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Vince Man's Shop Plaque in Newburgh Street


Carnaby hails Vince; the men’s boutique that kick-started Swinging London

Today a green plaque was unveiled at 5 Newburgh Street to pay homage to the revolutionary menswear shop ‘Vince’ that was located at this address from 1954 through the 60s, and is credited with kick-starting the fashion revolution in Carnaby Street.
The plaque was commissioned by Shaftesbury and unveiled by Councillor Robert Davis MBE, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council. Speakers included Brian Bickle Shaftesbury CEO and Tony Glenville, Creative Director at London College of Fashion, who reflected on his experience at the Vince shop.
Vince was the brainchild of Bill Green, a photographer who specialised in homo-erotic portraits of the male physique. He worked under the name of Vince, at a time when homosexuality was still illegal. Green developed the equivalent of the modern day ‘posing pouch’ for his models to wear.
Much like wrestling trunks, the skimpy garments, initially sold by mail order, became a hit with a then predominantly gay and theatrical clientele. That’s when Green moved in to retail. Buying in other clothing from wholesale, Green also designed garments himself – made up by the mini army of tailors in abundance in the surrounding streets. The clothes were described as ‘leisure wear’, with more than a hint to Italian and Continental style, far removed from the boring hum-drum of post War suits that most men wore then.
As a result of his growing reputation for supplying avant garde style, increasing numbers of heterosexual men began to experiment with the new styles, which accentuated the masculine physique. Model and budding young actor, Sean Connery, 007 no less, was one such customer. Peter Sellers, George Melly and Pablo Picasso (who bought a pair of suede trousers) also ‘dug’ the flamboyant looks that Vince was renowned for. Hipster trousers in velvet, coloured denim and floral shirts were a specialty. And all eyes were on London.
Later crowned the King of Carnaby Street, retail supremo John Stephen, also known as the £1 Million Mod, learnt his trade on the shop floor of Vince. With an eye for youth culture, and a customer base including Mod gods the Small Faces, Stephen took what Green started to another level by eventually opening further shops on Carnaby Street. That, as they say, is history.

‘We are proud to create a legacy piece for this revolutionary fashion retailer. We wanted to document the importance of the Vince shop, and its place in Carnaby’s colourful and vibrant history’. Karen Baines, Head of Group Marketing and Communications, Shaftesbury

For more information please contact Kay Copeland at Sister London / 020 7287 9601


The plaque is a green Westminster City Plaque.
Cllr Robert Davies MBE, deputy leader of Westminster City Council will unveil the plaque at 12.30pm on 9th November 2016.
The original Vince Man’s shop was located at 5 Newburgh Street, very close to Marshall Street Public Baths, which was a well known and popular meeting place for gay men.

Carnaby is in the heart of London’s West End, situated between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus tube stations. A step away from Oxford Street and Regent Street – an iconic experiential shopping and dining destination with over 150 brands made up of concepts, flagships and independents; with over 60 of these being F&B tenants. The area is made up of 13 streets, including the world famous Carnaby Street.

Shaftesbury is a Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns a unique real estate portfolio extending to 14 acres in the heart of London's West End - a highly popular, sought-after and prosperous location. Shaftesbury focuses on retail, restaurants and leisure in the liveliest parts of the West End. The portfolio comprises 589 shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs, extending to 1 million sq. ft., 406,000 sq. ft. of offices and 539 apartments. Its proven long-term management strategy is to create and foster distinctive, attractive and prosperous locations. Its holdings are concentrated in Carnaby, Seven Dials, Covent Garden, Chinatown, Soho and Charlotte Street.