Yesterday, the fashion world woke up on the last day of LFW to the news that legendary stylist, jeweller and designer had passed away, aged 58. The iconic fashion figurehead– best known for his contribution to the alternative art scene during the 80s and 90 — was born in Leatherhead, Surrey in 1960. At the age of 17, the artist ran away from home to Manchester, returning to London two years later to change the world of British fashion as we knew it.
Judy Blame was an active member of the London club scene during the 80s and made friends with Azzedine Alaïa, Leigh Bowery, Princess Julia and Juergen Teller. Judy Blame was renowned for his club night at the gay super-club Heaven called “Cha-Cha”, attended by the likes of American Vogue’s international editor-at-large Hamish Bowles, who remembers the event to ES, saying “You got in through an alley around the back of the club”.
The jeweller was known for his hard edge, punk aesthetic, using materials such as scrap metal and other found objects to create masterpieces. He possessed an innate ability to create something out of nothing, he was able to see the beauty in the rough, making a safety pin something of a desire.
Looking back on his own career just last year in an interview with Stephanie Eckardt for W magazine, Blame talks about his influences, saying “Well, when I first started, I suppose I had a budget thing. We weren’t that rich but we were really creative, so I always used to make things that were accessible to me. That’s what made them different, that I wasn’t always using, say, a traditional jewellery material”.
His punk aesthetic was a huge influence to alternative fashion magazines such as i-D and The Face in the 80s and 90s, working with people such as stylist Ray Petri, Blitz Kid Boy George as well as singers such as Neneh Cherry, Bjork and Kylie Minogue. His designs were worn by Duran Duran and The Transmitters. To date, Judy Blame has worked with some of the most creative minds of our time, such as John Galliano and Rei Kawakubo.
The artist’s death yesterday came as a shock to everyone. Remembering Judy Blame, Editor-in-Chief of GQ Dylan Jones wrote “He was an artist, a genuine one, someone who could cherry pick cultural detritus and then mix it all together to create something new, something lasting”.
Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue and former i-D Fashion Director Edward Enninful who lived with Judy Blame, Nenah Cherry and Michael Boadi at 18, remembers his friend in an article for British Vogue, saying “His constant creativity was just so inspiring – when I lived with him, he’d be doing something every day: sewing buttons onto clothes, making jewellery or scrapbooks – once he made me one, called The Black Book, for my birthday. It was filled with collages of black culture and memorabilia, and I treasure it”.
It is undeniable that Judy Blame has had a giant impact on British fashion, his work looked at the world in a different way, finding beauty in anything, a diamond in the rough.
R.I.P Judy Blame.