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Pretty Green as Oasis: most popular in Italy & Japan

MILAN - The rock star’s Pretty Green brand has swaggered into the menswear market, landing a Drapers Award. But the Oasis frontman is sure it won’t be a one-hit wonder.
I don’t do offices, mate. I’m not Ricky Gervais,” says Liam Gallagher, instantly brushing aside claims by his colleagues that he spends about a day a week in the HQ of Pretty Green, the menswear label he founded 18 months ago (beginning in Milan 21 months ago) and was now named Drapers Menswear Brand of the Year.
Instead, the Oasis frontman and Manchester icon gets involved with the design process at his kitchen table. “Me and [creative director] Nick Holland sit down at my house, and go through fabrics and styles. Nothing goes out unless I approve it,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in clothes, so to own my own label is very special.”
It’s an amusing image - this rock ‘n’ roll bad boy using his hands to finger swatches instead of flicking V signs at the paparazzi - but if Pretty Green chief executive Richard Ralph is to be believed, Gallagher’s “approval” doesn’t quite cover it.
“It’s more collaborative than that. Liam has a very strong sense of style himself,” he says. “Nick is the facilitator if you like. Liam is very meticulous about the details of things: Does the zip look right? Are the buttons right? Are the colours of the buttons right?”
Whoever is responsible - Gallagher, Holland or a harmonious combination of the two - Pretty Green’s sophisticated cut and attention to detail is what makes the label stand out and has silenced the sceptics who assumed Gallagher’s label would be just another in a line of disastrous celebrity-led clothing brands.
Pretty Green’s casualwear sub-brand Green Label is characterised by branded buttons and nods to the 1960s, but its premium sub-brand Black Label is where Holland’s background as a traditional tailor [he founded men’s suiting brand Holland Esquire] really comes into play.
The Drapers Award is a validation of this, says Gallagher. “I’m made up. It makes me feel like we are doing something right.”

Quality counts
Mark Bage, owner of York premium independent Sarah Coggles, which does a brisk trade in the Black Label range, agrees: “It is exceptionally good quality and really well designed. Nick’s
technical expertise means they haven’t gone for standard fit. They’ve really thought about who is wearing it.” According to Bage, Black Label is favoured by “macho” men, whose butch frames don’t necessarily suit the nipped-in waists and genteel styling of Italian labels.
It’s perhaps surprising then that Pretty Green’s best-performing territories outside the UK are Italy and Japan - neither of them known for the butch physiques of their male populations - but according to Ralph, Gallagher’s followers in those countries “are even more committed than in the UK”.
For a rock ‘n’ roll icon, Gallagher took a surprisingly un-rock ‘n’ roll route to launching Pretty Green. He and his long-standing security adviser Steve Allen had been discussing the potential for a clothing line on the 2008 Oasis tour and, when it ended, tapped up former Microsoft executive Nigel Grant to help them raise investment and assemble their dream team.
Holland was hired to focus on the product and Ralph, who as former chief financial officer at IT firm Ubiquity Software Corporation had no experience in fashion but plenty in accounting, was put in charge of steering the ship. Gallagher, who retains a majority stake in the company (the remainder is split between management and unnamed investors), is the frontman.
“It’s been good. Met some nice people, it moves a lot faster than the music,” he says of the transition to fashion.
The plan worked. Pretty Green has turned over about £4m in the 18 months since its launch, smack bang in the middle of the recession, and is currently breaking even. It expects to move into profit next year.
About half of that revenue comes via Pretty Green’s retail website, and the remainder from its wholesale business, which has about 100 UK stockists, including Sarah Coggles and Selfridges, and a further 30 or so overseas.
Pretty Green is also branching into bricks-and-mortar retail. It opened its first pop-up shop on London’s Carnaby Street in July and two more - in Manchester’s King Street and Ingram Street in Glasgow.
Overall, 30% of Pretty Green’s business comes from 80 territories overseas, and that proportion looks set to grow next year as Pretty Green focuses on international expansion. “[I’m after] world domination. I want PG to be global without losing its roots,” says Gallagher.

