Charlie Ballet

As the founder of Royal Ragz, Charlie Ballet has become one of Manchester's most respected vintage sellers. Originally born in Bristol, he moved north and now combines his vintage selling with a multi-hyphenate approach to work, including styling, photography and clothing rentals.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Charlie Ballet, from Royal Ragz, I’m 27 years old and from Bristol in Somerset. I sell clothes, I take photos, I style, I do rentals. Any kind of freelance job from a brand that I feel like relates to myself, I'll work with and do. If I feel like I'm capable, I'll do it, basically.

What’s your story with the Baracuta G9 jacket?

It actually wasn’t too long ago. A very good friend of mine was working on a project with Baracuta, and they shot photos of people running and cycling, going through London. That was the first time that I discovered Baracuta myself. And then I looked at the brand, I got the Needles x Baracuta jacket, and it's different to any jacket that I'd ever owned.

It opened up different doors in terms of how I can style it, because I haven't had a jacket that's cropped like this, but it's fitted the way I like it, and I have pieces to complement it nicely. Baracuta for me has only been a very recent thing, I'm not going to lie. But I'm glad that it has been a recent thing because it's opened doors.

So, as a vintage expert, what do you think about the history and design of our iconic G9 jacket?

I love it personally. I feel like a lot of other brands have taken reference from this jacket. I've sold many jackets that have been so, so, similar to one of these. I feel like Baracuta’s G9 has had a big influence in vintage fashion, and fashion in general. The shape is obviously something that you guys have done, and then other people have referenced it and tried to make it their own, but they won't be the same as the original one, because it stands on its own, doesn't it?

Can we talk about your tattoos? Why do you have a medieval scene on your back?

All of the people that have done my tattoos, more often than not, they've been very good friends of mine. And the guy that did my back piece, for example, he's a skater from Bristol, who's also a tattoo artist, and we've known each other for a long time. He did one on me and his style is medieval, so we thought we'd do a medieval battlefield with a burning church or castle, or whatever we ended up doing. We call it the Battle of Bristol, just because we're both from there.

None of them have any particular meaning, but I’ve always been interested. In science class you'd get a printed piece of paper, and it'd have the human body on. You were supposed to point out the organs and stuff. Rather than doing that, I would draw tattoos onto them. So, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be tattooed, but I'm glad that I've decided to get heavily tattooed now, and I've got what I wanted, because it would have been quite embarrassing if I started getting tattoos when I was 16 years old.

There are so many items in fashion history that have influenced trends, do you think the G9 could potentially be one of them?

I think people in my generation need to be more aware of the brand, maybe it appeals to an older crowd, or the crowd that were originally into it are still into it. As I only discovered it recently, I feel like other people like myself would also like it. For instance, I haven’t taken mine off since I got it, and then when I wore a new one in the Manchester weather. It was raining so hard but the rain was beading up and pouring off. So, they’re actually great jackets. I don’t feel like my age group are too aware as of yet, but they should definitely be more so.

As people often identify the G9 Harrington as a core piece of British culture, what does Britishness mean for you?

Britishness is fish and chips, drinking Stella in the park, rave music, terrible weather. I could go on for days. I’m sure you understand.