Brooklyn Beckham on finding love, family and living up to mum and dad — ‘I tell my siblings not to make the mistakes I did’

·9-min read
Brooklyn Beckham in the new Superdry campaign (Superdry)
Brooklyn Beckham in the new Superdry campaign (Superdry)

It’s weird having a fiancée,” says Brooklyn Beckham, the eldest of David and Victoria’s brood. “But I love it.” He has a doting look on his face as he tells me how he proposed to American actress Nicola Anne Peltz last autumn. There were already signs that he was committed — for one thing he got her eyes tattooed on the back of his neck last year. They peep out unnervingly from beneath his black cord jacket when he turns.

“I was so nervous about asking her to marry me that I couldn’t open the wine,” says Beckham, 22. He is friendly and polite, with a gentle voice, and looks young to be thinking about marriage. And he still speaks like a teenager, peppering his speech with the word “like”.

“I took her up to, what’s that little thing called?” He looks at his two assistants sitting across the table, who tell him he means a gazebo. “Then I thought I lost the ring. I’ve never been engaged before obviously,” he says, laughing nervously. “When I gave her a ring I thought ‘I want one too’, so she gave me one. My fiancée is the best.” He looks like a human version of the heart eyes emoji when he talks about Peltz, 26, who he mentions 10 times in the space of 15 minutes. His family were thrilled — his sister Harper Seven, 10, and Peltz made him a bracelet with her initials on, which he never takes off.

Beckham has flown in from his home in Los Angeles for the launch of the Superdry megastore on Oxford Street, where Forever 21 used to be. He’s signed a £1 million deal to be the brand’s face, spreading its message of sustainable fashion, and is excited about the launch party. “I’m weird about little details so I love all the wood in the shop,” he says, stroking the table. “I love the wood’s musky dirt scent, it’s my favourite smell. And I’ve seen there’s a gin bar in the shop.”

Jet lag aside, he is glad to be back in the UK — “it’s too hot for me in LA, I miss the weather here, frosty mornings are the best. And I miss British pubs and food like my nana’s roast dinner. But we bounce around where we can.”

Beckham has grown up in the public eye. His parents were Nineties celebrity royalty, so famous that they had to drive to a Harvester car park for dates because it was the only place they wouldn’t be caught by paparazzi, delighted by the union of Golden Balls and Posh Spice. When Beckham was born in 1999, it was front page news. It was reported that his parents chose his name because he was conceived in New York but his mother has since said that she just liked it. Elton John and David Furnish are his godfathers, Liz Hurley his godmother, and when he was four-months-old, he was the ring bearer at his parents’ lavish wedding (like his parents, he had two outfits for the occasion, first white then purple, like a baby Quality Street). On his 13th birthday, his father arranged for his favourite singer Usher to call him and when he turned 18 pictures of him having his first legal pint went all around the world.

Despite all this attention, his parents wanted their children to be “hardworking and humble”. Meeting Beckham, it seems their tactics have worked. He got a Saturday job in a coffee shop as a teenager and speaks about how they were taught good manners and weren’t allowed phones at the dinner table. The role of big brother is one he takes seriously: “I’m always telling my younger siblings not to make the mistakes I did, I watch over them.”

Brooklyn Beckham with his girlfriend, actress Nicola Peltz (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Brooklyn Beckham with his girlfriend, actress Nicola Peltz (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Beckham grew up in Spain and California, while his father played first for Real Madrid and then LA Galaxy. As he modestly puts it, “my dad travelled for work, which was cool because I got to try lots of different food all over the world”. Growing up, he stole David’s clothes and David encouraged his interest in food. He tells me about how his father took him to Jiro Ono’s sushi restaurant in Tokyo after Beckham watched the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. “Jiro is this 96-year-old who has a three-Michelin star restaurant in a subway station. It was amazing,” says Beckham, who also cooks, uploading videos of him in action onto his Instagram. When I look up Jiro later, I realise there may be a reason why his story resonates with Beckham. The chef, like David, is a perfectionist high achiever, with a son who is daunted at the prospect of living up to him.

“I kind of wanted to set my own path,” says Beckham, who initially followed his father into football, playing in the Arsenal Academy. He left at 16 and did a photography course at New York’s Parsons School of Design, publishing a photo book called What I See in 2017. He sums up his career so far: “I started doing football and I love that, then went into photography, which I am still in love with and now I do cooking. I’ve always been into trying new food, even if it is sometimes a bit not that great. I remember trying jellied eels because I’ve always liked pie and mash — and I did not like them at all.”