Big fanbase
Pretty Green may have some way to go in India though. At a recent meeting with Tata - India’s industrial giant which owns everything from department stores to lorry factories - one of the executives confused Pretty Green with fashion’s other PG, and congratulated Ralph on the success of his “Philip Green menswear brand”.
This would be annoying for most menswear brands, but it’s perhaps a mark of success for Pretty Green to have its celebrity associations overlooked.
Gallagher says: “Having me fronting things can go one of two ways. There are people who get me, and there are people that don’t. But the clothes speak for themselves.”
It will be a challenge to manage this balance between the Pretty Green and Gallagher ‘brands’ while chasing growth, but Ralph says the company is committed to a slow and steady approach that will allow this.
This is why, for example, Pretty Green will probably not launch a womenswear collection, as has been widely mooted, until around this time next year.
Says Ralph: “We’ve had discussions but if and when we do [womenswear] it will be a case of moving into it slowly, by doing a capsule collection to start off with. We have great momentum as a brand but it’s very easy to drift off into popular [product] areas and lose your creative direction that way. We are keen to make sure the right time and effort will go into each item.”
The naysayers had better watch out. It turns out that Gallagher, the unlikely fashion mogul, is serious about product and is in it for the long haul.
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Oasisblues copyright © 1994 - 2017

Beady Eye gigography and next tour dates

2000

30 May - Forum, Milan, Italy (the first "Noeless" gig since 1991 when he didn't join Oasis yet)

summer tour without Noel

2003

16 November - Andy Bell unplugged - Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden (bootleg)

2011


3rd & 4th March - Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland +here and here + bootleg
6th & 7th March - O2 Apollo, Manchester +bootleg 1 +bootleg 2
9th & 10th March - Troxy, London +bootleg 1
13 March - Casino de Paris, Paris, france
14 March - E-Werk, Koln, Germany
16 March - Alcatraz, Milan, Italy +dvd bootleg
18 March - La Riviera, Madrid, Spain +bootleg
19 March - Bikini, Toulouse, france
21 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland (bootleg)
22 March - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (bootleg)
14 & 15 April - The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland here a bootleg image
17 April - Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 April - O2 Academy, Newcastle (a photo here)
23 April - Centre, Newport (photo and bootleg)
30 May - Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany
+a photo here + win tickets here
8 June - Saschall, Firenze, Italy +my story here +bootleg here +win tickets here
11th June - Papillons de Nuit Festival, Saint Lo, france
12 June - Isle of Wight festival +story here and here +interview here +videos here +interview and bootleg here
25th June - Theater of Living Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
30 June - Rock Werchter, Belgium (bootleg)
1 July - Main Square Festival, Arras, france +a photo here
7 July - BBK Live Festival, Bilbao, Spain
9 July - Oxegen Festival, Naas, Ireland
26 August - Reading Festival (win tickets) +videos here +review&video here +bootleg here
3 September - AX Hall, Seoul, South Korea
14 September - Twinkle Rock Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
7 October - Atlantico, Rome, Italy +main bootleg here +another bootleg here
+win the concert here
11 October - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland (postponed)
13 October - Gasometer, Vienna, Austria (postponed)
31 October - Theater Caupolican, Santiago, Chile
2 November - Teatro de Verano Ramon Collazo, Montevideo, Uruguay
3 November - Teatro Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 November - Personal Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 November - Planeta Terra festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
14 November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
17 November - O2 Academy Brixton, London
2 December - The Warfield, San Francisco, U.S.A.
3 December - Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, U.S.A. +another complete review here +win tickets here and here
5 December - First Avenue, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
6 December - The Rave Ballroon, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
9 December - Terminal 5, New York, U.S.A.
10 December - House of Blues, Boston, U.S.A.

2012

new tour

2013

3 June - Abbey Road, London (acoustic) +bootleg here
7 June - McClusky's, Kingston (album launch acoustic gig)



8 November - Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland

2014

Noel Gallagher solo gigography, and Low Lying Turds tour dates

(although his blinded fans say he's a "new solo artist", it's 20 years he's around and already played "solo" gigs previously (the first one in 1994), with the help of other people of course, as the Unplugged 1996, the gig for Tibet, the tour in 2006-2007, London, Milan, Manchester, Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Australia, etc.)

2010


25 March - Royal Albert Hall - London

2011


28 November - Alcatraz - Milan, Italy + review here +video bootleg here +audio and video bootleg here

2012


lost interest... even Noel got bored of himself

10 April - Auditorio Banamex - Monterrey, Mexico (cancelled)

END OF THE HIGH FLYING BIRDS

2013

fans leave the gig again and ask for Liam again
..... € 10 = £ 8
 

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