Chavs and new ravers… the 21
st century hasn’t exactly produced the best subcultures, has it? This is especially upsetting when you look at the sharp suits of sixties mods and the revolutionary DIY aesthetic introduced by punks.
Just look around today and you’ll see everyone with notable style was inspired by some 20
th century subculture, from Alex Turner’s sharp teddy boy persona to Liam Gallagher’s mod swagger, bar from grime (come on guys, we’re counting on you) there really hasn’t been a decent group of people that have shaken the nation and made front page news.
So we’re nostalgically looking back to the past and analysing history’s best dressed, hoping that someone out there finds a way to stop the rise of branded joggers and hoodies as acceptable forms of making an effort.
Based on the dandies of the Edwardian period as well as pulling elements in from the Stateside rock ‘n’ roll, the teddy boy look was most prominent during the fifties and was seen as a rebellious movement away from post-World War II austerity.
You think in their sharp suits and well-kempt hair that it’d be all scones and tea parties, but a large number of them were actually part of violent gangs, which made quite a few
headlines back in the day. But as always with the tabloids, a lot of the stories were blown out of proportion for fearmongering.
The teddy boy legacy can still be seen in popular culture today, most prominently through Alex Turner’s greasy pompadour and
A Clockwork Orange, where they served as inspiration for Burgess’s Droogs. Mods
The Who, The Kinks, The Jam, Small Faces, Britain has had no shortage of incredibly stylish and talented mod bands, most famously associated with hanging round London’s Carnaby Street on their Lambretta scooters wearing khaki parkas.
But what is it with guys in suave suits loving to fight back then? If only chavs fought in a three piece and not adidas trackies they might actually be more acceptable. The mods had a fierce rivalry with rockers, which was put on the big screen by The Who in
Quadrophenia, where both subcultures faced off in a momentous fight on Brighton beach, which sees 50 arrests and more injured in an epic Lord Of The Rings style battle, minus the wizards and orcs. Punks
Probably Britain’s most well documented subculture, celebrated this year in London at the British Library for its 40
th anniversary, marking the impact the Sex Pistols had on the nation.
Back in the seventies you couldn’t just walk into Topman and grab a pair of ripped skinny jeans, so most punks made or altered their own clothing with rips, safety pins, badges and paint. However, there was one place you could get kitted out at: Vivienne Westwood’s King’s Road shop, Sex, which sold fetish and bondage wear as well as Westwood’s own distinctive designs, such as her signature tartans and naked cowboys t-shirt.
Sadly, the skinhead has been given a bad rep by a handful of idiotic EDL louts who have linked it to neo-Nazis movements, but the majority of them are actually anti-fascism, as it was heavily inspired the Jamaican influenced rude boy look (think the Specials).
Dr Martens boots, braces, drainpipe jeans, smart checked shirts, Fred Perry polo tops and bomber jackets are styles associated with the group, as well as obviously having a buzzed down haircut. Just put Eleven from
Stranger Things in a pair of oxblood DMs and she could be a This Is England extra. Who gets your vote?