Gay professor with a passion for fashion | Letters

The group the Village People influenced gay fashion in the late 1970s and 80s. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As a gay man in the 1950s, Brian Abel-Smith reluctantly gave up the offer of a safe MP’s seat (Hugh Dalton’s), and instead forged a brilliant career as an academic, political adviser and welfare services expert (in the UK and worldwide). From 1965 he built a chain of high-end men’s clothes shops called Just Men, with his barrister brother Lionel, who was also gay. They referred to their business as “Only Just Men”, as it was popular with gay men in London, as well as with a celebrity clientele including the Who and the Rolling Stones (The evolution of gay style, G2, 26 April). Many of Brian’s close colleagues knew nothing about his other lives until I published my biography of him, A Passionate Economist. How many university professors could now also run an international fashion business alongside their day jobs?
Professor Sally Sheard
University of Liverpool