Just spent a week working in California with Jilted.
Basically slept through my alarm and was contemplating not even going, after a mad rush round my house and help from Bav working out train times I finally decided to go for it.
Never seen England looking so nice, ill have to get up at 5am more often!
Got there just in time!
Billy picked me up from LAX and we were straight out for dinner in OC with the wifey Vanessa.
(Dont think the restaurant had seen many people like me before, could feel a lot of side eye’s!)
No time to relax, dinners done then straight down to business, inspiring work from the lads, BY FAR the biggest, cleanest most organised operation iv ever seen!
(Not that iv ever seen any I just seen programmes on Discovery Channel!)
Heading for dinner + business with CeeKay Jones. What can I say, the mans got expensive taste when it comes to restaurants!
Good to see you brother!
Gained a little hitchhiker on the way to Portland Beach. (Jeff Mase)
Had an amazing meal with my new in-laws! ha
WHERE WOULD YOU RATHER WAKE UP EACH DAY?
….YE SAME HERE!!!!
Checking on the puppies!
Gonna let off some steam with the big boy!
Shot the new Magnum 50 CAL, worlds most powerful handgun! (….Its got a kick to it!)
Thats for the bitch copper that arrested me when I was a kid!ha
Plane to Vegas is delayed ….Oh well, start as you mean to go on!
Checked into the Aria then straight to the MGM pool party
Woke up the next morning an some ANIMAL had shit in my bath, guess who had to clean it up? ….ME!
Flew back midday, got to OC and still had the taste for it so me an Bill got back on it an terrorised EVERY place we went, PROJECTILE SICK, was in bed KO’d by 10pm!
Woke the next day, bed was covered in blood and I was $700 light! My money fell out my shorts in the taxi, bill attacked me in my vulnerable condition, threw me in a thorn bush and split my head open! (Plus the sprinklers were on so looked like id pissed allover myself)
Next morning headed to downtown LA for Jilted ‘X’ Black Scale shoot (pics from the shoot + collaboration coming soon)
After a good day chilling n shooting with Matt Plunkett, Me + Mega went to see the lads at his Black Scale/Hall Of Fame warehouse.
Since day one of Jilted I have always looked to how US brands did things for my inspiration as far as running/building a ‘BRAND’ goes, being/feeling/seeing BS in action has put a lot of things into prospective for me!
As everybody knows kissing arse is something i dont do, but I do give respect where respect is due! We didn’t bother going into in’s + out’s we didn’t need to I can see exactly how the operation is run and I just wanna say to everyone at BS that im inspired by everything I saw and the timeframe you’ve made it all happen!
….Ive always rocked Black Scale and now personally I got nothing but love for em!
….Got picked up by Billy n headed back down to spend my last night in OC.
Its been a busy but AMAZING week, CONSTANT FUNNINESS!
Was suposed to fly to SF the day before i left to see Dom but was awake all night with burglar trouble so exhausted and didn’t make the flight.
(Got the trainers sent by ‘over night‘ postage an received them the next day anyway)
Left OC when id finally packed and went for a terrible ‘toilet water’ chinese then stayed in LA the night
Next day I headed back into downtown LA to meet up and shoot with photographer + friend Andy Hartmark (and his mad friend turned assistant who is on occasion (gig’s) named ‘Geeza’) Few shots in the massive big studio then onwards to the Beach. (Pics coming soon)
Dont hate, appreciate! ….Always rep your people!
Late flight back from LAX to LDN, back over in the US mid July! …. ‘I CANNOT WAIT’
Landed back in London to the usual amazing weather! (RAIN)
….GET ME OUT OF HERE!
(The Iphone that had most my pics on went in the pool so I lost most my blogging shots)
Your father is heavily tattooed. Growing up, did you want to get tattoos and did he encourage it?
I look up to my dad for many reasons, as a child I use to mimic things he did and yes I definitely wanted to look like him as far as becoming tattooed. My dad is very down to earth, he didn’t encourage or discourage me to get tattooed he just said when you are 18 its your choice. He also gave me the same advise I give to many people today and that was to think carefully about what I wanted and who I wanted to do it. THERE’S NO RUSH!
Since becoming heavily tattooed, has the public changed their perception about you? Do you feel that you are judged unfairly because of your tattoos?
I think the world in general is a very small minded and ignorant place, people will always find something they don’t like about you no matter how you look. Since i tattooed my face 4 years ago every single person I see no matter where in the world I am looks at me! Some look with a smile, some seem paranoid, and some use it as a reason to strike up conversation. I am 100% fearless in every area of life so never feel threatened by anybodies actions, It is very rarely that I get a bad reaction to how I look and if I do it will only ever be from somebody of a similar age to myself, they always seem to change their minds very quickly ….I’m a good talker!
