Sportswear International recently talked to Richard Martin, marketing director at Fred Perry, about the cult label’s collaboration with singer Amy Winehouse. The collaboration is set to run for four seasons and consists of 17 pieces that will be available at stores and selected concessions this coming fall. Here, Martin explains Amy’s influence on the collection and the relationship between music and fashion. By Susannah Carey

How did your collaboration with Amy come about?
We were talking about this collaboration with Amy for a couple of years already. She is a massive fan of Fred Perry and we have supported her during the last three to four years with our clothes. Besides that, we think apart from her incredible voice she has a very clear, concise, personal style and a very distinctive, even iconic look. She does not follow trends. And she knows exactly what she wants. This collaboration just makes sense.

Would the founder of the brand, Frederick John Perry, who would have turned 100 years last year, approve of someone like Amy Winehouse collaborating with Fred Perry?
I am sure he would. He had an amazing presence and he was a real style icon of his time. In addition, he was a rebel. He came from the working class, became the World Number One tennis player in the 1930s and later even made it to Hollywood. He was the most anti-establishment person you could imagine, I would say. And he was full of determination and focus. I think there are even many parallels between him and Amy.

What kind of role does the relation between fashion and music play for Fred Perry?
For the last 50 to 60 years, there has been a relationship between our brand and music. Simultaneously, from Fred Perry’s side there has also been a strong connection with the underground subculture. We worked together with several leading musicians and legends in the past like Paul Weller, Terry Hall and Damon Albarn. And now, there’s Amy, an incredible talented young singer and songwriter.

Let’s talk about the style of the collection which Amy Winehouse designed for Fred Perry. How much Fred Perry and how much Amy Winehouse can be seen in the results?
There is an equal style balance between the typical Fred Perry style and Amy’s personal style, I would say. There are some classic products like the twin-tipped polo or the Harrington jacket, but there are also garments which are instantly recognizable as Amy’s style; for example, a mini bowling shirtdress, a sexy pencil mini-skirt or a pair of Capri pants. The collection incorporates the heritage of our brand but also show’s Amy’s DNA. That’s very important.

Do you want to push Fred Perry womenswear into a new direction with collaborations such as the one with Amy?
We believe that collaborations like the one with Amy will raise our profile of womenswear and have a positive effect on this segment. We definitely want to build up a strong womenswear with the help of our strong brand story. We also try to reach a wide range of women. The prices for Amy’s collection start at €25, so also young women can afford it.

Apart from the collaborations with singers and songwriters, Fred Perry worked together with many designers as well, such as Raf Simons. What is the difference between designer partnerships and collaborations with musicians?
Actually, it is a very similar process. They are all fans of the brand and connect the history and heritage of the brand with their personal DNA.

The collaboration with Amy is set to run for four seasons in total. Is there a chance to even extend it beyond that time?
We like long-term-relationships. So it could be an option.