There’s a lot of history at 430 King’s Road in London’s Chelsea district. These rare t-shirts are just a few of the many designs that originated from the various incarnations of the address in the 1970s.
Before the history lesson begins you might be interested to know that the extremely rare vintage t-shirts above (and many others) are currently up for auction by a single seller who purchased them all first hand.
In 1971 the King’s Road location was known as Paradise Garage and future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and partner Patrick Casey manned a little rock memorabilia stand located in the back of the store. When the owners of Paradise got evicted McLaren and Casey took over the entire venue and named it Let it Rock expanding their inventory with clothing that was designed by McLaren’s school teacher girlfriend Vivienne Westwood.
In 1972 the shop was re-named Too Fast To Live, To Young to Die and focused on early 1960s rock culture and fashion. This incarnation’s moniker was self-fulfilling prophecy – not even two years later it was no longer living. McLaren and Westwood decided to close up shop because of thievery and threats from the infamous Teddy Boy gang.
In 1974 the shop was gutted, renovated and re-opened under the name SEX. The store specialized in fetish and bondage gear as well as numerous t-shirt designs that caused an uproar by depicting Taboo sexual imagery, ie gay cowboys – think Brokeback three decades ago.
In 1975 McLaren began to manage a band called The Strand that would become the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten actually auditioned for the band in the store. Shortly after the shop was once again re-named Seditionaries and the inventory reflected the surging popularity of the Sex Pistols who were decked out in designer Seds duds from the get-go. And with Sid Vicious reportedly banking hours as an employee, shoplifting was most likely at an all time low.
McLaren and Westwood’s relationship eventually deteriorated, they split and closed the store in September of 1980. In 1981 the venue underwent its final make-over and began operating as World’s End. The location is still in operation and the amazingly the name seems has survived two decades and appears to have stuck. The once mom and pop operation is now in the hands of their son, Joe Corre.
How fitting the once controversial shirts have continued to cause a stir in modern times. In 2008 it was revealed that massive amounts of counterfeit Seds clothing had changed hands and even duped museum experts. A battle between McClaren and the alleged distributor of the fakes ensued and was documented by numerous fashion blogs.