On the final day of London Fashion Week’s AW18 shows, the industry woke up to the news that legendary art director, stylist and accessories designer Judy Blame has died, aged 58.
Born in Leatherhead in 1960, Blame ran away from home at 17 destined for Manchester, where he forged friendships with Peter Saville, members of the Buzzcocks and radical artist Linder Sterling. He later relocated to London where he became a key figure on the club scene of the 1980s.
Famed for his acerbic wit and avant-garde, punk-inspired aesthetic, Blame and the capital’s luminous clubkids – Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Princess Julia and Buffalo's Ray Petri among them – shaped the face of alternative fashion during the time, infusing the city's nightlife with a vibrancy that has rarely been seen since. Lending his visionary talent to the pages of i-D and The Face, Blame simultaneously ran infamous Heaven club night Cha-Chas alongside hairdresser Scarlett Cannon, and founded craft collective The House of Beauty and Culture in East London’s Dalston.
Later in his career, Blame collaborated with a long list of designers, musicians and artists, including John Galliano, Gareth Pugh, Rei Kawakubo, Kim Jones, Björk and Neneh Cherry, and in 2016, held his first solo exhibition, Judy Blame: Never Again, at the ICA. A subversive look at his work and its myriad influences, the exhibition demonstrated his wild talent and a fascinating life led.
In 2015, speaking in an interview with Reba Maybury’s Radical People, Blame reflected on what ‘being radical’ meant to him later in his life: “After years of troublemaking, drug-taking and experimenting with every part of my life, it seems the most radical thing you can do today is to care for yourself and other people!” Fitting words to live by from one of the most original creative minds of our time.