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Mod to Suedehead

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Spirit of 69, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    Nah, we're all off down the pub, Col.
     
  2. Bob the Badger

    Bob the Badger Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this 100%. It is almost as if the narrow media image of skinheads has been adopted as 'the look' when we know there was a lot more to it, clothes wise. This site is good for putting the record straight.
     
  3. covskin

    covskin Well-Known Member

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    From my perspective (floruit early to mid 80s) this is all the work of the mid to late 80s 'Spirit of 69' lot rather than the media - their false archaeology 'recovering' something that was never really there (like how the Victorians 'restored' countless medieval churches and castles in a romantic baronial 'Disney'-style so destroying the real thing).

    There was a fair bit of development from the revival onwards that was killed by their dead-handed dogmatism. I think at that point it became a question of whether you received Skinhead from tradition or from authority, with George Marshall and his book Spirit of 69: a Skinhead Bible being the supposed authority, unfortunately.

    So now you see blokes who were, presumably, skinheads in their youth who seem to have forgotten everything but the caricature of skintight madras.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  4. Clouseau

    Clouseau Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Covskin, i'm from a different country but i remember in the early beginning of the eighties almost nobody (here) was wearing checked shirts. It was mainly (for those wearing shirts) plain BD, mostly white (an habit i kept), and gingham BS (never liked them) we named "chemise de garçon boucher" as french butchers wore the same type of shirt... I remember i had a Paisley shirt later on... Never had a checked shirt.
    About "personal preferences", if some liked the checked shirts - adopted by the majority of contemporary skinheads for the happiness of some brands like Mikkel Rude - in the time others apparently preferred plain BD or striped ones. (if i remember well the Jim Cox words in The Button down types chapter of The Soul Stylists.)

    Unfortunately, can't see BBC 4 out of UK, hope the series will end up on U-tube...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  5. ThinkSmart

    ThinkSmart Member

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    Mod was a socially understood 'thing' for definite by 1960 and subject to growing press articles from 1962. The 1958 article 'Are you a trad or are you a mod' that was primarily about jazz, was a point of inflection where the difference could be observed by the casual reader from outside and an emerging scene have light thrown on it. Remember that as far back as the British Festival in 1951 there was modern jazz from Johnny Dankworth and modern art/design on show. The followers of this came to deliniate themselves from the scruffy trad jazzers quite quickly.

    The proto-Mod modernists (no capital M, it was just a few dozen Soho kids) were around in the early 1950s where modern jazz was made and were distinguishable by 1956 as documented in Absolute Beginners and wonderfully in Terry Taylor's 'Baron's Court All Change'. As the cellar clubs in China Town evolved to Ronnie Scotts, the modernists had a place along with The Flamingo as it adopted modern club sound jazz/R&B followed by others. Seriously, go read Baron's Court All Change - it describes a fully fomed Mod scene and written really early in 1960. Although fiction it seems autobiographical and AB biographical of him. Within only a few years while the world was catching up the author was off exploring his consciousness in north Africa ahead of the hippy emergence. There are a fair few good fiction beat books of the time and later autobiographies of those around Soho in the art/drinking/modern jazz Soho scene that help piece together the emergence of modernism into Mod and beyond.

    The early modernist scene had strong link to the modern art scene, Francis Bacon hanging around, the USA poet Johnny Dolphin Allen. The art, drinking, music, and style seems to have been part of an emerging loose grouping that formulated later as more youth dedicated Mod (with pills replacing the drinking).

    Terry Taylor was the kid Chas in Absolute Beginners was based on. Go search for the photos.I won't include due to copyright. He is clearly a link between unformed modernists and the transition to Mod (by which time youth like him had evolved onward). Photos of him from 1958 and 1960 are illuminating in having the style and the facial 'look' of Mod.
    .

