1984 – 1998
The first 14 years of my life were nothing out of the ordinary for a typical child in the North of the UK. I was born in Huddersfield on the 26th of April 1984 to my English mother and Iranian father who had come over to study in the UK during the 1970s. The name ‘Arash’ comes from a heroic archer figure from Iranian folklore. My father worked for a soft drinks manufacturer and my mother worked in retail selling beauty cosmetics, before moving on to working in a designer fashion boutique.
I attended a local infants and junior school until I was 11 years old. While I was quite an introverted sort I got on with people quite easily and found it easy to make friends, a trait that would stay with me. Next up was high school, during this period of time I really started taking an interest in music, clothes and girls. As I was shy and lacked any real confidence especially when it came to being around girls, clothes in my eyes were one way of trying to impress. I guess in the same way a peacock tries to impress lady peacocks with it’s array of multicoloured feathers, in my case multi coloured tracksuits, we’ve all had our fashion mistakes.
At the beginning of high school I was just starting to become interested in music, in my younger years the only thing I ever listened to was Michael Jackson and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soundtrack. Hip hop took over my life it was pretty much all I listened to and it definitely had an impact on what I wore. At the same time I started playing a lot of basketball, I ended up becoming quite good and eventually got selected to play for my town and my county before having trials for the North of England team. Again my confidence let me down I shyed away and didn’t want to be seen by those selecting the team, needless to say I didn’t get picked.
When I turned 14 I started attending a local youth club with some of my close friends, we used to go hang out, play basketball and eat sweets. I used to be really particular about the clothes I wore, everything had to be branded as I was socialising with girls now, trainers from the market were out, Nikes were in. You could see the influences from basketball and Hip hop in what I wore, everything was baggy, in fact it was just way too big for me and most of stuff I chose were sports brands. But I wanted to look good that was the key thing, I wanted to impress the girls with what I was wearing, I made sure everything I had was always fresh and clean and I was always colour co-ordinated.
I remember one particular night there was a disco at the youth club and me and my friends made a special effort. I had sought out a yellow and white checked Ben Sherman shirt, they’d made a come back at the time, some sand coloured khaki trousers and wore them with a fresh pair of Fila trainers. In hindsight I know I probably looked like a car crash especially with the Peter Andre style centred parting hair do that had so much cheap gel in it was rock hard. But hey, I was 14 and experimenting. You’re probably thinking that I was a bit of a chav growing up, however quite the contrary, at the time the word didn’t even exist, everyone around my age group were dressing the same way.