If you ask Blondey McCoy what he does, be prepared for it to take a while. ‘I used to tell people that I skateboard, I make art and I make clothes from the art, and I design, and sometimes I model for things,’ he says. ‘And I could see them thinking: “Oh god, do you do any of them very well?”’ Now he keeps it more straightforward: he’s an artist, first and foremost. So we asked him to share the people, places and moments that have shaped his outlook. Photography Bibi Cornejo Borthwick. Styling Max Clark. Above: Blondey wears Raf Simons.
Until then, I had been obsessed with skateboarding, but unaware that it existed in England, let alone in London. I was just studying footage from Los Angeles and New York. And the people that I met there – it’s a bit like going to the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel during Oscar season. Everybody is there. All of these skateboarding legends. It was a sensory overload. I still go now, but it’s changed a lot. People say: ‘Oh, it’s not the same as when I was there.’ But of course it’s not. New generations come and go. And skateboarding itself changes, I’m not resentful of that.’ Above: sweater by JW Anderson from Browns.
And ridiculous British romantic comedies – they just speak to me. I love Hugh Grant, or Richard Curtis’ idea of Hugh Grant. I think ‘Love Actually’ is such a good film because it has flaws and faults: there are so many storylines and half of them are completely useless. And the actors know that. But it’s just kind of honest, and that’s like real life.’ Above: shirt by Jil Sander and shorts by JW Anderson, both from Browns.
Everyone was just crying in the street. People related to her on a very profound level. I’m sure when she entered a room, it was like when Kate [Moss] enters a room now, where everybody just looks at her. Diana had something about her. I genuinely believe that she was an amazing person – you can’t not be when you’re exposed to that level of fame. She would have been found out, were she not as nice as everyone believed she was. And it was Diana versus the monarchy: everyone likes the underdog.’ Above: denim shirt, poplin shirt (worn underneath), roll-neck sweater and trousers, all by Prada.
When I first went there, I was at school, being taught that art or any skill set was something that had to be marked, graded and assessed. But they had this corner stacked with skateboards, all covered in art, and I thought: ‘Amazing. These artists are just doing their own thing, and they don’t need permission for it.’ The store was like what you wanted your bedroom to be as a teenager. I would just go there and hang out until I got the courage to talk to the people who worked there. Of course I’m nostalgic for it, those were my teenage years. I had that mindset where anything is possible and it’s completely up to you.’