    Mod was evolving fast through this period, in the late 1950s it was Italian bumfreezer and USA Ivy League style mixed, by 1960 it took in French new wave, by 1962 it was the mohair suits and back from winkle pickers to round toe shoes (loafers, brogues). A lot of the fashions that had their time in Mod we would never recognise as Mod now but things came and went, plastic see through macs, size button shoes all kinds of what now looks like crap but then was the latest thing. There never was one Mod look and by the time of the footage of scooter riding Mods, that is often the second or even third generation adopters. By 1963-4 the original Mods from around 1958-1962 were giving up the term as it become populaist and terms such as Stylist, Internationalist, Individualist were used instead. Those were seen as deeper, purist terms that also didn't need to follow prevailing fashion.
    . Certainly the infamous photos of Marc Feld/Bolan of T-Rex from 1962 never look like Mod to me but that's because leather waistcoats and long pointy winkle pickers didn't stay part of the thinking. The descriptions by Jeff Dexter, Laurie Johnson and others seem more how I understand it retrospectively.

    As Mod casualised with knit wear, levis, desert shoes, harringtons (a sport casual Ivy League look, like the socalled pre-skinhead Peanut style Eric Clapton adopted in 1963-4 in response to dandy traits in The Yardbirds), the original Mods were in such as City Gent wear (as per Del Evans) looking even more invisible.

    Small Faces were from the east end of London area as second generation Mods in 1964. Originally in early picures they are auhentic street Mod although I think Jimmy Winston claimed he was the only original Mod. Certainly Stevie didnt seem to be one on his pre SF solo single in 1963. The east end Mods were rivals to the Soho set with as many fights between Mods based on turf as with rockers. Their clothing would have been based on local leader trends however once managed by Don Arden tbey were quickly were dressed entirely at Carnaby Street as part of their pay. With no media sources of internet, previous phases of Mod were not just history but largely forgotten, Mod was only existing in the moment so the heritage we can now see of its evolution didn't mean that much then. George Fame's Ivy League based look would have meant little to the copyist kids on the sea front in 1964. Looking at that footage recently it's hard to see what I think of as a proper Mod in the whole bunch and I know some clothing oriented Mods didn't go or moved on at that point.
    . It seems the Mod-casual look Clapton was bang on trend with set a template for the third wave of copy kids coming in as it was easier to find, cheaper and less of a risk for group acceptance. Whereas leaders might have worn Lacoste or John Smedley polos,the kids could get a cheap C&A knock off.

    So for the Small Faces by being in the pop world and wearing whatever was in John Stephen and the like at Carnaby Street this meant they were shop-window for whatever was the latest fashion but they weren't probably able to keep close to the edge of invention going on at a local level by the leaders who would by then see Carnaby St as fashionable tat. Austins on Shaftbury Avenue, Vince, Kings Road, Cecil Gee, John Simons Ivy shop and individual tailors were more likely sources for those still innovating.

    You can see by 1996 the Small Faces were all over the place fashion wise as Carnaby Street introduced the clashing patterns, cheap mass produced cuts/fabrics and drift toward hippy. In 1967 like many bands they had remnants of Mod mixed with new hippy fashion in the same outfit. Whereas street mods were often stripping down the look or outside London codifying and sticking with the classic Mod look for a few more years until it morphed into the early soul scene.
    Interestingly back in the east end about 1966/67 the gangster look was in for obvious reasons as popularised/parodied by bands such as The Move. This I think was more influential than we remember and creates the look seen on 1970s crime drama.

    When I was young the Small Faces looked authentic Mod, but now I tend to look back to the earlier modernists or first wave of Mod to about 1962-3 and then onwards to the Suedeheads/early soul scene around 1969-1970). I still love everything about Small Faces though!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. browniecj

    browniecj Well-Known Member

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    As someone who was 2nd Wave Mod(`65/`67),I found this interesting-though some of the Points have been made before.I have now finished "Mods-The New Religion" and I thoroughly enjoyed it.One Question I was asked once-if the Mod of `65/`66 met the Originals(`62/`63),what would have happened?I firmly believe there would have been a massive Punch-Up between the two Groups.Do not forget we were all Peacocks......:)
     
