In October 1971 Malcolm McLaren and his art-school friend Patrick Casey opened a small stall selling original rock & roll vinyl, magazines, clothing and memorabilia from the 1950s in the back section of a shop called Paradise Garage at 430 King's Road in London's Chelsea district. After a few weeks they took over the whole store and renamed it Let It Rock, augmenting the stock with repaired and freshly made Teddy Boy clothes designed by McLaren's school-teacher girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. In 1972 the outlet was renamed Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die and restocked with clothing evoking early 60s "rocker" culture and in 1974 refitted and restocked again with rubber and leather fetish wear and renamed SEX.
At this time SEX was the only boutique of its kind in the world. By 1977 when British punk rock developed a mass following, there were imitators including BOY (also in the King's Road). SEX customers included Adam Ant, The Sex Pistols, the Bromley Contingent while store workers included Glen Matlock, Sid Vicious, Chrissie Hynde and Jordan. This store's notorious designs included T-shirts baring the images of the Cambridge Rapist, semi-naked cowboys, bare breasts, pornographic text by Alexander Trocchi and other provocative graphics.
In December 1976 430 King's Road was renamed Seditionaries which reflected the growing popularity of the Sex Pistols by introducing a number of new designs, including the Anarchy shirt, Bondage suits, parachute tops and a range of footwear. There is now a healthy worldwide trade in reproductions of this range, to which McLaren and Westwood have never objected. However, in 2007 McLaren launched an ongoing campaign against the sale of high-priced counterfeit goods claiming to be original items, which he says have been sold to auction houses, museums and celebrity private collectors.
"I wanted a major, major, major change. I thought we can't keep selling these old remnants and things, we've got to do something tougher and harder: it's all too sweet, and the store, for fuck's sake, is too goddamn popular. So it's got to close, no question about it. No more brothel creepers, no more drainpipes, no more of this rock 'n' roll clothing and get rid of that fucking jukebox" ~Malcolm McLaren
2. Rotten - No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs by John Lydon. Publisher: Picador, 1995. ISBN 0-312-11883-X.