Happy birthday Harrier, you have been a long and trusty friend to our wardrobe. To celebrate Harrier turning 50, we’ve taken the silhouette back to where it all began; using classic colourways from when Harrier first burst onto the sport shoe scene but with clever modern updates, this collection is everything you need this summer.
Back in 1968, Harrier was the multi-purpose training shoe of choice. Built for track and field, the gym or the pitch, Harrier led the way in sports footwear. Originally launched in statement making white/red, this colourway was soon partnered with royal blue/white as a fellow option but as the years have progressed Harrier’s colour options have run into the hundreds. Never shy of making a statement the original design featured a durable gristle rubber sole, suede toe cap, rubber toe guard, padded insole and of course the signatory contrast Gola wingflash branding.
As Harrier moved into the ‘70s it developed a new life in the form of a leisure shoe. This multi-purpose training shoe was now equally at home on the track as it was on football terraces up and down the UK. From here Harrier transcended into music culture, with a cult following from key names of the day such as The Jam. Over the decades other fans of Harrier included Duran Duran, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Jude Law and Paul Weller. For Harrier’s 50th anniversary we have seen the son’s and daughters of rock royalty wear these styles with as much style as the first time around. Raff Law (son of Jude law) and Anais Gallagher (daughter of Noel Gallagher) are two of the names sporting the new Harrier style.
Never steering far from its original form, Harrier has stood the test of fashion cycles and footwear fads to have survived five decades and be Gola’s best selling footwear style. In recognition of this accolade, Gola has launched a special edition anniversary edit of Harrier. With the design staying true to the style’s 1968 roots, the special edition is a no gimmick, purist silhouette; it’s confident, genuine and unique. There’s only one Harrier.
The great 1990s are a collection of ten incredible years hallmarked in history by their contribution to fashion and music.
90s music was a burst of angst, energy, colour, dance, and soul that has never repeated itself in quite the same way. Here, we’ll let 90s music fight 90s music. From Britpop to Eurodance, find out which is worthy of a 2017 comeback.
‘Girl Power’ vs…
90s music was all about powerful and influential female groups and singers. Expressive songs, motivational videos and power ballads from bands like Eternal, Destiny’s Child, En Vogue, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Christina ‘Xtina’ Aguilera were a hugely popular break from the male-dominated music scene of the time. Madonna was as omnipotent as ever and Sugababes managed to hop onto one of the last departing trains for the decade in 1998, but — of course — ‘Girl Power’ was high-kicked into a global phenomenon by the almighty Spice Girls.
An unforgettable quintet whose posters were plastered on the walls of every young girl’s bedroom during the decade, the five famously fabricated personalities of the Spice Girls gave young girls someone to identify with and pushed the idea that women could be successful independently from men (admittedly, their former manager, Simon Fuller, played a part).
Britpop was, as you can guess, all about singing for British youths and acted almost as a counter attack on the themes of American songs at the time. Bands like Blur, Oasis, The Verve, and Manic Street Preachers took influence from 60s/70s British rock music and propelled Britpop to subculture status with its own distinct clothing and attitude. 90s songs like Wonderwall and Parklife had a strong sense of local identity and working class ethics that really spoke to youths of the day, while the behaviour and atmosphere of Britpop championed the brazen maleness of ‘lad culture’ at a time when ‘Girl Power’ was about to make waves.
While Girl Power instilled self-belief and confidence in many young girls, Britpop was all about giving the working-class a mainstream platform and voice. Feminism vs. social mobility? We’re backing off and making this one a tie.
Party dance routines vs…
From Whigfield’s Saturday Night to Los del Rio’s Macarena, you have to admit the 90s were a hit for disco routines. Not only were these ideal ways of moving from the corner to the dancefloor at the unavoidable school Christmas party, but they’ve also been helping DJs crank up the party spirit at wedding receptions and 18th birthdays ever since. In this time of dabbing, twerking and whipping your hair; there was something pricelessly innocent about doing Madonna’s Vogue gestures, followed by a Steps’ 5,6,7,8 and Rednex Cotton Eye Joe hoedown.
