Posts Tagged ‘mod’

music

Were the 60s Mods the footsoldiers who propelled Margaret Thatcher to power?

By Stefano on April 12th, 2013

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One of the most intriguing books about popular culture in a while went on sale last month. Richard Weight’s Mod: A Very British Style is not a rose-tinted, nostalgic romp through the history of a movement that has had profound impact on British culture, but a serious academic (yet still very readable) study of what Mod is and was and how the 60s Mods have influenced British society.

It scope – which goes way beyond most books about Mods -has already attracted criticism from hardcore Mods who may or may not have a point that the author talks too much about the influence of German art school Bauhaus at the expense of say, how Makin Time and The Prisoners took Mod in a new direction in the 80s.

It doesn’t help Weight’s case that there is the odd detail too that isn’t quite right. Nevertheless even if he has Blur coming from Chelmsford rather than Colchester, he still makes some fascinating observations

For me the pivotal part is Weight’s dissection of how the 60s Mods – not the original late 50s/early  60s ones who were a different tribe altogether - changed the way Britons live, think and most of all shop.

But the one connection he only loosely makes is how the mid-60s Mods influenced British politics. Which is a shame because there is a lot of evidence to suggest when those youngsters hit adult life they became the foot soldiers of the politics we now know as Thatcherism.

The parallels really are quiet scary.

When Mod was at its mainstream peak - between 1963-66 – it was a movement that had the following traits.

1 Hierarchical - the scene was dominated by Faces – think Sting in Quadrophenia – who had the best gear, the classiest scooters etc. Mods who couldn’t match the sartorial eloquence of their superiors were known by the A List as Tickets.

2 Individualistic - although there were, for want of a better word, uniforms, for most Mods the devil was in the detail. Your suit had to tick the right boxes in say number of buttons, but choosing the right material and colour to make it your own was just as important  As Paul Smith, a tailor who was an original Mod, would become known for – Mod clothes were all about classics with a twist.

3 Conservative – Mods weren’t trying to change society in a outwardly political way. In fact according to Weight and others many Mods respected and admired their elders and parents and wanted to not just emulate them but better them.

Aspirational and acquisitive – Much of Weight’s book focuses on the Mods obsession with shopping, not just for clothes but for other items too. He attributes much of the success of Habitat in the 70s and Ikea more recently to the way that style and design were passed on from the Mods to subsequent generations.

5 Southern and class-based - Mod was also more of southern England tribe than a northern one and most of its adherents came from, what in old money would be referred to as the more aspirational sector of the working class. In other words these were youngsters whose parents had manual jobs, but thanks to improving post-war educational standards they were able to take on skilled work or white collar jobs in offices.

Ultimately these were youngsters who had seen the deprivation that their parents had endured through the war years and before and wanted better.

Thatcher’s supporters

Take a look then at the demographic which propelled the Conservatives to power in 1979 and kept them there for the best part of two decades. They were young-ish, based in the south and were drawn from upper working class and lower middle class groups. They were clearly aspirational and wanted their own homes (to buy their own council houses?) yet not seeking big changes in British society. Sound familiar?

If you look too at the end of the Callaghan government - Andy Beckett’s When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies is a great re-telling of the story – Sunny Jim was largely betrayed by Union leaders whose workers were constantly pushing for more money to maintain standards of living that they had accrued in the earlier part of the decade. Just take a look at the groups who went on strike during the winter of discontent - public sector employees, nurses, train drivers – these are all arguably comprised of individuals who fit the class profile of the 60s Mods.

The irony is that while the old school union leaders unwittingly ushered in their worst nightmare – a government that would destroy much of their power base – their younger members got a government that was far more in keeping with the values that Mod had endowed in them in the 60s. It was a government that they voted for time and time again because its shared the same visions and enacted legislation like the buying of council houses - that fitted their aspirations. Bear in mind too that the unemployment that characterised much of the 80s was more prevalent in the north than the south.

One 70s Mod who said he would vote Tory in 1979 was Paul Weller. He now says it was a publicity stunt but it must have made sense at the time. And there’s a good chunk of the mid-60s Mod aristocracy who are either Conservatives – including Kenny Jones, Bill Wyman, Phil Collins and Bryan Ferry – or are largely ambivalent about politics.

Ultimately though the changes that Margaret Thatcher made to Britain were because a society had emerged which made her world view more acceptable. And I wonder if that society had been shaped by a youth culture that defined Britain a decade earlier.

