Wayne Hemingway’s passion for vintage

Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway.
Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway.

As part of a series celebrating Morecambe’s Finest, the personalities and unsung heroes who make our town great, reporter GREG LAMBERT speaks to Wayne Hemingway, the Morecambe boy made good who is leading a vintage revival in the resort.

“Vintage is a voyage of discovery. Northern Soul music is still brilliant 50 years on. Rock ‘n ‘roll music never dies. Mini skirts are in again now like they were in the 1960s. Punch and Judy still makes kids laugh. Things go around in circles. We’re showing these things to a new generation. Vintage is timeless.”

It’s obvious from Wayne Hemingway’s words that he has a deep love of vintage; a passion for showing how the past can inform the future.

And it’s little wonder, as the award winning designer has himself enjoyed a colourful history.

Morecambe born-Wayne is the son of a wrestling champion and Mohawk Indian chief called Billy Two Rivers, who wrestled at the Winter Gardens. As a child, he remembers his mum Maureen and his Nan dressing him up as Elvis and parading him up and down Morecambe’s piers, and being held aloft in a wrestling ring by his dad.

After moving to Blackburn aged seven, Wayne’s love of music and fashion led him to his childhood sweetheart and future wife Gerardine.

They met at a disco in Burnley and later moved to London, where they set up a vintage clothing stall in Camden Market. Then Wayne and Gerardine founded Red or Dead, building it into one of the biggest fashion brands in the world. They sold the company in 1999 and set up Hemingway Design, which specialises in affordable housing and regeneration but has designed everything from coffee table books to sofas to the staff uniform at McDonalds. Then in 2010, the Hemingways set up their Vintage festivals. Last year, they brought their Hemingway Vintage brand to Morecambe, pulling 7,000 people onto the Promenade for a feast of the best of British 20th century culture centred around the Midland and the Winter Gardens.

The Vintage Festival is set to return as a two-day event on Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 7, and Wayne can’t wait.

“It’s a lot more than double the size of last year’s event, a mixture of free and ticketed elements,” he said. “You can either have a great time on the prom for nothing or pay to go for dinner and dancing.” Tickets for all the paid-for events are already selling strongly. They include a Torch Club night of ‘30s and ‘40s glamour at the Midland, a ‘Soul Casino’ night of Northern Soul at the Winter Gardens, a house music revival night at the Winter Gardens featuring Hacienda DJs, and a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll show at the Platform. Free events include a ’charity shop DJ’ in the Rotunda Bar where guests can choose the records, a Vintage Marketplace of dozens of stalls in the Platform, craft workshops, a street food market, a Lancaster Bomber fly-past,a vintage funfair, even a double decker London bus that doubles as a bar and a dancefloor. “It’s going to be a proper community event and we welcome ideas from anyone who wants to get involved,” said Wayne.

For more information on the Vintage-by-the-Sea weekend go to HERE

We are delighted to announce that in the run up to Vintage-by-the-Sea, Wayne Hemingway will become The Visitor’s new regular columnist. Wayne will bring you his fortnightly thoughts on festival preparations, the regeneration of Morecambe and what’s happening in his own busy life. You can read Wayne’s debut column in The Visitor on Tuesday, June 24.