HemingwayDesign has grown into an award-winning creative agency, which originally sprouted from a globally-acclaimed fashion brand that was founded on a market stall in Camden by two young lovebirds who had no idea what they were about to embark on. It’s a tale of unquestionable talent, a good dose of determination and just a sprinkling of ‘right time, right place’, and to tell it in its entirety, it’s best to start right at the beginning. Join us for a trip down memory lane – first stop, Morecambe.
It all begins with Wayne and Gerardine, HemingwayDesign’s founders. He was born in Morecambe, Lancashire; she was born 50 miles south in Padiham. They were yet to realise the significance of each other’s existence.
England win the World Cup. This has no bearing on HemingwayDesign’s trajectory, but we like to celebrate this at any opportunity. (4-2!)
Punk happened. 15-year-old Wayne loved every minute of it.
Wayne and Gerardine finally meet at Angels Disco in Burnley. Love quickly blossoms.
Now living together in London, Wayne blows their rent money on his band. The pair empty their wardrobes onto a small market stall in Camden and are soon inundated with punters. By the end of the year, they’ve got 16 stalls across London, with shipments of second-hand clothing and footwear being brought in from all over the world.
An outlet in Kensington opens selling Gerardine’s designed and self-made clothes, stitched from fabric remnants she bought in Blackburn Market. The debut Red or Dead collection, inspired by Russian peasant clothing, is an immediate success and a large order comes in from US department store, Macy’s. A small production unit and Red or Dead shop open in Blackburn, Lancashire. Red or Dead becomes the first ever retailer to sell Dr Martens as a fashion item.
Footwear becomes a major force at Red or Dead; at first old stock of 1950s and 1960s canvas, then canvas is brought in from the Far East.
Stores open in Camden and Manchester, stocked with a mixture of early Red or Dead clothing, second-hand clothing, retro canvas and Dr Martens.
The first Hemingway child is born. They named him Jack. Stores open in London Soho, selling the first Red or Dead footwear range.
Tilly Hemingway makes her appearance. A store opens in Neal Street, Covent Garden. There are regular queues outside shop due to the success of the ‘Watch Shoe’, as sported by teen band Bros.
The business expands and a design team begins to takes shape.
Red or Dead’s first catwalk collection, ‘Space Baby’ for spring/summer 1990, is shown to worldwide acclaim.
Corey Hemingway is born. Autumn/winter 1990 collection ‘Animals’ launches. The Space Baby wedding dress is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Stores open in Copenhagen, Birmingham and London Kensington. SS91 ‘Shopping’ and AW91 ‘Liberace’ collections are shown.
Store opens in Leeds. Work begins on the concept Dr Martens clothing and accessories. Collections include SS92 ‘Mad in Britain’ and AW92 ‘Spy’.
Further UK stores open, including Thomas Neals in Covent Garden. The Hemingways sign a contract to become the first designer shoe company to advise Marks and Spencer. SS93 ‘Russian Doll’ and AW93 ‘Skeleton’ collections show.
Store opens in Tokyo. Launch of Dead Basic Diffusion range. SS94 ‘Sunflower’ and AW94 ‘Keyhole’ collections hit the catwalk. The long-term relationship with both R Griggs Group and Dr Martens results in the Hemingway-instigated Dr Martens Department Store opening in Convent Garden.
Red or Dead win the The British Fashion Council’s inaugural Street Style of the Year award. Wayne and Gerardine sell to Facia Group. Collections include SS95 ‘Butterfly’ and AW95 ‘Ski’.
Facia collapses. Wayne and Gerardine buy back Red or Dead in a joint venture with the Pentland Group. They win Street Style of the Year Award for the second time. SS96 ‘New York Dolls’ and AW96 ‘Ism’ launch.
Beck Hemingway is born. Red or Dead wins Street Style of the Year for a third time running. SS97 collection is ‘Indian Summer’, AW97 is ‘Geography Teacher’.
Stores open in Prague and Tokyo. SS98 ‘Beautiful Freaks’ and AW98 ‘A Road Movie Across the States’ collections launch.
The Hemingways sell the majority of their remaining shares and step back from day-to-day involvement with Red or Dead.
HemingwayDesign is founded. First project: a collaboration with Milliken on a range of flooring known as Comfortable Concrete.
Wayne and Gerardine dip their toes into housing design with the major commercial building project for The Institute of Directors, and the groundbreaking design is opened by Tony Blair. The wallpaper range ‘4Walls’ is designed for Graham & Brown.
