Function One

Helen & Kay
Mathew Carl Lucian

Situated in Hull City Centre, 3 minutes walk from the train and bus stations, opposite the Cecil cinema and a famous DIY store. What could be more safe and mundane?
Even as you enter the shopping complex “Experience” you are aurally massaged into a false sense of security by the sounds of familiar alternative records. However, should you take a few steps further from the front entrance; should you choose to walk all the way to the back of the record store, would you be the one of the chosen and daring, who would be tempted to descend the metallic stairs .... beckoned by the dull red glow into the hollows of Function One?
Function One, not only a shop, but an attitude, suitably placed in the underground basement of Experience.
Function One has been notorious in Hull for some time now. Twelve years ago, it was thrust onto the Hull scene by Derek Bielby. Even at its conception, it was not only an outlet for those who dress to shock and question, but also a meeting place where attitudes beyond the normal could be freely expressed and discussed.
Function One has gripped tightly to its identity, refusing to submit to the whims of fashion or ebbs and flows of public opinion. Today, it still rejects categorisation.
Take the plunge into the depths of Experience, and at first you will be assaulted by the strong and tangible atmosphere of the place. A rubine glow from below may be your first inking of what you are about to let yourself in for. However, as you hit the metal footplate, you will trigger off a sudden blast of light as the sensors are activated by your very presence and body heat.
Strangely textured tactile walls, metal chain hangings, oppressive low beamed ceilings and stark verticals of corrugated tubing. Function One is a fantasy inspired by the art of Giger’s BioMechanics, similarly using the opposing contrasts and blunt mechanics and suggestively human curved mouldings.
This contrast is carried through into the Urban range of clothing also available therein. Another brilliantly deviant inspiration of Derek Bielby. Latex printed clothing in circuit board and spiky spine prints use the strange combination of harsh mechanical imagery to bedeck the soft curves of the female form. The Urban divers is also available in leather with its connotations of rebellion and street wise violence.
However, Function One does not stop at merely leather or female clothing. It also has an impressively large range of gloss PVC clothing and accessories in both male and female styles. Clinging dresses, long shiny gloves, gleaming tops, jeans and underwear. The gloss range is extensive and spans from black through a colour range of red, metallic blue and silver to pink and white.
No serious fetish shop would be without a rubber range. Again, Function One provides for both men and women from conventional T-shirts, made unconventional by the use of such strange erotic fabric, to dresses that fit like second skins.
Down a dank, dark engine room style alleyway, there even lurks a selection of specialist footwear. From gladiator, jack and para boots for the Urban Warrior, to the spiked stiletto and winkle picker styles in shoes, ankles and, especially, thigh boots.
This passage also frames one of the most commented on features of Function One - the red laser show, whose wild patterns glance off the shadow shrouded silhouette of an electric chair, an apt “friend” to the other piece of dubious furnishing that graces Function One, the antique leather bound dentist chair.
Body jewellry from Wildcat, thumb, hand/leg cuffs and manacles; studded belts, buckles, body harnesses and boot straps. Function One has everything for both the fetish or stylish.
So. What type of person frequents such an establishment? Goths, glammies, bikers, punks, serious clubbers and those that want an outfit to shock, but of course Function One are proud to have a large TV and fetish clientele.
And this brings us the strange dichotomy of the Function One cult. Determined not to preach just to the converted, they try to close and divide between those that wear such clothing as a momentary fad in style and those that wear it for sensual stimulation and pleasure with belief.
Derek, creator of the Function One dogma, uses the following quote to sum up the be all and end all of the shop’s philosophy -”The fish that never deviated didn’t become an amphibians.” Taken from the magazine “Answer Me” by Jim Good.
Function One believes that questioning your sense of style, daring to deviate beyond the normal of chain stores and T-shirt convention may have a domino effect. Along with the “look” and shattering of conventions of what you should and should not wear may come a similar collapse of the conventions and morals of society. Why are we forced into stereotyped moulds? Why is our sexuality dictated to us? Why are we taught to follow and not lead? Why is individuality something to ridicule and not elevate? The Devonic church - The first cult of deviancy - can answer many of the questions, a chance for individuals network contact The Reverend at Function One for an Amphibians Manifesto.
The questions are endless. For those of you that dare to deviate, make a special trip and experience Function One’s basement.
Function One, at the moment are in the process of producing their own mail order catalogue. This will allow Function One’s own ideas on fashion to expand to the rest of the world.
Ever expanding, and always looking for new ideas, Derek has a full range of imaginative designs that he would like to produce, using more industrial methods of production, such as, die casting and injection moulding. Unfortunately this takes money and at the moment Function Ones funds do not run to the capital outlay required, but hopefully this is not too far away. With a complete wardrobe of chainmail fashions and other such clothes awaiting production.
Function One is a shop with attitude, they know what they want to do and they do it, no matter what anyone else says. They’re here to stay, and they mean business. Watch out for their new catalogue, which should be an interesting trip into the extraordinary world of Function One.