The stylish young man in this picture was the man who introduced me to the term “Graphic Designer” when I was 11 years old. Around this time he gave me an old Letraset catalogue filled with the most amazing typefaces and sheets of old Letraset to use as I saw fit. He also gave me a set of old Rotring pens that I went on to completely ruin (hey, I was 11!). From this point on I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer when I grew up. I always enjoyed art as a youngster, but the end result never felt completely fulfilling. Graphic design was a way to use my creativity to serve a purpose and to answer some questions. He helped me realise that.
When I was a baby he carried me on his back all over Yorkshire. I went where ever he did rambling and birdwatching across the Pennines. I’m sure these early experiences are what fuelled my own passion for the great outdoors. I wish I was closer to the countryside now, but I try to stay stocked up with occasional weekends away wild camping in Scotland with friends. Getting up there always reminds me of my time spent rambling around with him until my early teens.
His friends tell me at one time he was one of the most stylish chaps in Barnsley. He pretty much single handedly kept Frank Birds (the OiPolloi of it’s day) in business buying his reversible sports jackets, check trousers and Christian Dior ties from them week in week out.
When I was a teenager he introduced me to Tricker’s shoes at a time when I really wasn’t interested. He’d tell me about quality shoes that would last a life time if you looked after and maintained them. He had five pairs back in the day, mainly in a Chelsea boot style. All I was interested in was the latest pair of Nike Air Huaraches or Adidas Torsions.
His lectures about shoes and quality clothing though paid off when I was in my mid twenties and I bought my first pair of Tricker’s. I bought them because my Dad used to wear them and I was proud to follow in his benchmade footsteps. My shoe and clothing obsession snowballed from that point onwards.
He’s been a total inspiration to me throughout my life, pointing me in the right direction the whole way, knowing when things didn’t matter (GCSEs) and when things did (my career). I couldn’t have wished for a more supportive and caring father and I’m truly thankful every day that I’ve got both him and my Mum.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!