You and your crew have an interesting cube design on your faces stretching to your ears. What does this tattoo symbolise for you?
There is around 5 of us who have similar facial tattoos but there is nothing behind it of any importance really, we all look in the same direction when it comes to facial tattooing and all wanted our faces heavily covered. I was the first to have this particular style and if you look closely each of our tattoos are very different. When i designed my head and face tattoo I based it on the shape of a cartoon character i grew up watching called The Phantom. He has a solid skin suit with only a small area of his face showing, the coverage of his suit is how my head and body will be once finished. I also like the shape of roman gladiator helmets which was also kept in mind when we designed my face.
What influences motivate you when designing clothing? Do you have artists that you look up to? Are you trying to make social statements through your designs?
Id say my inspiration comes simply from within! Over the years I have traveled the world and moved in many different circles so I’m always using these memories good + bad to inspire me when I’m working on concepts for my designs. I’ve been around the block more than a few times and know exactly what i like, I just put pen to paper (so to speak) and do what comes natural to me.
I own Birmingham + London streetwear outlets The Candy Store, we stock nearly every top brand and I’m on a personal level with many of the owners. For different reasons I look up to brands such as DTA/Rogue Status, Black Scale, 10deep and Crooks + Castles, I openly speak about these brands and how they inspire me to continue on this path. I look at the terrible times iv experienced in life with the odds stacked well against me then where I’m now at in my life, I compare this to where their brands have gotten to and in what time frame it took them to achieve this, I have full confidence in myself that i can match this and meet my personal goals. I use the success of these people to motivate me on the days I’m feeling low, I started Jilted alone an run every aspect of it myself which at times can be an incredibly draining thing!
As far as designs go to be honest I don’t really look to other brands for inspiration, I prefer to let my mind wonder and see what I come up with, my life so far has been an insane journey I have more than enough food for thought. My designs always have an innuendo behind them good or bad, people that know about Jilted know that even the logo itself is an innuendo.
How did you get involved in the fashion industry and what is the Jilted movement all about?
I have always been heavily into fashion and over the years have wasted many thousands filling many wardrobes. Around 6 years ago I became tired of seeing everybody wearing the same thing, almost all the clothes I was buying were bespoke and i could see how these pieces were constructed, I began to experiment with my own designs and stepped things up about 3 years ago, the interest in these pieces quickly grew. 1 thing lead to 2, 2 lead to 20 and Jilted was born.
JILTED – Cast aside without warning ROYALTY – Power, status and authority
….Jilted is not just a random name I’ve chosen to call the brand, as much as it is a clothing brand it is also a way of life and has a huge amount of meaning behind it. Some people are interested in Jilted simply because they like the designs, but then there are many people who know about the background of Jilted and can relate to what we stand for, these boys take things very seriously embracing it and making the brand part of their day to day lives! Many people have the Jilted mark tattooed on them and many more are still waiting to have it, I always help out and add my input into the design. People having the Jilted mark means a lot to me because it shows they live by it and see things the same way i do, as long as I’m in England ill always try and travel to be there when they get tattooed.
….ITS A FAMILY BUSINESS!
You mentioned on your blog that you have been previously incarcerated. How did that experience change you?
Being in prison was nothing but a waste of my time, I experienced no problems in there what so ever I was treated the same as I am on the streets, I walk on water. If there was one thing id learnt from the time I spent inside then id say it was simply that life is to important and my time is worth to much to be rotting inside one building while you are forgotten and the earth continues around you ….NEVER AGAIN!
You have a “Rest in Peace” tribute tattoo on your back. What is the story behind that tattoo?
The Celtic cross on my back was my 1st real tattoo, it is a tribute to the woman who raised me Johanna Mckinney. I was raised by both my Dads and my Moms sides of the family but my Mom was really young when she had me so my Nan took the roll of raising me.
She is the most amazing woman i have ever known of for a thousand reasons!
….I think about her everyday!
You have tattooed yourself in many places that most people wouldn’t dare.
You have also had laser removal of some tattoos to prepare for a new frontal piece. What are you trying to accomplish through your tattoos? Are you trying to push the envelope or were you dissatisfied with some of your previous tattoos?
When i first started getting tattooed at age 20 i didn’t stop and was in the tattoo studio every week for around 5 years straight, I quickly became covered by work i had not thought about for long enough i just rushed to get a body suit. Then when i finally found amazing artists i wanted work from i had no real space left for them to tattoo. Since i was released from prison I’ve spent a lot of time laser removing 90% of my body and will continue to do so for roughly the next 3years until all areas are complete. Both the sleeves I now have are new cover ups and I have regular sessions to fade the whole of my front ready for my new front piece. Once i have cleared all the old work from my legs I will then use them to collect medium sized pieces from some of my favourite artists.
