Killer! Mavericks! Style! Substance! Pure Genius!

These are but a few words that spring to mind upon seeing the amazing work of the genius stylist Ray Petri and his Buffalo Collective. No matter how much time passes since the 1980s creative movement, it always remains inspiring to see the work up close and talk to the people involved.

Wednesday evening proved to be another wonderful opportunity for this with the ‘Spirit of Buffalo’ event. At the Protein Gallery in New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, Dr Martens presented the archival work of the Buffalo Collective, as well as showcased their own AW’15 collection. The launch was hosted by two of the key Buffalo members, photographer Jamie Morgan and stylist Barry Kamen. It also marked the 30th anniversary of Petri’s iconic Buffalo shot ‘Killer’.

An amazing video, directed by Morgan and titled “The Spirit of Buffalo" in memory of Ray Petri, was played to the gathered guests to begin the evening. It summarised the legacy of Buffalo and how it has lived on through to modern day. The video, dubbed by Swedish-born singer and songwriter Neneh Cherry, starts in post-Thatcher Britain with the very rebellious Buffalo crew in their raw beginnings, before moving on to show how they took the world by storm.

The video encompassed all that Buffalo was – mixed cultures, rebellion, hard, cool, true style, a new wave of fashion, music and most of all, it was a family.

Sadly, when Petri died in 1989, the Buffalo crew dispersed and so did its spirit. Yet it was not lost for long; fast forward to 2015 where the Buffalo style is expressed through the next generation of Buffalo and through the collaborative work of Kamen and Morgan, and where Petri’s influence is repeatedly seen permeating through designer collections and editorial styling.

Asked where Petri would be today, he was lost for words, saying: “I’d hope he would be happy and rich! Back then we weren’t making much money… By the time the big names like Armani came calling, it was too late for Ray who was already ill.

Following the opening video, ‘Spirit of Buffalo’ continued with a panel discussion featuring Morgan, Kamen, designer Martine Rose, journalist Murray Healy and aspiring photographer Bardha Krasniqi. From the moment they all first stumbled across Buffalo to their first pair of Dr Martens, we were able to listen and visualise the iconic moments first-hand from such great influential minds.

Long live the Buffalo Spirit!

A silence came over the crowd as Morgan reminisced about working with his dear friend, Ray Petri. Asked where Petri would be today, he was lost for words, saying: “I’d hope he would be happy and rich! Back then we weren’t making much money… By the time the big names like Armani came calling, it was too late for Ray who was already ill.” The night truly was a reminder of how, when great minds with integrity come together, they can truly stand the test of time and continue inspiring many generations to come.

Read More: “Ray Petrie: The Man and His Legacy

Read More: “Dr Martens: Shoes With A Soul

Words: Campbell Addy

Image Source: Contact sheet of The Face, March 1985 cover by Jamie Morgan and Styling by the Late Ray Petri