Who are Weekend Offender?
Weekend Offender was started in 2004 by Sam Jones and Rhydian Powell in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (about 23 miles north of Cardiff). Sam (from Swansea Road) owned a fashion store called A2 Clothing in Merthyr City Center. Rhydian came from Pant on the Shropshire border and studied Graphic Design. Together they started off basic publishing t-shirts based on 80’s and 90’s youth culture.
Through the shop, Sam would visit fashion sales agent Adam Keyte of Four Six Four Agencies and they bonded over their mutual love for Ibiza, mod fashion and retro brands Fila, Ellesse and Sergio Tacchini. Adam mentioned an idea for printing old newspaper covers depicting the acid house rave scene as horror youth culture, Sam mentioned Weekend Offender, and a few months later that range of 8 tees rolled out to a handful of select stores with limited success. The guys agreed they didn’t have the experience to run a brand and put it on the back burner.
It was a rebirth in 2009 that changed their fortunes. Full of ideas and more experienced, they just needed financial backing. Enter Aaron Thalmann who had just sold his brand Golddigga to Mike Ashley of Sports Direct. The ex-punk loved the vibe of the brand and their ideas, and together they created Eighty8 Ltd which still owns Weekend Offender to this day. They set up their social accounts and the website weekendoffender.com and had a clear message:
We are scaffolders, we are accountants, we are nurses, we work in Burger King, we build your houses, we teach your children, we serve you fries with that. We wait in the same spot to get the same train at the same time to sit in the same seat. At the weekend the chains are off. We become who we are, who we want to be. Who we wish we were. We’re are 48 hour party people. We separate ourselves from you. We drink, we smoke, we fight, we fuck, we get the bus home in the morning. …we are Weekend Offender Born in the mid noughties Weekend Offender is fast becoming one of the most exciting urban fashion labels in the UK. It is a label with attitude taking its influences from music, film, fun and a range of subcultures, such as terrace casuals and the acid house scene. Original, inspirational and often controversial Weekend Offender is a bright new light in an increasingly bland corporate market. Mike Skinner, Carl Cox, Nic Fanciulli, Louis Osbourne and Goldielocks, to name a few are all championing the brand, and the T’s have been spotted on the backs of the DJ’s and clubbers all summer long in Eivissa hottest venues and UK clubs and festivals. 2010 sees the brand moves on from its original roots in graphic tees by adding classic polo’s, cagoules and track tops all the with the now trademark Weekend Offender twist.
They wanted a fashion brand to represent the younger generation of men in their teens to late 20’s. The clothing was designed to be functional and stylish, suitable for the football terraces and the subsequent pubs and clubs afterwards. The original collections were mostly knitwear and coats, an intentional ploy to get the brand seen and recognisable, with polo shirts a fast-follower. The ranges were original, with a focus on quality design and functionality, and more than a nod to popular culture including the rave scene and movie lines. The sub-brand Rogue features a spin on Vogue magazine covers. A clothing brand relying on and making a success of offensive fashion.
What launched the brand globally was the financial might and industry know-how to get featured in Maxim, Nuts and FHM to get right to their target audience. They used Social media and footballers like Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Ramsey, and DJ’s like Brandon Block. The opened another shop in Soho with live decks and even Samuel L Jackson has walked in the famous doors.
A twist on the Official Prison Agency logo saw Government security for misuse and claims it glamorises crime and anti-social behaviour. The phrase Weekend Offender suggests Friday or Saturday nights of drink-fuelled crime and bad behaviour. Something the HMP didn’t appreciate being associated with.