Simon

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“This jacket sums up a time of falling in love and discovery. It was the winter of 1993 and I was visiting my present partner Mat in New York because he was living and working out there. It was bollock freezing and I was in a store in Chelsea on the West Side of Manhattan where I found this shiny, dark blue jacket with fake fur collar and padded lining. I later discovered that the jacket is an NYPD original and the zips at the side are for easy gun access.

I like the fit of it – tailored but comfortable. At the time, I was into clubbing and it fitted with that sportswear style fashion, so I suppose it was like a jacket version of club wear. It has a lot of memories – I wore it every winter for over 20 years.

The 90s were filled with excitement and possibility, particularly in the UK in terms of gay culture and politics – after acid house, the club scene exploded and things started to shift – in 1990 The Village in Soho was the first gay bar in London with windows as opposed to shutters, so you could see inside. In 1997 Labour got in, and one of the policies that went through early on, was recognising same-sex partners for immigration purposes, enabling Mat to move over here from New York in 1999 – prior to that, for 6 years we would spend 3 weeks in New York, 3 weeks apart and 3 weeks in London – the US law meant that I could never have moved there, even to this day.” Simon (Martin Aston), writer and author of Facing The Other Way: The Story Of 4AD, Pulp and Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache: How Music Came Out.