Wayne Hemingway was born in 1961 in the typical seaside town, Morecambe.
Maybe not the most appropriate surroundings for one of Britain’s most acclaimed designers, but then Wayne never has been very appropriate anyway.
Wayne’s earliest memories are of his mum and Nan dressing him up as Elvis, a Beatle or Tarzan and being paraded up and down Morecambe pier (evidence available!) or being held aloft in a wrestling ring by his Red Indian father, Billy Two Rivers.
These early child-modelling stints went some way towards influencing the youth who was forever experimenting with styles and cultures and reinventing himself whenever the next big “thing” came along.
In 1979 he went on to undertake another “inappropriate” move for a future fashion designer by gaining a Degree in Geography and Town Planning at University College, London. The move that sealed Wayne’s fate was taken to fuel funds for the band that he then played in (he says that he’s burned the evidence but we know where it is!). One day he decided to empty his wardrobe and that of his childhood sweetheart (now wife Gerardine) and took the contents to sell on Camden Market.
The realization that money could be made from fashion suddenly dawned. With Gerardine, Wayne built Red or Dead into a label that received global acclaim resulting in winning the prestigious British Fashion Council’s Streetstyle Designer of the Year Award for an unprecedented 3 consecutive years in 1996, 1997 and 1998. After 21 consecutive seasons on the catwalk at London Fashion Week, Wayne and Gerardine sold Red or Dead in a multi million cash sale.
In 1999, having sold Red or Dead they set up HemingwayDesign, which specializes in affordable and social design. The highest profile project is, The Staiths South Bank, a 800 property mass market housing project on Tyneside for Taylor Wimpey Homes where HemingwayDesign are involved from the master planning, the architecture through to the landscaping and marketing of this groundbreaking project. Over 400 homes are now lived in and The Staiths has won a series of high profile awards including Housing Design Awards (best large project) and Building Magazine’s “Best Housing-Led Regeneration Project” as well as a Building For Life and the highest rating of any large-scale scheme in a recent CABE audit.
Other housing projects include a new settlement of 3000 homes in Lothian and a city centre affordable apartment regeneration in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, The Birchin. Working with Taylor Wimpey and Broadway Malyan they worked on the masterplan for one of the first Thames Gateway schemes in Dartford and won against stiff opposition.
The “Bridge” scheme is currently in the second phase of construction, first residents have moved in and it continues to sell well.
Wayne is the Chairman of Building for Life, a CABE (Commission for Architecture and The Built Environment) funded organization that promotes excellence in the quality of design of new housing. www.buildingforlife.org.
He got an MBE in June 06 Queens Birthday List, is a Professor in The Built Environment Department of Northumbria University, a Doctor of Design at Wolverhampton , Lancaster and Stafford and a Fellow of Blackburn College (Just call him Prof Doc, Doc , Doc Wayne Hemingway MA, BSc Esquire).