Although 90s music was big on girls groups, the stage was fairly shared by the boy band. N’Sync and Backstreet Boys were America’s greatest exports in this industry, while Take That and Westlife fought back well for the UK and Ireland. The ballads, bubblegum pop tunes and craze-making dance routines pumped out by boy bands of the 90s created the type of frenzy seen by Elvis fans in the 50s and The Beatles followers in the 60s.
Before we knew it, there were dolls, posters, magazines, and clothing devoted to these vocal harmony groups but unfortunately, this led many to associate boy bands as being mere puppets of a money-hungry record label. Although we tired of miming shows, structured interviews and tacky merchandise, many boy bands have actually made a respectable return to the music scene in the past few years, including Take That and Backstreet Boys. So, there was talent behind the trash after all.
Although these disco dance routines are always good fun, the boy band 90s music genre was a formidable force. Even today, we wonder if Smash Hits would have kept in print without it. All in all, it’s that wonderful sense of nostalgia that has persuaded us to let the boys win this one. Nothing brings back memories of our youth than the dolls, posters, concert t-shirts, and scrapbooks filled with ‘I *heart* Justin’ of our beloved 90s boys.
Feelgood party tunes vs…
The 1990s were a feelgood decade. Home Alone was on at the cinema, the World Wide Web had its first test run, Nokia’s Snake was controlling all our minds, and Harry Potter flew into our lives. But this was also the season of boppy, catchy pop songs that still get us dancing today. In the same year that Tony Blair rode Labour back into office the Danish-Norwegian pop group, Aqua, released Barbie Girl and we were hooked. The 90s music scene was peppered with unforgettable tunes like B*Witched’s C’est la Vie, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping, Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca, and literally anything Steps released. Yes, these weren’t lyrical masterpieces, but they were a good laugh and we all loved them back in the day.
Contemporary R’n’B and urban music
In the 1990s, the world was more connected than it’s ever been. So, let’s look at 90s music outside the UK. The greatest genre to captivate the decade was modern R’n’B/urban which was spearheaded by artists including: Faith Evans, Lauryn Hill, En Vogue, Boyz II Men, Usher, R. Kelly, and TLC.
Combining funk, pop and blues, contemporary R’n’B and urban songs are rich, soulful and emotional which was a great contrast between the more sugary ballads and techno tunes they were up against in the 90s. Tracks such as I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and Vision of Love by Mariah Carey kick-started the genre which has weaved its way through the following decades to nourish global stars like Beyonce, Ne-Yo and John Legend.
We’re grateful for the cool, deep and inspiring songs of 90s R’n’B music, and how they’ve contributed to our music then and today. But if we could bring either of these 90s music genres back; our heart says feelgood. There’s no better party starter or stress booster than a cheesy 90s playlist. Let’s face it, family occasions just wouldn’t be the same without a 90s feelgood megamix at the end of the night.
Hip Hop vs…
The world of 90s music would be incomplete without a nod to the globally-renowned rappers and hip-hop stars of the day. From 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G, and Vanilla Ice, to Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and Eminem; hip hop was the genre of choice if you wanted an unfiltered insight into hard urban culture that’s often glossed over in mainstream media. Empowering, rhythmic and confident, hip-hop was the top-selling genre of music in the mid-to-late 1990s. Similar to Britpop, hip-hop is a subculture, generally containing key elements like rapping, graffiti, breakdancing, and DJing, which could explain its popularity across the world.
Rarely has technology and musicality collided so fruitfully. The birth of Eurodance masters like Vengaboys, Haddaway, 2 Unlimited, Corona, and Scatman John came about in the 90s due to the explosion of equipment that enabled electronic music. A combination of house, techno and dance, the Eurodance 90s music genre is recognisable for its use of synthesizers and strong bass rhythms. This type of music is almost always positive and upbeat with a strong undercurrent of partying and generally having a good time — ideal going out soundtrack for when you’re getting ready.
Although Eurodance has helped us get pumped up for crucial life moments, we can’t place it above the global phenomenon that is 90s hip-hop. The decade propelled the gritty genre all over the world and it’d be a very different stream of sound today if it weren’t for the rappers of the 90s.
