Legend has it that West Ham fans approached Lilywhites to ask if their club colours could be added to the classic Fred Perry M12 polo shirt. Since it’s release in 1957, fans had been tipping their own at home for years. Lilywhites, spotting the opportunity staring them in the face, got on the phone to the brand and suggested that they should probably look into releasing a shirt featuring West Ham colours…
The white / ice / maroon M12, one of the first Fred Perry shirts to sport the twin tipping, has been a part of fans’ wardrobe ever since. Designed with a straight fit and made from their signature cotton piqué, what started as tennis attire soon flooded the terraces, with fans from other clubs scrambling to get the colourways which best represented their team’s colours.
So, to celebrate a design classic steeped in football history, Fred Perry is taking over iconic West Ham pre-game spot Ken’s Cafe on Green Street, just a stone’s throw from where the Boleyn Ground once stood. Of course, the stadium is now fancy flats, but the area still features references everywhere to the club that grew up on its doorstep. While many things have changed Ken’s Cafe remains the same: a time-capsule, a nice place to get a cup of tea while Carol behind the counter gives you some lip, and you can sit there and pretend it’s 1993 all over again, the Hammers finally back in the big time after a few years away, Julian Dicks and the boys taking the club to the heady heights of thirteenth in the league. Back where they belong.
The Fred Perry M12 installation at Ken’s Cafe runs from Sunday September 23rd to Sunday October 6th – What better place to celebrate a design classic?