Photography by Curtis Gibson
A Child Of The Jago is the title and subject of Arthur Morrison’s book first published in 1896 to much uproar in Victorian Britain for exposing the desperation and depravity existing in the Jago slum of Shoreditch. The Jago existed on Old Nichol Street (Old Nick being an affectionate term for the Devil himself) and what is now Arnold Circus, which is a stone’s throw from our first landmark shop, now closed, on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Holywell Lane. Our unique London shop has since relocated to Charing Cross Road in the West End. Morrison’s story centres on the life of a boy, Dickie Perrott, and his desire and attempts to escape the hand he had been dealt. This was a time when you knew who people were by how they dressed. Where people were not so consumed by fitting in but rather by standing out! and quality was widely understood.
Since it’s launch in 2008 A Child Of The Jago has continued to champion, create and produce small runs of fine quality clothing. Often searching out and using up obsolete and end of line cloths from British mills and passing the price benefit of purchasing in this way on to the customer. All our garments are made in the UK, many of them in our own Clerkenwell workshop. Styles are inspired by our heroes like the jacket that Chief Red Cloud took from the battlefield, or Isambard Kingdom Brunel wore whilst engineering the Industrial Revolution, what Billy Fury wore when he melted a thousand hearts, or the shirt on Jack Sheppard’s back when he mounted the scaffold in 1724.
Since our inception our philosophy has been to provide an antidote or ‘anti brand’ if you like, to the branded juggernaut of mass-produced fashion and sterile clothing that pollutes our environment and our minds.
Jack Sheppard was the infamous London footpad, house-breaker and prison breaker who spectacularly escaped from Newgate Gaol twice, lastly after having been clamped in irons, fetters and being stapled to the floor in the centre of his cell. He was finally caught (by way of an informant) dressed in a handsome black suit with a gold watch that he had robbed from a pawnbroker’s house in Drury Lane on the night of his escape.
On 16th November 1724 he was taken to the infamous Tyburn Tree to be executed by hanging. The largest ever public turnout of spectators and supporters (over 200,000 people , one third of Londons population at the time) came to see Jack meet his fate on the scaffold.
Jack Sheppard by A Child Of The Jago looks at an alternative British tradition. We take the cloths of Tweed, Moleskin, Covert, Melton and Wax Cottons that have all stood the test of time and we reclaim the ownership rights, away from the mundane uniforms of the country estate or city commuter and into the realms of the High pad, Poacher and Pirate.