Wayne celebrates his expansive art collection in the self-authored art book Just Above The Mantelpiece.
Phase 1 of The Staiths, HemingwayDesign’s mass-market housing development with Wimpey Homes, opens and wins Best Large Scale Housing Development of the Year.
Wayne becomes a professor of Urban Design at Northumbria Uni.
The Hemingways partner with renowned collector Stella Hall and their various collections of British popular artifacts are housed in the The Land of Lost Content museum in Shropshire. Together with Copeland and West Lands Councils, the team work on ‘visions for the future’ for Whitehaven and Skelmersdale.
HemingwayDesign create the wall tile range Wet Tiles in collaboration with British Ceramic Tiles. The award-winning Birchin key worker apartment building in Manchester's Northern Quarter, built in conjunction with Dwell, opens. The brand Shack Up launches. Gerardine becomes a Doctor of Design at Plymouth University, and both Wayne and Gerardine are awarded MBEs for their services to design.
The Hemingway team research and develop a new festival concept: The Vintage Festival. The range of wall murals with SurfaceView hits the shelves.
Gerardine and Wayne receive honorary doctorates from both Lancaster and Stafford universities. Work starts on two social housing regeneration schemes: Evenlode in Maidenhead and Walton Court in Aylesbury.
Wayne and Jack Hemingway’s ‘This is Sculpture’ exhibition opens at Tate Liverpool and becomes The Tate’s longest-running installation. Wayne is elected a London Leader as part of the Boris Johnson-led London Sustainability Commission and assumes the inaugural chair of The South Coast Design Forum. The first KiosKiosK starter unit is placed outside the GLA. Wayne instigates the creative start-up initiative ‘Starter for Ten’ in Gateshead, which results in The Shed, a Council initiative which provides rent and rate-free workspace to creative businesses. The Boscombe Overstrand regeneration project launches and goes on to win Best Regeneration Led Scheme. Gerardine wins silver medal at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show for her garden for Gateshead Council. Wayne is nominated for Prince Phillip Designer of Year Award. Work begins on the social housing regeneration scheme Hillington Square in Kings Lynn.
The first Vintage Festival takes place on The Sussex Downs, a colossal 50,000 people attend and the event is voted Best New Festival at the 2010 Festival awards. The HemingwayDesign team upcycle a shipping container into a mobile sampling unit for Cafe Direct. Design projects for Sky and Sainsbury's are completed.
The second Vintage Festival shifts venue to London’s Southbank Centre and proves to be Southbank’s busiest weekend of the summer. HemingwayDesign curate the Museum of 51 as part of the Festival of Britain 60th Anniversary Celebrations. The Vintage paint range launches in conjunction with Crown Paints. Wayne joins the board of trustees for Design Council and DC CABE. Projects with Coca Cola, Tanqueray, Butlins and Nat Mags are completed. The team design the new McDonald’s staff uniform to be launched at the 2012 Olympics, which will be rolled out to over 100,000 employees.
The Vintage Festival has its finest hour yet: the Vintage Guild weekend at Preston Guild 2012 draws in over 150,000 attendees. The Hemingway team co-curate the official Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant Festival in Battersea Park and 60,000 tickets are sold. Following Museum of 51’s success the previous year, Southbank bring HemingwayDesign back first to work on The Festival of The World, then to host A Vintage New Year’s Eve. Plus, a whole raft of design collaborations come to market, including collaborations with G Plan, Antler Luggage, Hush Puppies and John Lewis begin stocking Hemingway and Vintage products across six departments.
HemingwayDesign curates Southbank Centre’s Beanotown, a summer-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Beano. Vintage By The Sea takes Morecambe by storm and attracts over 7,000 visitors. The Vintage Festival at the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow is a great hit, and A Vintage New Year’s Eve rocks around the clock at Southbank for a second year.
Vintage By The Sea
and A Vintage New Year’s Eve both continue to grow in success. The first phase of Hillingdon Square housing project opens. Work begins on the £30m regeneration of Dreamland, Margate, with HemingwayDesign at the creative helm.
A Vintage New Year’s Eve returns to Southbank for a fourth year and Dreamland re-opens its hallowed gates to the public following its incredible restoration. The Festival of Thrift wins National Ethical Award at the Observer Ethical Awards. The Hemingway designed London Transport uniform rolls out across the network and the affordable housing scheme, Evenlode completes and The Classic Car Boot Sale gets off to a wonderful start in its new Kings Cross home. 

Subscribe to the Hemingway Design Newsletter