Is it true that you have multiple personality disorder? Do your tattoos help to ground you or is it easier to feel comfortable in your own skin if it is changing as your personality is changing too?
Yes this is true i do have MPD, I have undergone treatment from different useless councilors who have advised me to begin different forms of medication etc but I have respectfully declined their offers! The only thing that i have found beneficial from all these counselling sessions is that I quickly learnt and came to terms with the reason I am the way I am and where it all began. Once I knew this I began many years of self diagnoses and i know conclude i have 7 personality’s/states of mind. I know when a cycle is going to start i can feel it and through 2010-2011 it was a regular timed thing (give or take a week) but for the past 6 months things have been very calm even considering how stressed I am with work etc. I finally feel I am 90% in control of things and can play tricks on myself to effect the direction/choice of the personality.
….The human brain, what a wonderful place!
In addition to working as a designer and model, you also like to train for MMA, is this true? What draws you into that sport?
I’ve been a fighter my whole life, as a child i did Karate, then onto Kickboxing, then Thai, and I started MMA around 6years ago. For me its the ultimate sport, the best aspects of every martial art! More than my love for the actual sport I just enjoy fighting in general, the bigger the person is the more energy I find to smash them to pieces. I am only recently getting back into MMA because for me living life is more important than living in the gym, I dont really care too much about training because no matter what condition my body is in I still feel unstoppable. (For many reasons)
It is hard to beat someone who is totally fearless of death!
How has the Birmingham streetwear/tattoo scene developed in your eyes? Do you feel that you have helped to contribute to it taking shape?
Every time there is a new Jilted drop I have orders from across the world but the brand has an extra heavy presence in Birmingham my home city. Streetwear has always been alive here but people had to buy it from other cities and the Internet etc. Since I reopened The Candy Store there has definitely been a huge rise in the amount of people starting to wear streetwear. In England at the moment id say streetwear is the main style worn by most 15-30 year olds. We have educated this city on the backgrounds of every brand and gave them the accessibility to the best of them old + new!
The tattoo scene in England like most other countries over the last few years has exploded! Tattoos now are just a fashion accessory and having a publicly visible tattoo is no longer seen as a risky thing, many successful TV personality’s/singers/actors/sportsmen etc have visible tattoos which in turn makes it seem acceptable to the average 9-5 bloke. Everybody is having sleeves, hand and neck tattoos now its not a big thing! I was a late starter and have only been getting tattooed for the past 10 years. At that time I wasn’t involved in the ‘tattoo scene’ I was just doing my own thing covering myself as id always planned to since a child so had never seen full coverage tattoos before/body suits etc. I don’t do things by half’s so when I decided I was going to start I didn’t stop. At the time nobody I knew was tattooed like I was and the speed I became covered alarmed people, now Its nothing and years later everybody has followed suit.
Your body is yours to do with whatever you choose so don’t let the ignorance of others or general stigma hold you back in however far you choose to take it!
If I let stigma hold me back or cared for one second about the opinion of others I wouldn’t be where I am today and this is only the small beginning of what i have planned, If you are good at what you do you will be successful no mater how you look! I receive emails daily from people asking my advise on tattoos and often telling me how I have inspired them with my ‘No Limits’ approach to tattooing, also how they now plan to go ahead with their plans to become heavily tattooed. ….Hearing things like this motivates me never to stop what I’m doing!
As a person who embraces change, is it hard to get a tattoo knowing that you might end up wanting to change it?
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could very easily be killed when I leave this office tonight, so I don’t really think about what I might or might not live to regret, I do things then worry afterwards, IF ATALL! Unlike when i was younger and not to sure about what i wanted my whole body is now fully planned I know exactly what is going where. If I regretted having something enough for it to play on my mind then id just laser it off like I have the rest!
What does the future hold for Jay Read?
I’ve never let anybody tell me what to do or what is right and wrong because I feel that the best way to learn anything in life is by experiencing it yourself and i have definitely experienced EVERYTHING i need to! I may seem arrogant saying things like this but it is not arrogance it is 100% self belief and knowing ones self in all areas, something maybe only 1% of people can truly say, I honestly see the sky as my only limit! I have made many goals in my life that I thought totally unrealistic yet I still chased and achieved them!
I start modelling again this year which I put on the back burner whilst I was opening the shop, but my main priority will continue to be Jilted! I’m working in different parts of Europe and the USA building all areas of the JR brand. In April I release Jilted’s 1st full seasonal drop (Spring) and begin stocking stores across the country, I will then continue to release lines seasonally along with all other brands.