Mr. Freedom satin jacket designed by Muriel Carter and Pam Keats with art by Mike Rogers (from Nova magazine, 1970)
For a few short years back in the late 60s and early 70s, a clothing boutique called Mr. Freedom ruled the streets of London with its cheeky styles and glammy duds that were worn by everyone from Twiggy and Mick Jagger to Elizabeth Taylor.
Mr. Freedom t-shirts designed by Roger Lunn
Before opening Mr. Freedom, Tommy Roberts ran a shop called “Kleptomania.” It was an eclectic space not unlike a consignment store that carried non-wearables and collectables like vintage photographs and eroitica. It was a hit and quickly, Roberts enlisted his designer friend Roger Lunn to create a line of logo t-shirts (pictured above) that would go on to be wildly popular with the young London fashionistas.
It wasn’t long after that Lunn convinced Roberts that lining the walls of Kleptomania with Victorian-style military themed clothing was a good idea - and he was right. Kleptomania’s clientele soon included rock and roll fashion icons like Jimi Hendrix, members of The Who and Jimmy Page. This bit of luck inspired Roberts to start making and selling Mr. Freedom-branded clothing created by the hottest young designers in London. Like the “Bumster” jeans (below) designed by one of Mr. Freedom’s first in-house designers, Diane Cranshaw.
The “Bumster” jeans for Mr. Freedom designed by Diana Cranshaw
Mr. Freedom design by Diane Crawshaw
Mr. Freedom designer, Diana Crawshaw
“Mr. Freedom” Tommy Roberts (L) and his business partner, John Paul (R)
The grand opening of Mr. Freedom in Chelsea took place during the summer of 1969. Roberts had been inspired to curate a clothing line thanks to the visuals in the bizarre 1969 film, Mr. Freedom and with the help of another business partner and friend, Trevor Myles, soon the boutique was full of glammy satin jackets, statement beltbuckles and clothing with colorful pop culture details like rocket ships and stars. Roberts also obtained a licence to create a line of t-shirts adorned with Disney characters. Interestingly, it was t-shirts that helped finance the shop itself after Mick Jagger was photographed in one of Mr. Freedom’s “Zodiac” t-shirts that Roberts and Myles were selling at the Chelsea Antique Market.
Mick Jagger wearing a Mr. Freedom “Zodiac” t-shirt
Marc Bolan’s jacket (designed by Tommy Roberts) worn in the 1972 concert film, Born to Boogie
Roberts would go on to gain fans such as David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, and in 2011, a jacket designed by Roberts himself and worn by the mythical Marc Bolan in the 1972 concert film, Born to Boogie (pictured above) sold at an auction at Christie’s for a cool $15,375. If all of this sounds fantastic to you as it does to me, I highly recommend that you check out the 2012 book that details Roberts incredible contributions to glam rock fashion and beyond, Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom: British Design Hero. Loads of photos (some that are delightfully NSFW) detailing the history and evolution of Mr. Freedom’s glamtastic fashion follow.
Mr. Freedom fashion spread in Nova Magazine, 1970s
Design by Diana Crawshaw for Mr. Freedom
A few pages from the book, Tommy Roberts: Mr. Freedom: British Design Hero
1972 magazine article featuring clothing from the Mr. Freedom boutique
More Mr. Freedom, after the jump…