Fem Top Wanderers, Butch Bitch United, Prissy Pansy Panthers and Rim Job Rangers shout from Frank Strachan's take on the classic football supporter's scarf, created under the brand of Frank's Locker. Together, the message and its medium make for a satisfyingly jarring pairing, an unabashed queering of what, too often, seems to be an impenetrable bastion of homointolerance and macho masculinity. Here, masc offers its take on Frank's Locker and gets to know Frank, the man, a bit better. Photography Kenny Whittle. Styling Stephen Moloney. Face Nico Wagner. Scarves Frank's Locker. Grooming Barbiere.
Hi Frank! How are you? I’m very well thank you! Just on the way to the gym, I've been a bit lazy of late, whilst working on Kylie’s [Minogue] Christmas show at the Royal Albert Hall.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. I was born in Blackpool, the middle child of seven, where I lived until moving to London in 1999 to study fashion at Central Saint Martins. I've lived in London ever since, working as a stylist in the music industry, dressing popstars.
You grew up in Blackpool – what was that like? Does it influence your work? It must do. Blackpool is an incredible place, with a very strong aesthetic, which I appreciate. The gay scene in Blackpool is one of the friendliest I know, and starting off as a wide-eyed sixteen year old, it couldn't have been more exciting. It took me a while to appreciate the phoney twee of Brighton, after the honest mess of Blackpool seafront.
Where and how did the idea for Frank’s Locker originate? I had been mulling it over for quite some time. I love the masculine wardrobe staple of a soccer scarf, the flash of colour around a guys neck, that symbolises so much for him. At the same time, my relationship with sport as a young teenager had been scarred with homophobia. I wanted to subvert the footy scarf, and create something fun to wear, at the same time throwing back a fuck you to bigots.
What are you trying to achieve with Frank’s Locker? Funny, colourful beautiful scarves. I have some great new ones in production for next year, which open their appeal to new audiences and at the same time are hilarious. The great thing is that when you wear them, you can't read the team names so they're less offensive than you might think. And much easier to wear, but they always get a laugh when people realise.
Frank’s Locker is playfully subversive, and in a previous interview you described [the title of] your print project The Most Beautiful Man In The World as “tongue in cheek” – do you approach everything you do with that kind of humour? Why? I guess I enjoy the lighter side of my industry. I don't see myself as an underground artist, I love pop culture, colour, and I want to entertain people. Both projects took me some years before anyone saw the fruits of my labour, as I was also working on other projects for people, whereas these were entirely personal, so maybe the humorous lighter element to it is what kept driving me to work on them.
Do you plan to expand beyond scarves? Would you go full kit? I made some trunks out of panels of scarf pieces and a store was trying to get me to produce them, so I have been considering adding to the range. I'd love to create more sports pieces, so who knows!
Gear only club nights, football hooligan and locker room themed porn; wrestling singlets and jockstraps; a Tumblr page for every single sweaty and sporty niche you could think of– what is it about the culture of sport [or the fantasy of sport] that gets men who fancy men going? I'm no expert, but I think part of it is probably the intrigue of a world in which we've not been part of previously, whether due to being ostracised by others, or our own fears and inhibitions. The seemingly hyper-masculine world of sport is incredibly intoxicating.
Prissy Pansy Panthers, Rim Rob Rangers, Butch Bitch United, Fem Top Wanderers – which one do you support? They're all ridiculous, and were each inspired by friends or conversations with friends about who they would support. I love Fem Top Wanderers for the brilliant mixed-message when it comes to the sexual identity pigeonholing that sex apps create. But I'm Rim Job Rangers all the way.
How does your identity as a gay man inform what you do and how you do it, if at all? Oh that's a hard one, and so difficult to answer. Coming from a huge family, my siblings are all so diverse. It's probably my upbringing that informs my identity much more than my sexuality. Having said that, there are fewer rules to live by as a gay man, and different measures to success or indicators of happiness.
Anything else on you would like to get off your mind while I have you? I want to create a soccer scarf for a charity who works against homophobia in sport – who should I partner with?!