INTERVIEW: Leon, a vintage legend.
Leon Herbert is a UK based Actor, model, designer and vintage icon. He has written 11 feature film screenplays and directed several theatre productions. Leon is a true vintage fashion advocate, known as ‘the best dressed guy on the soul scene’.
Why are you so passionate about vintage clothing?
In the early 1970's, when I was around 15 years old, most people were into flares and flower power, but on the underground scene it was very different. Heavy influences came from the gay community who were extremely creative in the way they dressed, which was vintage. In and around the clubs, vintage clothes were considered high fashion especially around models and celebrities.
My introduction to vintage came when a friend of mine called Ronnie Archer Morgan, who was a DJ in some of the best gays clubs decided I needed a new outfit after a night of partying. It was an early Saturday morning and Ronnie took me to Portobello Road. I couldn't believe my eyes, the streets were lined with so many clothes, antiques and funky people. I instantly loved it. For a few pounds I could buy so many outfits - suits from the 30's, 40's, 50's (which I would take home to my mother to alter) grandad style shirts, amazing shoes and list goes on.
That one Saturday morning changed my life forever and I am very thankful to Ronnie.
Vintage clothes have continued to inspire me throughout the decades and once upon a time, people used to say I was the best dressed guy on the soul scene, which was extremely flattering. I didn't just wear the vintage clothes, I altered them and added to them, putting my stamp on them. To this day, I my wardrobe consists heavily of vintage finds, my own designs and reborn vintage, where I have copied the pattern and updated it.
So in answer to your question, I love Vintage because of the unique classic designs (the cut and the quality of the fabric), but mainly because the pieces represent individuality and happy memories from such important decades of style in our history.
Who inspires you?
There are quite a few people really. I am a 70s baby, so a lot of soul singers have inspired me, as music and dancing have been my life. It fed our souls with style and I loved artists like Sly and the family stone, Earth Wind and Fire, Curtis Mayfield, Donald Byrd, Isaac Hayes, Shaft etc.
3 best vintage shops in the UK?1. Beyond Retro (of course)
2. Hunky dory (Brick Lane, London)
3. Vintage festivals, Kings Cross and flee markets around the country.
3 best vintage shops abroad?1. Thailand - Chatuchak market vintage section
2. Amsterdam - Rumors and many more
3. Paris - Mamie Blue and many more
I always find the time to check out vintage shops abroad!
What would you never leave the house without?
I would never leave home without one of my hats, as its the finishing touch to an outfit.
My favourite hats are:
The Cloven Hoof (Felt 1920's Cowboy Hat/ Humburg) - My collection
Sharpeye (Long rider - Camel, Alpaca Wood felt)
What are you most excited about in 2023?
Getting a part in Dune 2, which comes out in November 2023. I was so happy to be a part of this project as Dune is one of my favourite films and getting to work with Denis Villeneuve was an amazing experience