From the first day I fortuitously met Dean he has always been in Adidas from tip to toe. Wonder I might wonder I may, where does this affinity come from? Turns out Dean has always been adorned in Adidas, ‘When I was a kid everybody had Adidas World Cup football boots and I think the first trainers I had were black and white Adidas Kick.’ The familiar 3 stripes you would expect to see in all straight laced sports shops today, were hard to come by in 70s Wolverhampton. If Dean couldn’t get any from the local dealer he would go to a shop called The Sportsman in the neighbouring village. This is where the story starts, he got his first pair of ‘Kick’ when he was about 8, ‘when we used to play football they were the trainers we all had.’ Along with the blue suede numbers with the tarmac round the heel, the pair of ‘kick’ in the collection are one of my particular favourites because not only do the tongues talk of a black and white Berlin but you can tell they would strike a ball nice, and are therefore a handy pair to have. You get the feeling Dean wouldn’t be doing many flick ups in them now mind. Being a matchmaker for Frank Warren, one of the top boxing promoters in the world is no easy job, let alone the road to get there right to the top, it makes Dean appreciate what he had and what he’s got, ‘All my records are in plastic sleeves and my classic mini coopers are absolutely immaculate because I’ve had to take time to get those things if you know what I mean?’
As well as a substantial collection of tracksuits, Dean has an Adidas archive of 80 plus pairs, many of which have only been worn once, ‘I like to get them out the box and look at them you know?’ Surely everyone’s done this? I used to get my latest pair home and rest them on the arm of the setae, at the end of the bed or the edge of the bath, to ensure I had clocked them from every angle. You can wash them all you like, but they are never the same.
BOXES IN BERLIN
Interestingly there were some seminal moments where the Adidas emblem seemed to have caught Deans eye. In 1975 one of his pals Alan Hudson made his debut when England played Germany at Wembley. Dean couldn’t help but admire the Germans pristine green Adidas shirt with daz ultra white collar ‘it was a fantastic kit’ he says. He’s a big fan of the German import stuff and when he gets the chance to go over to Berlin to support his boxers fighting away from home, he’ll do a turn round the local stores. In 2005 he went over with Joe Calzaghe, and that’s when he acquired another pair of ‘Kick,’ the orange and green suede numbers you can see in the collection. The only ones in the shop happened to be a size 8 and he’s never seen them anywhere else.
TO CASUAL CROSSFADER
Dean is a mod at heart and this clean-cut aesthetic comes from his love for Paul Weller and The Jam, The Action and The Small Faces. The sports casuals came on the scene in the early 80s and the way they were turned out was linked very closely to the mod style. ‘I remember a very early picture of The Style Council, and Steve White the drummer whose now become a good friend of mine, had got red and white Gazelles on the same as what I’ve got on today and that is the casual thing to the crossover. Paul [Weller] was always the epiphany of cool but Steve always stood out for me.’ There is not many if any styles that Dean has missed over the years but his favourite flavour are still the original Gazelles, ‘these are kind of the late 70s, early 80s Gazelle, with a thinner sole and a more pointy toe.’ These are the flashes you will see tucked under the table when he goes to Mary’s Café on Walworth Road for the finest bubble and squeak in London.
Dean got into the mod scene when he was around 15, when he’s had to chose he has always gone for the older look, ‘‘Even though it’s a German brand I think Adidas is predominantly associated with the UK. I think the beauty of it is people from all ages can wear it. In this country an older person such as myself, or someone who’s older can wear an Adidas tracksuit with Adidas trainers and jeans.’ Dean has always been an Adidas person and if I were a betting man, maybe I’m not maybe I am, I would say that he always will be. He just sold 30 pairs to a shop in Brighton but I’ve got a feeling that was just to make room.
3 stripes a wealth of knowledge and a fortune of stories, even though Dean is the busiest man I have ever met he has been a great support to this first issue. Nothing inspires me more than when someone takes the time to help you achieve something. I was lucky to be in Fred's shoe shop that day.