His parents cooked “a bit” but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that Brooklyn started cooking, “for my fiancée”. She is the one who films him in the kitchen and encouraged him to post on social media about it. He thinks he will cook Christmas dinner, wherever they are.

For the whole of last year, he was vegan, inspired by a trip to Kenya he took with David Attenborough in 2019. “He’s so sweet with the most amazing stories and I have been an animal lover since I was a young kid,” he says, eyes wide with admiration. “After that trip I was so inspired that I thought I’d try being vegan. It was a good test for me and easy to get into because I was determined to do it. I ate salads every day and lost a lot of weight. But I only said I would do it for a year and when that was up I realised I missed the meat.”

Talking about Attenborough takes us back to Superdry, which appealed to Beckham because of its focus on the environment. “When I found out that they had the ambition to become the world’s most sustainable listed fashion brand by 2030 I knew that I wanted to join in any way I could,” he says. By the end of next year, Superdry wants 39% of all its clothes to be made using organic, lower impact or recycled materials and for that to be 65% by 2025.

Beckham is not yet the new Greta Thunberg, he flew over here from LA and drove to our interview in his black 4x4 (to the consternation of the shop’s staff who had to find him a place to park). He didn’t want to pass up the chance to drive in the UK, “on the correct side of the road” but then he catches himself and says he tries to cycle as much as possible too.

“I try and do the little things,” he says. “I take a shorter shower, I’m good at recycling. If there is a choice to do the right thing for the planet, why would you not?” What does he make of the efforts to be more sustainable at COP26? He looks blank until I tell him it was a big climate conference in Glasgow. “I have seen a bit of that but not as much as I wanted to,” he says. “Every day I am trying to read more and learn and tell other people.”

Unzipping his jacket, he shows me his black organic cotton Superdry top. “It is so comfortable — my fiancée steals my Superdry T-shirts because they are so soft, she likes to sleep in them. There is also a jacket I really connected with, it is orange and cropped so it sits just above my bum, which I like in my t-shirts and jackets. And the shoes are vegan — how is that possible?”

The last thing he bought is a Wendy’s diner cap, which he is wearing today (his future father-in-law is a non-executive chairman of the restaurant). Peltz gives him style advice, “she has impeccable taste. I want to look good for me and for her”. His mother, now a fashion designer, has also tried to style him but with mixed success. “If I came down to dinner wearing a certain outfit she’d comment. I’ve gone through so many strange stages of fashion, baggy skateboarding bottoms, the old Peaky Blinders look, dressing like I was from 70 years ago...”

For the wedding he will wear “a nice suit” but they are still working out where it will be. Peltz’s family live in Bedford, outside New York, and her father is billionaire Nelson Peltz, who is friends with Donald Trump. But before we can talk about wedding seating arrangements, Julian Dunkerton, Superdry’s founder saunters in, looking like an exuberant pirate, with silver bangles all the way up his arms, brandishing two phones - an old Nokia for texting and a normal smartphone. “Hi matey,” he says to Beckham. “I know he’s more interesting than me but I want to show you the store,” he says.

It is impressive, set over three floors with an area for influencers in the basement and lots of dark wood. Dunkerton, who left the brand he founded in 2018 and came back in 2019, is ambitious. He wants this to fill the gap left by Topshop and shrugs off questions about the death of the high street, “people like to come to shops”. He talks about how he lived on an organic farm since he was 14 and Superdry converted to using renewable energy in 2014, “without making a song and dance about it but because we believe in it”. Do we need more regulations to encourage fashion companies to be sustainable? “We are prepared to offer ourselves up as a template of what you can do to be great. We want the world to get to a better place, any commercial advantage is irrelevant compared to the bigger price, doing the right thing. Business needs regulating always. The principle of boundaries is a good one. Anyway, come see the rest of the store.”

It is a sign my time with Beckham is up and he says a friendly goodbye, telling me I should look at the vintage Nike area on the top floor. “I was naturally drawn to that. I could spend hours looking at old logos. I love that the fact they have been pre-owned and we are keeping classics alive. Superdry is supporting circular fashion and that means a lot.”

Read More

Who is Brooklyn Beckham's fiancé Nicola Peltz? A look at her billionaire family

Victoria Beckham says Brooklyn has found his soulmate with new fiancee Nicola Peltz

Victoria Beckham on lockdown life...staying positive and surviving home-schooling...

Watch: David Beckham leads Covid global vaccine drive along with charity Unicef

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting