During my early 20’s, my fashion style was defined by one man: Ray Petri. The look of the 80’s is hard to pin down. Was it Goth? New Romantic? The daggy look embraced by the cast of Stranger Things? Top Gun? Madonna?

One look stood out for me: Buffalo. UK magazines The Face and Arena embraced this new look and was nothing like what had come before. The feminine, androgynous look of Boy George was gone. The dark and dirty look of Goth rejected. (I was a Goth up until this moment) 

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Jamie Morgan

“What we were doing was very experimental, alive, it wasn’t contrived. We had no idea we were creating a fashion legacy. We were just very in-tune with what we liked” – Jamie Morgan 

Buffalo was tough, cool, clean, clear and sharp. Sportswear mashed with military, hats were embraced and suave, modern style emerged. 

The leader of this new look was fashion stylist (a new term) was the Australian/English Ray Petri and his posse of Buffalo. Amongst the ranks were Naomi Campbell, Mitzi Lorenz, Neena Cherry and photographer Jamie Morgan.

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Jamie Morgan

Ray Petri defined the 80’s and defied the rules of fashion: Men in skirts, sportswear as fashion and most importantly, black models. Black models were unheard of in magazines at the time. Petri changed that.

His fashion styling for The Face magazine blew everything that had come before out of the water. 

Ray Petri and Buffalo

Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo David Lachapelle

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Jamie Morgan

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Jamie Morgan

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo-photo-Cameron McVey

 

Here were tough, cool men not afraid to wear a skirt, wear their underwear with Doc Martens, be proudly gay and look amazing doing it. 

I took to this look like a duck to water. Although not gay, I gravitated towards liberated gay friends who were fashion-forward too. Looking tough in a skirt was (and still is) a good look to pull off.

Ray Petri paved the way for fashion styling like nobody had done before.

Sadly he passed away not long after his rise to fame, from HIV. Like many guys I knew back then, they never made it past the nineties.

 

Barry Kamen – “He took these kids off the street and put them in front of the camera for the first time. A mixed-race boy is now the normal, quintessential, good-looking boy, but at the time it was shocking.”

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo-photo Jamie Morgan

Jamie Morgan – “Felix was the son of a friend that we knew. He was a 13-year-old boy, but had the face of an elder person. To me, from a photographic point of view, it was a direct kick against the photography that was happening at the time in fashion magazines – pretty, colourful, female images.

All photos are from the book ‘Buffalo’ which is hard to get and expensive, but for me it is worth every cent because it defined my fashion esthetic, and I can clearly see my photography was shaped by Jamie Morgan and the the Buffalo photographers.

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Norman Watson

Ray Petri and Buffalo Ray Petri and Buffalo- photo Jamie Morgan

Ray Petri and Buffalo

Ray Petri 

Best wishes until next time,

Don

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