I had no idea when I chased off some skinheads who were having a go at an Asian punk at our Crass gig in Birmingham, that I would meet him again at the Louder Than Words Festival in Manchester, November 2014 when I was interviewed by John Robb.
One of the things I mentioned during that interview was that I’d always wanted a tailor made suit and could never afford it. Afterwards Upender came up to me and said: “I’ll make you a suit”. I jumped at the chance and during my visits to his Bolton Mill, where he designs and makes clothing for one of his labels Liberty Freedom, we got to know each other really well and have been close friends ever since.
Upender was born and raised in Birmingham City in the 70s. He would hang out at gigs and clubs as one of the only Asians who would go to punk venues, for him punk was all embracing; linking music, political thought and lifestyle. He, as so many others, would wear clothes not in a ‘conventional’ way but customising old work-wear and Army Surplus clothing (because it was cheap to buy).
He still considers himself to be a “punk” as he still holds the same values and principles.
I’m incredibly grateful and happy to say that Upender has designed a ‘Steve Ignorant’ label that will be in all my T-shirts & hoodies and also designed the latest T-shirts TO THE STARS . . . . . AND BACK.
Keep an eye out for some new traditional designs later in the year.