The original version of the Anglozine Pause windbreaker was inspired by a brand called DMob based on Beak street in the 1980’s. Their jacket was called the XLNT James jacket.
The fascination for this windbreaker started for me when I first saw The Style Council video for “Shout to the top” the bands 1985 charitable pro-miner song. The complete look of the hooded windbreaker, white jeans, loafers and shades is timeless.
The Anglozine version of the windbreaker has been re-worked making it perfect for everyday wear today. Made in north London using British mills (Halley Stevensons or Brisbane Moss; the lining is made in Essex, the PU Canvas printed check panels from Kensal Green in London, close to the McVities factory and depending on the wind you can get a nice waft of digestive biscuits. Even the toggles are British made. The only none UK made components of the windbreaker are the YKK Zip and draw-cords which are both made in Japan.
The original James jackets had an elasticated cuff and zip close pockets and a large woven XLNT patch on the chest. The Pause windbreaker has 2 way front patch pockets, two internal poachers pockets. The rib cuff is concealed giving a cleaner looking sleeve. Colour ways are also a far cry from the bolder XLNT options; the colours are toned down and much easier to wear. One of Dmobs most well documented 1980’s colour ways was bright red with a yellow and black checkerboard, often seen in The Face, Street Sounds or I-D magazine at this time.
Back to the video in 1985 I had a posh pal who lived nearby that had a Beta Max video and we’d watch music videos and study clothing. Pausing a video in 1985 was basically a waste of time- if you were looking to study detail it was like staring into a blizzard.
Living in Birmingham my friends and I would head to town and check out clothing at: The Rag market, Folio 50, 72 Hurst Street, The Razors Edge and London scene labels at Oasis indoor market. I never saw a James jacket. I asked the owners of these emporiums if they could get me one and those that were willing to help told me I’d need to go to The Cavern or other such shops down in London- London at this time was a universe away.
The first time I saw an original was around 1990 at a bostin’ Birmingham club night called the Sensateria a healthy mix of; ravers, swirly mods, art students and members of the band Broadcast. The James jacket was being sported by a great looking girl in what would now be deemed generic 1990’s baggy rave style- the whole look was perfect -an elegant raver. The checkerboard panel cut through the paisley patterned party- pristinely.
I made a beeline for the jacket, both worse for wear and drowned out by the music. We somehow communicated and she informed me that the windbreaker belonged to her older brother hence the baggy look and most disappointingly- the jacket wasn’t for sale.
Unshackled from the mod look her brother undoubtedly flexed 6 years earlier, giving the XLNT a new lease of life in a new scene. I’m not exactly sure of the colour to this day as the lights and projections at The Hummingbird club were full on.
Fast forward to 2017 with time on my hands and new fangled machinery I watched the Shout to the Top video on my laptop and when I paused the clip to work out the pocket placement I noticed a huge jagged gap under Pauls arm! The jacket was possibly not a Dmob XLNT ? perhaps even the coolest band in 1985 couldn’t find one and his stylist and mocked one up for the shoot? Zut Alors!
So for 32 years I’ve been thinking about this jacket and then this happens; I feel for conspiracy theorists now. I’d liken this revelation to JFK experts who learnt that the trajectory of a bullet must have come from a second assassin. There was also a period of relief that Birmingham wasn’t that backwards. My foolish efforts as a teenager hunting one down was virtually nigh on impossible if even The Style Council couldn’t get their mitts on one in the capital.
In 1985 I did manage however to buy the 7 inch record and 12 inch EP. The 7 inch sleeve for Shout to the top had on the reverse:
“Yes! to fanzines………Yes! To belief”
This was my first acknowledgement of the word fanzine and I was turned onto this artistic medium with far more ease than my quest for a James jacket. Without getting too political the sleeve notes from this band and the cyclical nature of the fashion industry; I can feel a good few parallels between Maggie and Mays UK.
The first use of checkerboard panels was unsurprisingly sportswear with 1920’s Jockeys and when horsepower switched to motorsport, the checkerboard banners around the trees of race tracks moved to sleeves and helmet trim on racing drivers. Of course its goes back 1000’s of years, I’ve seen murals in Sicily of Roman emperors sporting checkerboard skirts- I won’t be re-issuing those just yet.
In 1979 the Two Tone record label was set-up by Jerry Dammers. The labels use of checkerboard in black and white was a positive signifier of black and white kids getting on, simple and poignant design.
When I moved down to London in 1992 frequenting: Hyper Hyper, Kensington Market, Flip, Passenger and Duffer St George D’Arbly street I did see some James jackets (Not Dmob I have to say) and the quality was shocking- again I saw it on a skateboarder, his grip tape had torn the right hand side of the hem. The James jacket sightings got so bad as years went on that, versions were hung next to Pink Floyd t-shirts as tourist tat shops in Camden and the like.
I’ve wanted to make an improved version of this style for a very long time. By using a great factory and excellent materials I’m confident I have done the James jacket proud. The Pause windbreaker will be a core style for Anglozine and we’ll be introducing new colours each season in genuinely limited units. As we are all internationalists now the windbreaker can be worn all year round- somewhere.
Most importantly it’s relevant for today and will still look good for another 32 years, for all you skateboard raving mod rude boys and girls!