This decade was also the time that the great rock bands in modern musical history came to our attention. Before 1990, many rock bands had just a niche following compared to other genres, but as we entered the decade we saw bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Smashing Pumpkins receive attention from major music labels and become commercially successful. The energetic performances and expressive song lyrics really filled a gap in 90s music, and the media presented rock’s popularity throughout the 1990s almost as a rebellion of real music and emotions against the more manufactured genres of the time.
Country music rocketed in popularity and airtime during the beginning of the 1990s — it even had a cover story about its history and appeal in Time magazine. Aficionados will probably attribute a lot of 90s fame to the surge in people taking up line dancing. Even in the UK, many working men’s clubs had a weekly line dancing night and this helped songs like Achy Breaky Heart and Boot-Scootin Boogie ride high in the charts. As the decade progressed, artists like Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Dixie Chicks took a hold of the genre and helped to usher it into the consciousness of a younger audience. Almost certainly, it was this nudge into the ‘poppier’ mainstream arena during the 1990s that helped breathe new life into country music and make sure it made it into 2017.
The problem is, both these genres are raw and creative, inspiring millions of fans for so many years. Country songs all seem to tell a true-to-life story, while rock expresses all the emotions we want to show for us. Dare we draw another tie?
The 90s were a huge decade for music. If you want to check out our range of retro shoes, browse our men’s and women’s Gola Classics for the perfect throwback trend to suit your style.
Since launching debut album ‘Young Chasers’ in 2015, Liverpudlian-born band, Circa Waves, has made an incredible impact on the music scene. From sell-out tours to performances at Glastonbury, the band has grown both lyrically and musically to become one of the most respected bands on the circuit.
Currently on a UK tour and enjoying massive success with newly-released second album ‘Different Creatures’, Gola caught up with Circa Waves’ guitarist, songwriter and lead singer, Kieran Shundall, to find out more about the roots, present and future of Circa Waves.
There’s a significant change in sound between ‘Different Creatures’ and your first record ‘Young Chasers’. It’s a bit grittier and your lyrics are about darker themes, like alcoholism and depression. Was this shift a conscious decision with this record or was it something that came naturally from growing as part of Circa Waves?
KS: It was just what came out naturally when I started writing in early 2016. Our first record was more about looking back, but the lyrics in ‘Different Creatures’ are very present. It all came out of its own accord, really.
You worked with Alan Moulder on this album, who is the producer that worked with The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. These bands have quite a distinctively raw, distorted sound. Did you seek him out because you wanted that sound, was it something he just created organically, or was it a bit of both?
KS: A bit of both, really. Alan has made every legendary rock record and the great thing is that he has all the knowledge. If you want that specific sound, he’s usually got the pedal that did that sound.
I think we asked one time: “How do you get the snare sound from that record?” and he just texted Butch Vig and got whatever snare it was, whatever mic was used, and within two hours had them both there ready to go. He’s got such a wealth of knowledge and information to get what you need. He’s also really patient and able to reach inside an artist’s brain and pull out the best, which is great for us because we don’t speak fluent musical language.
It seems like you knew exactly how you wanted each instrument to sound in every song. When you were writing, did you have a clear idea of how you wanted the album to turn out?
KS: Yeah. A lot of the demos did sound quite similar to the end result you heard. I’ve got a meticulous ‘demo-ing’ obsession. I think it’s a good foundation to have for an artist to go into the studio and say: “Let’s just make this but do it better”. Obviously, Alan is very gifted at doing that.
As much as you seem to have a specific idea in mind with ‘Different Creatures’, it sounds completely natural and doesn’t come across as over-polished. For example, I noticed you chose to keep in a comment you make about someone texting you at the end of one of the songs on the album…
KS: That was actually all orchestrated! We did loads of fake overdubs.
Really?! So did Alan try to get the right mics for how you wanted that to come across?
KS: Nah, in all seriousness, it’s something that we’ve all always loved. Like when you listen to old Beatles records and you can hear them all talking to each other. As a listener, it sucks you in straight away, which is what you want. For me, I always remember being able to hear when the Arctic Monkeys click the distortion pedal off at the end of their first record.
