Soul of the UK: Jazzie B of Soul II Soul launches Classic Collection line for Harvey Nichols

The DJ, producer and face of the iconic Soul II Soul movement – Jazzie B – has launched his clothing line The Classics Collection at Harvey Nichols this month.

Jazzie B in Harvey Nichols launching The Classics Collection. Photo: Supersleen instagram
Jazzie B in Harvey Nichols launching The Classics Collection. Photo: Supersleen instagram

The Leeds store’s first floor became a reinvention of Soul II Soul’s Camden clothes store (in the 80s and 90s) on Thursday evening, with retro posters and vinyl trinkets from the group’s archive. The loveable funk-master’s infamous voice richly filled the room as he cracked jokes and he was very approachable in-between his DJ set, laughing with fans and taking photos.

Lloyd Bradley, author of Bass Culture was on hand to host a Q & A session. He began by noting the super-producer’s backwards route of beginning his career with a fashion-line and then moving in to music.

Jazzie B is proud to fly the flag for Britain: The Soul ll Soul T-shirts were handmade with British materials. Photo: Harvey Nichols
Jazzie B is proud to fly the flag for Britain: The Soul II Soul clothes were handmade in Britain. Photo: Harvey Nichols

The Funki Dred logo which dons the clothes is drawn by illustrator Derek Yates – and the original T-shirts were sold as the group began gaining momentum. Jazzie B explained that the idea behind Funki Dred (and Soul II Soul) was the community idea being inclusive and affirming a British identity.

In connection with that – comics – which were always a part of the Soul II Soul brand were also given out during the evening. Jazzie said: “The idea was we came from a planet called Ard, and we were sent to the earth as pleasure-givers, to put on parties and get into the funk.

He continued about the group’s mission: “We wanted to have the biggest sound-system in the world with our own followers that were inclusive, not exclusive – because growing up at that time (60s and 70s), we didn’t have a group to connect with. The mods didn’t want to know us, nor did the teddy boys. We were only accepted by the skinheads and punks.”

He set-up the story about the humble beginnings of the Soul II Soul style of life which begun around 25 years ago – how his technicality as a sound-man mixed with his street-wise ways landed him a record contract.

And Jazzie B was sincere in his affirmation of Britain being a land of opportunity and  his appreciation of Harvey Nichols – who being a window of that mentality- would celebrate Soul II Soul’s  history and impact.

To see more of The Classics Collection available to buy from Harvey Nichols which begin at £45, click here and follow Jazzie B on Twitter here.

Soul II Soul Club Classics Vol.1: The multi-platinum debut in 1989 includes Keep on Movin and Back to Life (However Do You Want Me). It introduced people to bass heavy dance music in an irresistable way and carved a British movement identity. Photo: Discogs
Soul II Soul Club Classics Vol.1: The multi-platinum debut in 1989 includes Keep on Movin and Back to Life (However Do You Want Me). It introduced people to bass heavy dance music in an irresistable way and created a British movement. Photo: Discogs
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