Red or Dead Perfume & Women's Fragrance
Provocative, brave and trendsetting – these words best describe English brand Red or Dead. The company was established out of a vintage clothing stall at Camden market, where founders Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway sold second hand clothes to bargain hunting Londoners in the early 80s. The couple paid a total of £6 for the stall and took home £80 on the first day. This instant success led to their rapid expansion and they soon had a number of their own shops selling vintage and second hand clothing from all over the world. They are credited with making the brand Dr. Martens fashionable which was sold in various trendy designs at Red or Dead stores.
The brand quickly accumulated a celebrity fan base and decided to design their own shoe collection in 1986. The famously chunky and quirky Red or Dead shoes became a huge success and put the company at the forefront of British design. A Red or Dead clothing line was introduced in 1989 with the Space Baby collection which would also mark their runway debut. The brand is known for their extravagant catwalk shows. One of their shows saw models portrayed as crazy house wifes equipped with scissors and knitting needles covered in fake blood. In the 90s Red or Dead kept on provoking with a collection of t-shirts featuring mis-branded and re-invented logos of famous brands. They were awarded British Fashion Council's Street style Designer of the Year three years in a row from 1995 to 1997.
Founder Wayne Andrew Hemingway has been known to renounce the methods of the fashion industry where mark-ups of up to 1,000% are a common practice. He established the company based on the idea of making designer fashion affordable for the masses. Their collections were thus offered at high street brands such as Topshop and Miss Selfridge.
Red or Dead's provocative brand name is inspired by the Cold War saying “better dead than red” and sets the tone for Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway's politically charged designs. This is furthermore reflected in a collaboration with political activist Stanley Green and the infamous Prison Collection manufactured by inmates of a high security unit.
The Hemingways sold their company to the Facia Group in 1995 which went bankrupt only one year later. After the company's redemption by its founders, Red or Dead was acquired by the Pentland Group in 1998 who restructured the brand to appeal to a wider audience. Together with optical retail chain Specsavers, Red or Dead Glasses were launched. The Red or Dead Tattoo Print frame became Specsavers' best selling frame of all time. A Red or Dead footwear collection exclusive to high street retailer Schuh was announced in 2004, followed by a clothing collection available only through BANK fashion in 2009. The brand has also released a Red or Dead bike design in partnership with renowned cycle brand Raleigh. The first Red or Dead fragrance Release Me (2011) is presented in a cute cage design bottle. The scent includes notes of rose, orange blossom, jasmine, plum, coconut, cedar and musk.