Ferry's Fashion Fix
Hear the words ‘footballer’ and ‘fashion’ in close proximity, and the image conjured is likely to combine garish jewellery, extravagant designer-wear and everything in between.
But take a peek inside the wardrobe of one of Swindon’s most notable footballing faces and you’ll find something quite different: a collection of unique, and carefully selected vintage clothes seemingly more akin to a tour bus than a changing room.
The man in question is Swindon Town midfielder Simon Ferry who, along with fiancé Steph McCormick, runs an online business selling said clothes to the similarly style-conscious around the UK and the wider world.
The business, called ‘Haven’t Got A Stitch To Wear’ (after a lyric in the song ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths) operates through ASOS Marketplace and offers top quality vintage clothing and accessories from a wide range of sources around the country.
And despite only launching in March 2011, HGASTW has already shipped orders as far as Brazil, Germany and Sweden – as well as plenty around the UK.
While Simon takes credit for naming the business – claiming Steph ‘probably would’ve called it C&A’ – it was the latter’s passion for vintage clothing that brought the idea about.
“When I was in fourth year in school I needed a job, and I noticed in the West End of Glasgow there were a few charity shops and vintage shops who were looking for someone,” she recalls.
“I wasn’t really that interested to start with, but after a bit I started to enjoy having one off things that no one else had – you know what it’s like when you’re a kid.
“Everyone else was in Nike trainers and tracksuits and stuff, but I really liked finding the unique items in the shops, and I still do.
“He (Simon) had a wee bit of a thing for vintage clothes when I met him, but I’ve got him into it properly now – and he’s the money behind it!”
Finding a stitch to wear
The pair take regular trips to local vintage, charity and second hand shops before bringing together collections to shoot for online galleries and blogs.
It’s an all-consuming task for Steph, while Simon fits his fashion work around Swindon Town commitments, and the formula works well as both bring their individual influences together to create the unique HGASTW style.
“I’ll pick a place to go – maybe Marlborough, Melksham, Cirencester – then just have a good few hours picking stuff up, then once we’ve built it up we’ll do a photo shoot,” describes Steph.
“Then you need to upload the photos, do the blog, keep the marketplace up dated – so it does keep you busy and of a week you’ll end up doing quite a lot.”
Vintage clothing has an increasing presence in much of 2012 pop culture, and Simon and Steph are both aware of the impact this has on their business.
Simon adds: “When I’m looking for clothes I think ‘could I see this in (Channel 4 drama) This is England?’
“If I can imagine one of the characters from that wearing it then I’ll usually go for it.
“He is really good at picking stuff out,” says Steph of her fiancé.
“The thing is, it moves so quickly it is really good to have cultural reference points like ‘This is England’ because it helps sell the clothes.”
Breaking the mould
When Simon announced his fashion sideline to the rest of the Swindon Town squad last year there were more than a few raised eyebrows in the County Ground dressing room – as he describes.
“They all thought I was taking the **** to start with!”
“But I got Tims (ex-Town midfielder Michael Timlin) to model some things, and once the boys saw the website they believed me, and I think they were surprised by how good the stuff was!
And although he hasn’t been able to convince any of his fellow footballers to get the vintage look, it’s not something that’s going to put him off.
“All my pals in Dundee are all in to vintage clothes, but other than that I don’t really know of anyone in football who’s into it really,” he explains.
“Nobody else at the club really likes it. Cal (Callum Kennedy, Town left-back) picks and chooses a few things, but I think he’s just trying to be a bit different!
“I love vintage gear though – I’d rather wear it than trackies, and it looks better than everyone else’s gear anyway!”
After making a blistering start to business, HGASTW now faces greater competition from the ever-increasing number of online vintage clothing outlets, but Simon and Steph are confident their label can continue to thrive.
“It started off brilliantly because there were only about 10 vintage shops on there (ASOS Market Place) but now there are about 200 so it’s really competitive and you have to step up your game,” describes Steph.
“But we’ve got a lot of really good stuff to sell, and hopefully we can carry on doing well out of it."
And the ultimate goal?
“To have an actual vintage shop,” says Steph with a smile.
Simon adds: “Yeah, that would be perfect! Hopefully, when I’ve finished playing we can do that back up in Glasgow, it’d be amazing.
“Or maybe in Dundee. Everyone from Dundee is quite trendy – as you can see.”
Find out more about Haven't Got A Stitch To Wear by visiting their Facebook page here, or by viewing their ASOS Marketplace store here.
You can also follow @HGSTW on Twitter.