  7. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point you hit on roytonboy regarding the shirts and braces. I had read your comments and it had got me thinking before I had watched the programme and I agree we very rarely wore shirts and braces because I think it was too loud? I always remember wearing a v neck M&S fine knit jumper/sleeve less jumper or cardigan and always under a cronbi or sheepskin. I think it was colder back then or we were skinnier and felt the cold. I recall wearing Fred Perrys and braces with jeans or Sta Prest

    I have now watched the programme and having seen the bit with the modern skinheads in their bright check shirts and braces and do not recall our clothes being so colourful. One guy had bright yellow braces - no way. I have said before we were subtle. Black 1/2 inch braces or dark crimson. These were purchased from old mens type clothing shops so no loud colours. I can remember wearing plain blue coloured short sleeve Ben Shermans in the summer with a dark blue braces.

    The thing is you can only recall moments / snippeta of your past from 45 years ago not whole periods and you need prompts from this forum to jog them out of the archives
     
  8. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Well-Known Member

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    I have just bought 'Sawdust Caesars' as mentioned on here and its an interesting easy read with loads of photos and around 450 pages in A4 size. Great value for money. I have reached chapter 2 and am confronted by a photo of a young browniecj form here.

    Colin you really do get about mate
     
  9. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    This is always the problem with adopting a 'look' retrospectively.
     
  10. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    There were some interesting checks around back then. I remember my last Ben Sherman was what was described as a 'nubby' check (I remember the word, but not where I saw it - it was maybe on a label in the shop window where I bought it) in two shades of light blue. And yes, I wore braces with it, but in this days more often than not we used to wear a slipover anyway. Some of the American check shirts available in Brewer St were rather... er... noticeable; I've mentioned my mate's yellow one with blue window-pane check, and my 'reverse' of that - blue with yellow window-pane. We wanted to show them off, and tended to wear them with well-fitting sta-prest, or with suit trousers with side adjusters.
     
  11. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    Rolling my eyes. My daughter was walking through George Square when this bloody nonsense kicked off yesterday. Honestly, when am I going to be able to say "I was a skinhead in 1969..." without having to say "but not like these blokes you see today"?
     
  12. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    A couple of photos found whilst 'housekeeping' today. No info about the first.

    [​IMG]

    The second one is Angie Dickinson on a Vespa. Just because.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. browniecj

    browniecj Well-Known Member

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    I did not know they used a Photo of me.Have to see my Agent !!!:)
     
  14. browniecj

    browniecj Well-Known Member

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    What has that got to do with Scottish Politics? A*s*h*l*s !!!! :slayer:
     
  15. The Saint

    The Saint Well-Known Member

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    Whilst , no one likes a bad loser , sometimes a bad winner is worse . From what I hear , these skinheads were not even Scottish , but they were certainly taunting people. .
     
  16. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    Some were, some weren't. Scottish, I mean.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  17. roytonboy

    roytonboy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, ThinkSmart, very interesting and most informative.
     
  18. roytonboy

    roytonboy Well-Known Member

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    Clouseau - it wasn't that we didn't wear checked shirts (I had 5 in 1970 ,a variety of checks and gingham) the point that I was making was that they were not often worn with braces showing. Usually they would be covered by a v-neck sweater (initially usually a sleeveless, later by long sleeved) or maybe by a jacket. The braces showing thing was more 'early skinhead' and done with plain or pale striped shirts (in our area, BD collar).

    Aces and Eights - I agree with your comment about bright checks - we didn't often wear them. (or bright coloured braces) Perhaps not surprisingly, light blue braces were quite commonly worn by us (I had a pair). Your observation about 'subtle' was spot on - I certainly tried to wear clothes that 'matched', colour wise. As has often been stated on this site, it is not only what you wear but the way that you it that makes the difference. Jaytex did produce some deeper coloured, almost tartan, short sleeved shirts but I don't recall thinking that they were 'garish' at the time.
     
  19. The Saint

    The Saint Well-Known Member

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    Great photos MoM , I particular , my missus and I liked the first one , that is a superb coiffure. .
     
  20. whodicapfit

    whodicapfit Member

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    Please keep your nationalist ravings for another site The people of Scotland have spoken We are all UK citizens like it or not
     

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