Partners in crime Jess Morris and Tim Rockins started their luxury clothing label Rockins almost by accident, after producing a limited run of bespoke silk scarves as Christmas prezzies for their bezzie mates.
The novelty Christmas gift idea soon blossomed into a full blown business for the duo after the likes of Kate Moss and The Kills man Jamie Hince were spotted sporting their wares. They’ve since expanded beyond the silk scarf game into full looks – denim jackets, blazers, t-shirts, high-waist trousers, customised waistcoats, the works! Rockins garms are basically a contemporary take on classic design, infused with an undeniably Seventies aesthetic to make icon looks. It’s trés chic stuff, as they say.
What was the catalyst to start Rockins?
Jess: Being fed up of working for other people and realising that we had the combined skills to cover the hard parts of getting a fashion business off the ground. Also we’re both crazy enough to go it alone together, Lone Ranger style (Timbo is definitely Tonto)
Obviously there is a strong musical influence to the brand, who are perhaps some of the less immediate muses that you have?
Jess: Ani Mijatovic she is wearing our clothes in the Spring 2017 issue of BEAT in a feature with Toy and Rose Elinor Dougall. She’s not a model, she’s a really authentically cool girl and musician.
Tim: Dr Alimantado or Peter Tosh or Lee Scratch Perry or pretty much anyone in the film Rockers – Jamaican cool has that don’t-give-a-damnation attitude that will forever resonate. Julia Cummings – She’s hot with such a magnetic attitude. Renate Knaup from Amon Düül II looks like she’s just stepped out of a commune. The Pink Fairies – Ladbroke Grove legends of weird. Terry Dolan – is he an actual cowboy? Janita Haan – from B-boy favourites slash Hertfordshire rockers, Babe Ruth, she lets rip! Flavor Flav – out on his own. Aphex Twin – you get the gist.
Who would you most like to wear a Rockins scarf?
What are your style must haves?
Jess: A dont give a damn attitude, I like people who don’t look like they’ve put too much effort in to their style.
Are there any do’s and don’ts to wearing Rockins?
Tim: Don’t iron your scarves before wear. They look much better when they are creased and worn in. Don’t wash your jeans either! Especially our rigid denim which look and fit much better the less you wash them… Basically don’t over wash (or overdo) anything.
Rockins is actually Tim’s surname, were there any other name options for the brand or was that it?
Jess: There were never any names on a branding board, or any meetings about what we should be called. Tim’s surname is actually Watkins but our kids couldn’t pronounce it properly and it came out as Rockins which we thought sounded great. Tim started using it as his DJ name before Rockins the brand existed. It came to us via the kids!
How did the two of you meet?
Jess: We were both working in Westbourne Studios in Portobello. Tim with Gorillaz and I had a PR company called Magnolia, we were eyeing each other up for a long while before we got together as we were both in other relationships so we were not at liberty to put it about. There was lots of hanging around the bar area hoping to bump in to one another but we didn’t actually speak for about a year of eyeballing each other.
How does the creative relationship work?
Jess: When we are casually vibing ideas in the evening it flows really easily, we can achieve a hell of a lot over a bottle of plonk, but when we sit together in the daytime at the studio with or without the team it can be like dental work! We are very different people but we respect each others skills and we have each others backs at all times. Tim’s a genius, he considers everything in forensic detail and i just want to move on to the next thing as quickly as possible. Tim is the magic porridge pot of pattern and design, he creates incredible prints and bespoke packaging for each single scarf style we do. I work on the shapes and the collection as a whole so we both have a clear division of roles which is the key.
Where do you buy your records? Clothes? other bits and bobs?
Jess: We pick up things here there and everywhere, plus mail orders from the computer – which can be dangerous! I recently got all the kit (OHP, oils, chemicals, clockglass & inks etc) to do a full Liquid-Len Acid-rock light show from various international shops online. But for IRL browsing Rough Trade and Honest Jon’s on Portobello Road still offer the goods! Best to go when the market’s on, if only to watch the limbo dancer on roller skates.
Why do you think the time is now for Rockins?
Jess: There are a couple of reasons why Rockins has taken off as it has right now. Tim and I were both ready, we had both cut our teeth and had gathered enough experience and confidence in design and fashion to know we had something to offer that wasn’t already out there, and also there is a feeling of nostalgia surrounding the 70s and vinyl records and cassette tapes that meant we really caught the wave… we present all our scarves in Vinyl record covers and cassette tape boxes.