Joe Browns likes to explore the world and then bring it all back to its Yorkshire home.
This is a fashion brand that epitomises a free spirited approach to life. Its clothes offer eye-poppingly bright colours, with prints ranging from ditsy to riotous, in versatile shapes and easy-breezy fabrics, given interest with quirky design details and a retro meets boho vibe – all blending together to create pieces that look and feel effortless, borderless, ageless and timeless.
Its latest fashion shoot took place in February in Lanzarote. The team of 12 included four models, marketing director Tracey Hepton, marketing campaign manager Loz Hardaker, head of creative Rich Olsen, photographer Kevin Peschke, two digital assistants, a videographer and a hair and make-up stylist.
The crew travelled from the company headquarters in Leeds to an eco-lodge hidden away in a small village called Arrieta, where they stayed in yurts, which also doubled as shoot locations, as did the resort’s cool, secluded pool where they shot the swimwear collection.
Tracey says: “This was also close to Famara Beach, where we got some great shots of the models on the promenade and the crew enjoyed lots of great, fresh seafood (as well as sampling a bit of the local wine).”
On the final day of shooting the team hired a whale watching boat and sailed along the south coast of the island.
“We were especially pleased with how great the shots looked on the boat, bearing in mind every single one of the models was incredibly sea sick,” says Tracey. “The water was really choppy and the make-up artist had her work cut out making sure the models didn’t look green in the photos.”
The result is the images featured here, showcasing the distinctive and wearable clothes that have made Joe Browns a successful fashion phenomenon.
The story started back in 1998 when Simon Brown founded Joe Browns in Farsley, Leeds. He had been working for his family clothing business in Bramley, HE and FJ Brown, established in 1911 by his great grandfather (some of its employees are now among the 120 or so working at Joe Browns HQ and warehousing operation in Holbeck), but hit upon the idea for a new brand while on holiday in Wales, after noting the carefree look and attitude of a group of young surfer types at a beach resort.
Simon himself had been an enthusiastic backpacker, and adventure continues to be part of his life, especially riding his motorbikes across Europe and Yorkshire, often to be found on the road from his home in Menston to Devil’s Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale. He and his wife, Mandie (they have two grown-up children), also like to travel on their bikes around Europe, with no particular destination planned.
These days, Joe Browns is a major e-tailer and mail order company. Last year, Simon was granted a lifetime achievement award at the ECMOD Direct Commerce Awards. Previous winners include Johnnie Boden of Boden, Fran Cotton of Cotton Traders and Chrissie Rucker of The White Company.
The menswear is inspired by “beats, bikes and boards” and shirts typically cost between £29 and £40. Manufacture is in India, China, Turkey and Italy. As well as its own website, Joe Browns can be bought through Lipsy, SimplyBe, Marisota, Jacamo, Debenhams, Freemans, Very, Littlewoods and Grattan, and is frequently the number one brand.
And now the fashion shoots are proving to be as inspirational as the clothes.
“We love it when we can be spontaneous on the shoots, and a lot of the outtakes, where the models have burst out laughing, have made some fantastic shots that we’ll definitely use,” says Tracey. “The pictures look amazing and really capture the fun, liberated and adventurous essence of Joe Browns.”
See more pictures from Lanzarote and the full summer collection at www.joebrowns.co.uk.