Did you help ‘Make’ fashion brand a success?

Published Friday 24 March 2017 at 11:17

Director of the upcoming National Festival of Making, Wayne Hemingway MBE, is calling for locals who helped launch his fashion career to take part in a reunion.

The design guru and his creative partner and wife Gerardine Hemingway have revealed rarely seen archive photos for Red for Dead, the fashion brand that made their name.

The move is an attempt to kickstart a search for the seamstresses, shop assistants and models that built the brand in its early days.

In spring 1983 the fledgling clothing label hosted its first fashion show in Blackburn well ahead of their first London Fashion Week show and achieving worldwide acclaim.

The photos are of their first collection showcase at the Fleming Square Club in Blackburn town centre.

The Hemingway’s eighteen year reign at the helm of the often controversial Red or Dead label, began after the couple returned from their London market stall to set up a factory in the now-demolished Roe Lee Mill and open the first Red or Dead Shop on Town Hall Street.

In an appeal to people who may recognise themselves in the photos, worked in the factory or shop who know someone who does Wayne said:

My memories of starting out in Blackburn revive the exciting feeling of knowing that you’re setting out on an adventure and our adventure still hasn’t come to an end well into our fourth decade after starting out.

These photographs show how we began, with almost nothing but enthusiasm, belief and the support of the people around us. As it was my mum that recruited our staff and models assisted by Gerardine’s sister, Frances, both Gerardine and I are unsure of many of their names after all these years, but we valued the role they played.

It is hoped that anyone who gets in touch will be able to attend a reunion at The Festival of Making taking place in Blackburn Town Centre on Saturday 6-7 May.

The festival funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, will turn Blackburn into a hotbed of creativity with ‘Making’ inspired workshops, performances and exhibitions.

For more information visit or

If anyone who worked with the Hemingways in 1983 recognises themselves, or friends or relatives leave a comment via Facebook or contact with the word ‘Red or Dead Reunion’ in the subject line.




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