Fashion and music are inextricably linked. Liverpool band Little Triggers are making a big impression on the music scene with their late 60s and early 70s musical and fashion influences. Their charismatic lead singer and lead guitarist, Tom Hamilton Hughes combines the looks of Marc Bolan with the guitar wizardry of Jimi Hendrix. Jane Davies went along to find out more about Little Triggers, their music and unique fashion style.
As expected, Tom arrives for our meet up wearing a vintage leather jacket and vintage printed shirt. “This is actually a women’s jacket”, he confesses, “don’t you notice the buttons are on the left side? At this point I don’t fully appreciate the significance of the women’s clothing reference, but all is revealed later on in the interview.
Tom’s interest in vintage fashion was sparked after watching Quadrophenia. He took the Mod movement as his inspiration behind his first band The 45. The band reflected this style with three button suits and skinny ties and cravats, citing The Who and Small Faces as their main influences. A self taught teen guitar prodigy, whilst still at school in Carlisle, Tom took his band around bingo halls and holiday parks in Whitehaven and Maryport earning as he says, “a decent wedge” .
Little Triggers was born when Tom moved to Liverpool to study music. His fellow band members include the self confessed “Keith Moon of the Keyboards” James, bassist Chris and drummer Sam.
JD: So who are your musical influences?
THH: “Charlie Patten, Chuck Berry, Mersey Beat, Hollies, Mud, David Bowie, Dr Feelgood and The New York Dolls.
JD: Whose music have you been listening to today?
THH: “I love T Rex. Today I had ‘Rock On on repeat, love it. I like other 70s stuff. I love the New York Dolls, that’s just me, the rest of the band hate them. They had outrageous fuck off clothes and they wore women’s clothes”. A remark which leads us to define Tom’s own unique style.
JD: So define your fashion style then…
THH: “My style is late 60s, early 70s; Hendrix, jazzy keks and scarves, half transvestite, little bit groovy. Bit of a nobhead, a try hard”.
Intrigued, I ask where Tom sources his fashion finds. “Everything comes from a charity shop, or a few chain stores like Marks and Spencer Woman or Primark Women’s section. Women’s collars are more interesting too. You get all sorts of collars, not like men’s shirts. “
As a student, he has a strict budget and will trawl the charity shops on a weekly basis. If he is off on his travels he will check out local shops. He particularly rates Oxfam but remarks that as everything is set out there and is of higher quality they demand higher prices. He will pay up to £7 for a shirt and £25 for a leather jacket. The only things he usually buys new are skinny jeans from Top Man and footwear.
What Tom wears on a daily basis depends on his plans for the day. If he is going to the shops he won’t wear a shirt and scarf. If he is going to university or out, the outrageous stuff comes out.
JD: What is your most expensive fashion buy?
THH: “I spent £ 325 on a Charcoal Tonic Blend 3 button suit from Jump the Gun in Brighton when I was in the 45.” I ask him if he has a favourite designer label and he replies “Lonsdale, I don’t like brands.”
In the days of the 45, Tom straightened his naturally curly locks into a sleek straight style with swinging fringe. The only problem with this was in a place like Carlisle where it is prone to rain quite a bit, more often than not his hair would turn into an Afro style as soon as he set foot outside. Nowadays, Tom uses curl reviver and hair spray to keep his noodle style hair in tip top condition.
I ask Tom if he follows a specific health regime to maintain his svelte frame. “I eat a lot of fruit. I like oatcakes. I also like chips cheese and gravy. It sounds horrible, but it’s amazing. There is nothing better than that. Try it.”
Most treasured clothes
Surprisingly, Tom’s favourite item of clothing is not a pair of hand made leather shoes but a 2002 Arsenal home kit. He is known to dress down and don sportswear. He is the proud owner of a red Fred Perry Tracksuit and various Samba and Gazelle trainers by Adidas.
Latest fashion finds
For a recent mini tour to China, Tom purchased a union jack suit which cost him the grand sum of £99. He also found a tailor made 90’s lime green leather jacket in a retro shop in Chester that came with a skirt, but he let the shop keep the skirt. Whilst in China, Tom did not buy any silk clothes, preferring to buy a replica Arsenal kit with ‘Alexis’ written on the back.
We conclude our chat by discussing some of his wardrobe highlights which have featured in videos and on stage.
Exhibit 1 .Photo Credit, Little Triggers, taken from their video for Silly Cigarettes Acoustic.
Exhibit one is a cream fringed jacket ensemble on the acoustic video for “Silly cigarettes”.
THH: “This is a bit Buffalo Springfield. The shirt has a heart print on it and I got it in Chester for £2.The leather is from Pop Boutique. So nice, I had to buy it.”
Exhibit two is from the early days of the 45.
Exhibit two: Photo credit: The Culture Journal
THH: “The leather jacket was a present from Pretty Green. I ruined it with ketchup during a food fight in McDonalds. It’s too big for me now and a bit boring.”
Exhibit Three: Photo credit Get into this.
Exhibit three is an ensemble worn at a gig at the Buyer’s Club when Tom was taken ill on stage and had to dash off before bravely returning to finish off the set.
THH: “The jacket is from Zara, Women’s section in the sale for £20. I got the cravat from Sohos for a fiver, trousers from Delicious Junction”
Exhibit Four: Photo credit: Get into this
Exhibit four is an outfit worn at the Zanzibar when Tom threw a band’s amp off stage as they were too slow to vacate it.
THH: “The embroidered jeans were a tenner from TK Maxx. The jacket is from Next Women’s Section.”
As we go our separate ways, I can’t help thinking that at some point I will bump into him in Zara or TK Maxx in Liverpool 1, weighing up the bargains in the petite sizes…..
Now you know what they look like, so In the meantime if you want to know what they sound like, here is their latest single:
Photo Credit: Corey Rid at La di Da
The Union Jack jacket on tour in China