 

 

 

 

 



Celeb style, features, Grooming, music

20 Most Iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll Hairstyles

By Gerald Lynch on June 29th, 2012

Rock ‘n’ roll can be broken down as follows: 10% fashion, 10% music and 110% HAIR. We know that adds up to 130%. That’s why we’re writing for a fashion site and aren’t quantum physicists. But it also acts to highlight just how important good hair can be in the making of a musical and cultural icon, and cementing the status of bona-fide rock ‘n’ roll stars. Where would Elvis be without his quiff? Or Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust without his…his unique style? On the dole queue, that’s where. Here, Brandish pick out the 20 most iconic hair styles in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Scroll down to get started!

David Bowie

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Picture 1 of 20

Flaming red with a quiff up top and party mullet at the back, David Bowie's transformation into Ziggy Stardust was one of the most striking in pop history. With the sci-fi influenced Ziggy Stardust look, Bowie opened the floodgates for a whole sea of androgynous stars and, to a lesser extent, made homosexuality and bisexuality less of a rock 'n' roll taboo in the process.



Accessories, features, music

Is Baggy/Madchester the next big thing in men’s fashion?

By Stefano on September 12th, 2011

The other day The Guardian’s music/fashion correspondent Alexis Petridis wrote about how men’s fashion has suddenly become massively influenced by one year, 1988 and specifically the time in which 80s fashions (think denim shirts, girlie pumps), collided with the 1950s (think quiffs, Levis 501s, Rayban Wayfarers etc).

This odd combination occurred for a number of serendipitous reasons. Firstly big brands – Levi’s, Southern Comfort among others – began to use 50s imagery and music for their ad camapigns. Secondly a nation of indie kids has become obsessed with Morrissey and in turn with his obsession with James Dean. Suddenly 50s fashions were coming at you from all angles.

So if 1988 is the current apex of cool, where is men’s fashion likely to go next? We have already seen Urban Outfitter’s rather lamentable attempts to hype ‘grunge fashion’ (in some ways that’s an oxymoron) with its Cobain label. But by shifting on to the early 90s men’s fashion would be bypassing one of its most fun, creative and populist periods. I refer of course to Baggy.

For the uninitiated, you are either too young or from North American, Baggy was one of those brief periods in British history (see also late 60s and mid 70s) where the nation’s young let it all hang out. This meant taking copious amounts of a new drug – ecstasy – and listening to oddly psychedelic music – The Stone Roses. The difference this time (compared with the 60s) was that Baggy was dance music-oriented with the dominant soundtrack, in clubs at least, the emerging Acid House sound from Manchester, via Chicago. So a killer combination of dancing and drugs predictably wreaked havoc with the nation’s trouser’s width. The 80s had been largely about skinny jeans morphing into easy fit vintage Levi’s as the decade wore on. Suddenly everyone was wearing Flares.

It wasn’t just trousers either. Baggy ought also to be remembered as the first time the hooded top became a high street fashion staple. Baggy also gave us dayglo sweat shirts, later appropriated by the nu rave crew, as well as Paisley and pattern shirts – which to be fair had been bubbling under for much of the 80s – huge Tees and some fantastic headgear.

Drab old Britain was suddenly a riot of colour and its young cared less about perfecting their quiffs and posing in their vintage shades and more about getting off their tits in fields in Berkshire.

Sadly Baggy didn’t last too long. Internal disagreements (and spiraling drug consumption) tore The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays apart. And as for the Baggy Beatles – the La’s – lead singer Lee Mavers decided that the world only really deserved one album of his genius songs and he went AWOL.

By the time Baggy hit the South (it was mainly a northern thing) the bands were on their way out and the clothes had hit the local charity store. For a few months the UK flirted with some horrendous grunge fashions before Blur, Pulp and Britpop smartened everyone up (a little).

So, Baggy is sure to be revived sooner or later, so now might be as good a time as any to comb your local Oxfam for a nice hooded top with mildly psychedelic patterns on the front. Flares will hopefully be optional this time round.



Clothing

Get The Brighton Rock Look

By Laura on February 5th, 2011

Brighton Rock out in cinemas this week was adapted from Graham Greene’s iconic 1939 novel, and charts the headlong fall of Pinkie, a razor-wielding disadvantaged teenager hell bent on clawing his way up through the ranks of organized crime. At the heart of the story is the anti-hero Pinkie’s relationship with Rose – an apparently innocent young waitress who stumbles on evidence linking Pinkie and his gang to a revenge killing that Pinkie commits. After the murder, Pinkie seduces Rose, first in an effort to find out how much she knows and latterly to ensure she will not talk to the police.

