About Earl of Bedlam
Founded in 2010, Earl of Bedlam is a South London fashion house that takes its name - and a certain unconventional spirit - from the Bethlehem Hospital that was once in the nearby Imperial War Museum.
The label is Goldsmith College trained Mark Wesley and his partner Caroline Butler. Mark left school in Catford, SE London, at the age of fifteen and became one of the more poseable personalities at the West End clubs of the early 80s that fused music and fashion. He taught himself to sew in order to have the best outfits . He began making clothes for friends and then enrolled for his Fashion Foundation course at Goldsmiths.
Needing to pause the party he settled on the Cote d’Azur where he used local tailors and factories to make small runs of clothes under the name “Sex & Violence”, supplying stores along the coast and in Paris.
Caroline started her nightclub career while still at RADA, indefinitely postponing her career as a movie star to host the smokey VIP lounge at Heaven. She sang and presided over a jam session that became a portable fiesta, moving around London’s more dissolute dives of distinction including the Wag and Limelight. This led to her working in the music business, managing Moving Shadow Records, where she worked with Goldie, before having her own label Partisan Recordings. She went on to be Marketing Director at One Little Indian, with a tribe of rare artists known for their daring and style, most famously Björk. She managed various artists including Sneaker Pimps.
Like Mark, she adored the theatre of this life and its opportunities for dressing up and nightly reinvention. The two met while launching a UK label for which Mark was designing and she was writing. While promoting that in New York, they booked Sid & Nancy’s suite at the Chelsea Hotel to showcase the clothes and were summoned to Vogue to present themselves there. It was then they decided to put their efforts into themselves. “Gangs of New York with an Oliver Twist” was their original script. The former of those stories was set in Five Points on the Lower East Side of New York. Lately they discovered their home of Kennington was historically referred to as “Five Bridges” - the loop of the Thames means all the best bridges lead to Bedlam.
Earl of Bedlam has an admiration for antique styling and an old fashioned respect that believes being well turned out is the compliment you pay not just yourself but everyone you encounter on your daily adventure – at least it will be when you’re dressed by them.
No client of Bedlam would run down the road shouting, "Look at me! I'm mad for fashion!" but they can expect to solicit admiring double takes and slow down traffic.