cheap shit that people will wear once.
Do you consider yourself an outsider?
Do you like it that way?
Yeah. I feel like I’m more old school.
Who do you really want to dress?
Sarah Lucas. Someone find me her address. But I mean, if Rihanna wants to wear it I’m not going to say no.
Do you watch Eastenders?
No. My mum’s just got into it now at the age of 52, weirdly. I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was growing up, but now she’s watching it. I had quite a strict upbringing.
Tell me more about that.
Because I was the first born, I was precious. I was meant to die as a baby, so I had to be a vegetarian. I wasn’t allowed to drink or smoke, either.
But now you drink and smoke?
There’s no meat in ciggies.
WOULD YOU RATHER...
Heineken or Amstel?
Night at the pub or at the rave?
Night at the pub.
Eastenders or Corrie?
Pot noodle or beans on toast?
Neither! Cheese and sweet corn on toast.
Strictly or X‑Factor?
Neither. Well, X‑Factor.
Flip flops or sliders?
I’d prefer flip flops to come back rather than sliders.
North or south?
Sugababes or Girls Aloud?
Sugababes. I’m having Overload as the first dance at my wedding.
Treacle sponge or spotted dick?
Ant or Dec?
Ant. He’s a bit edgy, done all sorts.