Wayne Andrew Hemingway Esq & Geraldine Hemingway
Red or Dead was started by Wayne Andrew Hemingway Esq and his good lady wife, Geraldine Hemingway back in 1982. They had no money, so they emptied their wardrobes and sold them on Camden market one Saturday and before they knew it they had 16 stalls.
By 1983, they had opened an outlet in fashionable Kensington, London selling Geraldine's self-made clothes. That same year the first Red or Dead collection, inspired by Russian peasant clothing, was launched and was an immediate success with large orders from US department store Macy's. To meet demand, Red or Dead opened a small production unit and the first ever Red or Dead shop opened in Blackburn, Lancashire. Red or Dead also began to sell Dr. Martens work-wear shoes as a fashion item.
In 1984 footwear becomes a major force at Red or Dead, first with old stock of 1950's and 1960's canvas and then canvas sourced from the Far East. Stores opened in Camden and Manchester in 1985 and in 1986 stores opened in Soho, London selling the first Red or Dead footwear range. The Neal Street store in London opened in 1987 and regular queues outside the shop appeared due to the success of the Red or Dead 'Watch' shoe as sported by teen band 'Bros'. The design team began to build in 1988 and in 1989 the first catwalk collection 'Space Baby' (for Spring/Summer 1990) was shown to world-wide acclaim.
1990, Autumn/Winter collection 'Animals' launched and the following year stores opened in Copenhagen, Birmingham and Kensington, London selling the Spring/Summer 'Shopping' and Autumn/Winter 'Librace' collections.
In 1992 stores opened in Leeds and work began on the concept of Dr Martens clothing. The Spring/Summer 'Mad on England' and the Autumn/Winter 'Spy' collections were launched.
Further stores opened in 1993 and Red or Dead signed a deal to be the first designer shoe company to advise Marks & Spencer. The Spring/Summer 'Russian Dolls' and Autumn/Winter 'Skeleton' collections were launched.
Stores opened in Tokyo in 1994 and Red or Dead launched the 'Dead Basic' diffusion range. The Spring/Summer 'Sunflower' and Autumn/Winter 'Keyhole' collections were launched. In 1995 Red or Dead won the British Fashion Council's inaugural 'Street Style Designer of the Year' award. The Spring/Summer 'Butterfly' and Autumn/Winter 'Ski' collections were launched.
In 1997, Red or Dead won the 'Street Style Designer of the Year award for an unprecedented third time. The Spring/Summer 'Indian Summer' and Autumn/Winter 'Geography Teacher' collections were launched.
In 1998, stores opened in Prague and Tokyo. The Spring/Summer 'Beautiful Freaks' and Autumn/Winter 'A Road Movie Across the State' collections were launched. In 1999, the Spring/Summer 'Brush Strokes' and Autumn/Winter 'Champagne Anarchist' collections were launched and in 2000 the Spring/Summer 'Africa' was launched.
In 1996 Pentland Brands Plc buy Red or Dead and the business today includes footwear, designer optical frames, sunglasses, watches and fashion bags.
Red or Dead was a reference to Wayne's Red Indian background and the fact that the first collection that Geraldine did was Russian inspired and so Red or Dead was started.