It’s immersive, isn’t it? It takes you right into the studio.
KS: Yeah, you’re in the studio with them. I’ve always wanted that. No matter how big the production — and it’s big on some of these songs — I still want it to feel personal to everyone listening to us.
The album has been very successful so far. Do you feel you’ve now reached a place as a band, commercially or artistically, where you’re happy with where you are?
KS: No, I don’t think we’re content at all, really. We are really proud of what we have achieved and what we’ve done, but I don’t think we will ever think we have made it. Even when we’re headlining festivals, we’ll want to headline two festivals.
Any musician who is content should probably give up. You’ll stop making music that means something to you. We’ve got that drive and just want to keep moving up and up. We’re really happy with the album, but we want to keep pushing it as far as we can take it.
I think that takes a lot of confidence as a band. Is that how you feel?
KS: Yeah. I think when we first started we were just happy to actually be in a band. You get a record deal and take everything with a pinch of salt. You go: “Well, we’re just glad we’re here!”.
But over the last few years, we’ve seen the reactions that we’ve had and we’ve watched ourselves getting bigger and better. That alone makes you more confident. It’s hard not to be when you see 10,000 people singing your songs back to you! It’s such a massive boost. We want more of that.
It seems like Circa Waves is a band that has worked from the ground up. Do you think it’s harder, particularly as quite a working-class group, to take that path?
KS: I think we pride ourselves on being a live band that have toured continuously. Since we were all about 14 years old, we’ve been playing live and honing our craft, and we’re definitely happy to have made our name that way and not through some awful TV show.
We’ve played the toilet circuit (a network of small music venues that hosts rising rock, indie and metal bands) many times over to get to this point. Hopefully, people will see how we did it and it’ll inspire them to grow their own band that way and not look for the easy way into it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think you just have to go on ‘The Voice’, or whatever, to make it.
But, is it hard to support yourself when you’re starting out and not seeing that kind of success?
KS: When we were first in bands, we all had jobs and would practice at night. With Circa Waves, we got signed really early which gives you a foundation of cash to live on. Not much, but enough to get by and just concentrate on being a band and making music. So, I don’t know, sometimes you’ve just got to put yourself out there and do it.
You said you pride yourself on being a live band, as it’s where you built character and honed your craft. Is there any particular way you approach performing live? Is it an entirely different performance or do you go out and play with the same energy and enthusiasm that you did in the studio?
KS: I suppose it is a bit of a performance. I don’t walk around the way I do on stage in real life. You have to have a bit of swagger when you’re in front of people.
Yeah, I’m sure Nick Cave doesn’t walk around on stage the way he does in real life, either. You are playing a bit of a role, aren’t you?
KS: It is a bit of a role. I think we are very aware of our fans and they’ve all paid £15 to come and see us, so we owe them that amount of entertainment. We do put everything into it and at the end of each gig, we’re sweating and our hands are bleeding. I don’t know any other bands at the moment who are as active as us in our genre. We do absolutely give it everything.
Are there any other bands right now that inspire you?
KS: The Vryll Society. They’re really cool, sort of like early The Verve. I’ve always loved the singer, Mike Ellis. He’s such a confident guy and actually reminds me of a young Mick Jagger. He’s a brilliant songwriter, too, so I’m really intrigued to see what he does next. I also heard Zuzu on Huw Stephens recently, who’s really cool, and Clean Cut Kid are doing well at the moment, I think.
Do you put much thought into your fashion when you’re on stage? Is there an image you aspire to when you’re performing?
KS: Elvis. We all try to be Elvis… As a band, we try to put a bit of effort into our look but we don’t wear guy-liner. Yet.
So, when you talked about ambition, you meant glam rock?
KS: Yeah. Flares and guy-liner.
That could be the next stage for Circa Waves.
KS: That’s the next level.
Circa Waves are made up of bandmates Kieran Shudall, Sam Rourke, Colin Jones, and Joe Falconer. The boys are currently touring across the UK, supported by INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, and their latest album is available to buy now.