| LONDON, April 26
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters Life!) - Seems like everywhere
you look these days, edgy young people are wearing trendy Gio
Goi street gear.
Even James Bond, the suave British agent code-named 007,
was recently spotted donning a track top from the cult
Manchester label. Well, at least Bond star Daniel Craig was.
The Gio Goi label born out of the electronic music scene of
the 1980s and relaunched in 2005, is on a roll, dressing a new
generation of musicians ranging from rock icon Pete Doherty to
hip hop star Mike Skinner from The Streets.
"Sales are going through the roof," Gio Goi co-founder
Anthony Donnelly, 42, told Reuters in an interview at the
label's brand new London offices.
"In the last two years we achieved what it takes other
brands 20 years to do," said brother and co-founder
The Donnellys, who are tight-lipped on specific sales
figures, claim that Gio Goi now ranks among the top three
selling streetwear brands in Britain.
FROM SCRAP TO FASHION
The Donnellys have been in fashion for nearly 20 years.
Their label has its roots in the 'Madchester' band scene of the
late 1980s, that mixed indie rock and dance music.
The brothers, who come from a family in the scrap metal
business -- they joke they were raised in a scrapyard -- hosted
some of the first warehouse parties of the rave culture in
Manchester and London.
With no fashion expertise, they used their street knowledge
and connections in clubland to sell T-shirts to party goers.
"We decided to go into the clothing game. We believed we
had an eye for the ladswear. Our brand has its roots in dance
music and in football," said Christopher.
Soon they were designing clothes for their friends like
Shawn Ryder, singer of The Happy Mondays and dressing British
rockers of that era including Oasis, New Order, and Primal
But the fashion business got tough, at some point there was
litigation with fashion giant Armani over the rights to use the
Gio name, and in the late 1990s Gio Goi stopped trading.
The label was re-launched in 2005 with new investors and
now the brothers are back in business, riding the wave of
guitar rock revival and the blurring frontiers between the
music and the fashion industries.
With a staff of about 30, they moved to a new London office
earlier this year, and the label is now selling in Greece,
Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Benelux. It is also
planning to tackle the United States and Japan soon.
One of their recent coups was making Pete Doherty the front
man of their fashion collection. At first sight it may have
seemed like asking for trouble, but the Donnellys are delighted
they bet on the turbulent rocker.
"We are very proud of what we did with Peter," said
The 28-year-old Babyshambles frontman, who is battling drug
addiction, inspired Gio Goi's 2007 spring and summer
collection, which includes a range of t-shirts featuring
slogans such as 'Drug Free' and 'Too Much Rock and Roll'.
Collaboration with an icon of the new generation of rock
musicians who is also the boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss has
helped Gio Goi capture the market of "indie kids with skinny
pants," said Christopher.
The Donnellys say they were convinced Doherty, formerly of
The Libertines, was right for their rock and roll brand as they
often work with high profile bad boys of the music industry.
"We target rock and roll types. We have always chosen that
route," said Christopher, fondly displaying a framed Union Jack
flag with the motto "The whole world is our playground," a
souvenir of the making of a Babyshambles video.
The Donnellys insist that they did not pay Doherty to wear
their clothes, describing the contract they have with him as a
"We do not pay people to wear our clothes. That's one of
our principles. A lot of people out there like Peter, Mike
Skinner or Kasabian, they like what we are about, they get the
clothes and association with the brand...Peter likes the
clothes and we like him. That's it," said Anthony.
Doherty was on the cover of Vogue International in March,
wearing his own Gio Goi line as well as Dior Homme by French
fashion designer Hedi Slimane, a sign for the Donnellys that
"we were right to do what we did."
Gio Goi is also currently dressing British singer Amy
Winehouse for her world tour with their newly launched ladies