Ben Sherman used UK factories for their shirt production back then and I did read that at their height they had 5 factories in Northern Ireland. We thought Brutus made their shirts abroad but I did read once they had a factory in the East End of London. Not sure if any shirts were made there.
I personally would only wear a Baracuta as I did back in 69/70. All my mob had Baracutas bought from the Squire shop in Soho. It was part of the one upmanship that was part of the early scene. What others wear is up to them. I might buy a Harrington from John Simons but I am not familiar with other brands.
I agree that most in 69 were wearing snide Harringtons normally bought in the market, but made in the UK. My mob paid the money and got the real thing so we looked down on the cheaper versions. I wandered into a Ben Sherman shop yesterday and thought most of the stuff on sale was rubbish. In 69 their shirts were better than most of the American import shirts in my opinion.
Good point about the DNA of skinhead look. Unfortunately the kids are wearing inferior Harringtons, Ben Sherman and DM's all made abroad, cheap and nasty. Our clothes were generally made in the UK and of superior quality. Say to the teenagers skinhead and they will say right wing racist. The media distortion became the accepted 'truth'.
My cousin had an Equals LP in 67 and we listened to it but they were, again, a bit too commercial. The resident band at the Ilford Palais only knew about 5 tunes and 'baby come back' was one of them. We hated Slade and thought of them as a commercial piss-take. Caricature skinheads.Desmond Decker music was the real thing for us.
This was about 4 years after we were wearing similar clothes. At this time I was wearing flared loon pants, clogs and had shoulder length hair I am embarrassed to say. My mob and many of the originals completely lost it. Interesting that blazers with initial badges are mentioned as I thought that look was ignored by the media caricature of skinheads but was popular with my mates in 69.
Yes, I think we were aware of that at the time but it was a good single. Another guilty pleasure was 'Spirit in the Sky' which every London skinhead seemed to like even though I thought we shouldn't. I had Hit 67 Stax and Hit 67 Atlantic in my record collection and was snobbish with my musical tastes but sometimes I couldn't help myself.