Mr Freedom was one of the fashion ventures of Tommy Roberts. Roberts was born in Deptford, South-East London and went on to become one of the in-crowd of swinging 1960s London. He opened his first shop – a unisex boutique called Kleptomania – in Carnaby Street in 1966 and specialized in selling vintage clothes and Indian fashions. He remembers the confusion and shock to the older generation caused by fashion, noting that men grew their hair slightly longer than the norm and “Mothers used to cry and make their sons wear hairnets to the office”.
In 1969 he moved to 430 Kings Road with Trevor Miles and launched a fashion and furniture shop called Mr Freedom. It was the antithesis of hippie fashion which was built around a hard-edged, pop inspired look full of bright, bold, blocks of colour. Amongst the items on sale there were pop-art items designed by Jim Dines and furniture designed by the Yorkshire born architect and interior designer Jon Wealleans who was a graduate of the Royal College of Art. These particular styles were very popular amongst clients such as Pablo Picasso and the Rolling Stones.
Tommy Roberts moved to a bigger and better shop in Kensington, called City Lights, leaving Trevor Miles to turn 430 Kings Road into a shop called Paradise Garage and fill it with dungarees and Hawaiian shirts. Paradise Garage itself ended unceremoniously when Trevor Miles went away on an extended break, leaving Bradley Mendelson in charge. Unknown to the owner, Bradley struck a deal with Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McLaren and their art-school friend Patrick Casey who took over the back part of the store where they would sell radios, records and clothes. They were thrown out when Trevor Miles returned, but they were already so popular he ended up turning the premises over to them.
Tommy Roberts then joined up with the singer from the group Syn, Stephen Nardelli (after Syn disbanded he’d opened a fashion boutique in Kensington Church Street, and went on to jointly own a chain of fashion stores in Chelsea and Kensington with Ian Ross) to launch Fresh Records through WEA.
Written by premierludwig