Here at Brandish, we couldn’t help but notice the great Mod fashion through out the new film. From slim wool suits, to classic belted overcoats and trenches, its a look that we hope will make a comeback.
One brand that is doing a particularly good job of reviving the looks is Ede & Ravensroft.

Ede and Ravenscroft are the oldest tailors in London, established in 1689, they have become renowned for their use of high quality fabrics and classic cuts.
Check out our favourite mod inspired looks below.



T-shirts, Polos & Shirts

Tuck into some Tuk top threads

By Jonathan Smith on February 3rd, 2009

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Sri Lanka, famous exporter of tea, coffee, coconuts, rubber (thanks Wikipedia) and now top quality shirts to your door. Tuk is a small venture from the sunny shores of Sri Lanka producing high quality check and floral print shirts, sourcing unique and high quality Sri Lankan fabrics and using ethical and local tailoring Tuk ensures the quality of their shirts. Fabric is bought in small quantities and each design is made in small runs meaning you’re unlikely to be walking down Oxford Street and see some other chump wear your threads (the Top Shop effect). All the designs are bright and colourful and the cut of the shirts slim making them perfect mod/indie boy staples. All the shirts come in at £55 with no extra for shipping- which is more than reasonable for a one off shirt.

Check out the Tuk-Shop website here or jump through to see my favourite pieces.

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Designer Spotlight

Raf Simons x Fred Perry – more 80′s than Betamax porn

By Jonathan Smith on January 13th, 2009

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Raf Simons is back once again with mod father Fred Perry to bring their SS09 collab. Moving away from the monotone of previous seasons these power houses of style are moving into the exciting unknown with a vibrant colour palette taking it’s inspiration from West African culture.

The range consists of 25 pieces some of which are reworkings of Fred Perry classics such as the polo shirt augmented with new weaves and knits. New comers to the line include slipon, tassle loafers in both navy blue and burnt red and a slim fit harrington jacket in regal blue.

Jump through for some more images.

[Source this.hearts.on.fire]

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Entertainment, Heroes and Celebrities, News, Trends

Love The Look: Ewan’s Down With Love

By Will Reid on July 29th, 2008

ewandownlove.jpgEwan McGregor, Brandish fave and actor extraordinaire, has made it as this week’s ‘Love The Look’ style icon. While not actually a look he created himself, McGregor’s get-ups in the film ‘Down With Love’ were unbelievable. Mod suits, a Rat Pack-slick haircut, patent shoes and exotic skins; the look was one of excitement and interesting times. As the love story blossomed, each event was painted with the brilliant sartorial brush of McGregor’s dapper-dandy. Who cares if the actual film was rubbish?

(Image: 20thC.Fox/Everett/Rex Features)

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Heroes and Celebrities, News, Trends

Tasselled loafers and madras at J Simons

By admin on April 23rd, 2008

MADRAS J SIMONS LONDON COVENT GARDEN.jpgAfter reading Dave Walker from Modculture’s comment on my tassel loafers post I had a look a the J.Simons website and what a treat it is! You really get a feel for his commitment to style and passion, and John himself has some really great stories from his youth:

“At 23, ambition started to creep in. We began copying American clothes, getting little old ladies to make them up for us. Next to the Hackney Empire we opened a shop and called it Clothesville. We’d take things like the Burberry raincoat and give it a twist, do it in corduroy.”

John went on to open The Ivy Shop in ’65 selling American clothing to young mods.

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Footwear, Trends

Street Trends: Tasselled loafers

By admin on April 22nd, 2008

tasselled loafers penny loafer trend street style.jpg
You can probably tell from this poor man’s expression that when I approached him to take a picture he thought I was taking the piss, but his highly shined loafers caught my eye like a silver spoon to a magpie. Added kudos goes to his pressed cords and Fred Perry bomber, it’s a mod(-ish purists!) look without the museum-y feel.

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Clothing

Bobby Grindrod on dressing dandy

By Isabelle on March 22nd, 2007

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Bobby Grindrod of Friends of the Bride was telling the Metro this morning about his love of dressing smart and dandyism. "I look at record covers mainly from the early ’70s" he said "They’re my influences, really; people such as Frank Sinatra and Bobby Gentry". The trendy young thing used to be a mod but found the rules of the dress code a bit too strict. He now prefers to stcik to the dandy style saying "It’s easy to be a dandy but much harder to be subtle about having that sort of strict style".




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