’It was a mindset’: Boy’s Own revives the revolutionary acid house fanzine as a clothing label

Launching during Photo London 2024, Boy’s Own is a new clothing line featuring graphics from the 1986-founded DIY fanzine that documented the UK’s acid house revolution. Here, one of its founders, Cymon Eckel, tells Ben Perdue the story behind the new project

Black and white images of boys in Boy’s Own rave T-Shirts
Boy’s Own Collection 1, which features graphics from the 1986-founded fanzine
(Image credit: Courtesy of Boy’s Own)

Forty pence won’t go far these days but if you knew where to look in the late 1980s, it got you a copy of Boy’s Own, the cult fanzine that doubled as a handbook to acid house. Their resale value today is enough to induce a nosebleed, but with a new fashion collection, Boy’s Own gives the next generation of ravers their chance to own a piece of dance music history.

Emerging as London’s house-music scene was taking shape and written by some of those at the centre of it, Boy’s Own documented the rave revolution from within. Sounds too grand to describe marked its debut in 1986, when founders Terry Farley, Cymon Eckel, Steve Mayes and the late Andrew Weatherall unleashed their unique take on fashion and music, where the worlds of clubbing and football culture collided.

Boy’s Own launches as part of Photo London 2024

Man in white jeans and Boy’s Own photo-print T-shirt

The collection, which also features photography from the zine, launches today (16 May 2024) as part of Dover Street Market London’s Photo London 2024 celebrations

(Image credit: Courtesy of Boy’s Own)

‘It was very organic,’ says Cymon Eckel. ‘Terry did the cheeky one-liners, terrace fashion and music. I carried a camera everywhere so was kind of the photographer. Steve was the political one, inputting from the edges. And Andrew was the arty grammar school kid doing most of the real work while Terry’s mum helped with the typing.’

Full of in-jokes, scathing reviews, and merciless with anyone wrecking their precious scene, it stood for speaking your mind – about people, parties and the world beyond. ‘It was always more of a mindset, and I’d love to reignite that now.’ An irrepressible energy lives on through the new edit of T-shirts printed with words, playlists and party pictures from its pages.

Boy’s Own Rave Zine cover featuring photocopied image of man cutter toddler's hair in barber

The first issue of Boy’s Own, which launched in 1986 and would come to document the acid house scene from within

(Image credit: Courtesy of Boy's Own)

More than just the voice of an era, Boy’s Own was the catalyst for many of its biggest parties and anthems, evolving into Boy’s Own Recordings and later the Junior Boy’s Own label. If the iconic names who contributed are any measure of the zine’s influence on 1990s dance music, they include fellow DJ and promoter Paul Oakenfold and club photographer Dave Swindells. Not only the first to write about acid house when its vanguard of holidaying Brits returned from Ibiza in 1988, they can even stake a claim to the much-loved expression ‘it’s all gone Pete Tong’.

‘Looking at it 30 years later Boy’s Own feels like art, which is the last thing we intended,’ says Eckel. ‘It was designed using Pritt Stick then printed on at our mate’s work after everyone had gone home.’ Reimagined as a series of tees – which launch today at Dover Street Market London as part of Photo London 2024, with further stockists to follow – the raw DIY look resonates even more now than it did then. While the gang were too busy living it to notice, with hindsight we know just how much of an impact the zine had on British nightlife history, and in turn contemporary fashion and street culture.

Man facing away from the camera wearing jeans and Boy’s Own T-shirt

A T-shirt featuring a graphic from Boy’s Own’s 1992-founded Junior Boy’s Own label, which featured releases from The Chemical Brothers, Black Science Orchestra, Underworld and more

(Image credit: Courtesy of Boy’s Own)

The collection captures the Boy’s Own adventures with Clockwork Orange-inspired iconography alongside rave pictures, original clippings and playlists. From epic Dave Swindells photos and charts of ‘chunky tunes’ to features like ‘Bermondsey Goes Balearic’ and pictures of the original line-up. A trip through acid house’s raving pantomime cows and truncheon-wielding bobbies.

‘Even after a few years off we’ve not had to create an all-new Boy’s Own,’ says Eckel. ‘We just applied a fresh lens for today’s landscape while staying true to the emotion, politics and cultural responsibility we originally set out with. If our legacy is reminding people about that, I’m happy.’

Boy’s Own launches tonight (16 May 2024) at Dover Street Market London, before arriving at stores including End and Goodhood.


Ben Purdue is a writer, editor and creative director with over 20 years experience and has contributed fashion, arts and culture content to The Face, 032c, AnOther, Another Man, Arena Homme+, GQ Style, LOVE, Pop and Wallpaper*. He has worked as a fashion consultant for contemporary brands, and founded his own jewellery label. Ben currently leads copy and editorial across a range of fashion and luxury projects at Spring Studios, from creating coffee table books to film scripts and everything in between.