Q&A Marco Cairns Designer


For me, Duffer of St George was the most important store in the UK for maybe 5-10 years during the late 80s and early 90s. They were by far the best shop influencing so many people and were also known for introducing countless brands to the UK, Marco Cairns, along with Eddie Prendergast and Barrie K Sharpe were the originators in my eyes. It was the first place I bought labels, be it Redwings, Shelltoes, SixEight, you name it, they seemed to have everything first. I think it was the only shop I’d get truly excited about visiting. Marco is now behind Duffer Japan which has just been released to some select stores in the UK. Here’s what he had to say.

What did you have for breakfast?

I don’t eat breakfast , just a quick coffee..

What’s good about your hometown?

The best thing about Barking, Essex is the fact they have a by-pass around it. So there is no need to go through it. I do have fond memories of when I grew up there though. It was a fairly decent place to live back then…

Provide us with a synopsis for your autobiography in 140 characters and what would you call it?


Raised in a clapped out council house in East London with a hole in the roof and mice.

I was lucky enough to travel back to mother’s village in Southern Italy where my sense of style came from…

Had a fire in my belly. Got together with some mates and opened a store in Portobello road. Had a vision of what I wanted for the future so blindly went for it…

Messed around for 10 years. Started a family and got serious….Worked hard and made money. Travelled the world had a fantastic time. Spent the money.

Got into massive dept. Lost my house, my car, and went grey, which really pissed me off… Stopped everything. Sat down to think. I still had the same vision and a fire in my belly. Worked harder than before, raised some money. Found some backers and got stuck in..haven’t looked back..

If you could punch one celebrity in the face with absolutely no repercussions, who would it be?

I don’t really pay much attention to them there celebrity types. Sponge Bob square pants does my head in though…

Tell us something that not many people know about you?

I’ve got a scar on my inside thigh after being spiked on a railing as a kid.

You’ve got £300 to spend on menswear, tell us what you’re gonna be buying?

A pair of Alden Cordovan shoes. At a discount price of course..

Favourite 3 labels over the last 20 years?

Culture Shock – mid 80′s. Way ahead of their time. Great designs.. Nice people.

RRL. – Untouchable at the moment.. Perfect combination of styles.

Kapital .- Japan..In my opinion one of the best stores/ designers on the planet…

If a film was made of your life, tell us four songs that would be on the soundtrack?

Johnny Too bad……The Slickers

Get on down….. Eddie Harris

No Fun….. The Stooges

Played out with…..In the right place at the wrong time…Dr. John.