The City Talking: Fashion, Vol. 2

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soul ii soul classics collection launch @ harvey nichols

soul ii soul classics collection launch @ harvey nichols


On Thursday we hit the launch of Jazzie B’s new Soul II Soul Classics Collection at Harvey Nichols. Before the launch we caught up with Jazzie to find out more about the inspiration behind the new collection, the Funki Dred story, music and his Leeds roots.

Hiya Jazzie, it’s great to have you up here in
Leeds. So your new collection is now in Harvey Nichols, what was the thinking behind

My new collection started off back in the 80’s; my clothes
came out before the music, but sods law the music kicked off and bang went the

But, you know, the real emphasis on the t-shirts actually
started from me doing the club. The punters need to identify with who was
running the clubs so we made all our crew wear the t-shirts.

With the new collection we have used the same designs from the 80s but used different fabrics and different materials. And if we were going to revamp it then it has to be something special and it doesn’t come much more commercially special than Harvey Nicks.

The materials we are using include everything from bamboo to various cottons and everything from Rhinestone to Swarovski crystals.

Who is behind the Funki Dred design?

The illustrator is Derek Yates, a school friend. The idea
was born out of a cartoon we came up with at school; The Funki Dreds are from
the planet Ard, sent down to earth as pleasure givers to fight against enemies who
were trying to destroy all the platforms and art forms of music and pleasure
giving. We were sent down to save the world and give pleasure. That was from our school days.

Who is the collection aimed at?

The collection is aimed at everyone with a happy face!

Your fave piece?

The original Funki Dred head.

How do music and fashion work together, does one inspire the

Definitely. Soul II Soul is an amalgamation of music and
fashion. They go hand in hand.

How has your style developed over the years?

I’m still the same just a bit older and a bit fatter!

Are you enjoying your time in Leeds?


I would love to be up in the cultural centre in Chapeltown
but maybe some of them will come down and visit us here. It’s just
good to be up north and out of the sticks. I’ve got fond memories of Leeds.

Such as?

The West Indian Centre. I’ve got a lot of family up here in
Chapeltown. I used to play up here. Did that for years.
One of the things I love about coming up north is that sense of the community.
I miss that. My family is here. AUNTY EDNA!

What do you think of the UK music scene today?

It’s amazing, it’s AMAZING, so much that the Americans are now pirating what people are doing in Hackney, and in little pockets from
Manchester, Leeds, places like these. So it’s on the map so I’m very happy about
that. When Soul II Soul came out people couldn’t tell where we were from, they thought
we were American, which was one of the nicer things but it was even better when
it hit them between the eyes that were from just around the corner.

I’ve just come back from Australia and the music scene is strong
there. It’s strong in Japan, strong in Europe, really strong in the Americas, not
just peripheral America, but in the Mid West too. It’s going down, it’s fantastic.

And what’s the future for you? More fashion led or more
music led?

The future for Soul II Soul is a happy face, a thumpin’ bass, for a loving race… watch this space!