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Mod to Suedehead

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

  1. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Senior member

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    I am still trying to catch up with everything here and on 'other portals'.
    I also saw this (not sure if it is the same site) and KR made reference to the book we are proposing and how he hoped it would put the record straight.


    He was responding to a mischievous post by an 'Original Modernist' who chose to include that very 'staged' pic of skinheads and hippies in Piccadilly Circus and said this was a 'good reason for it ending in 1966'.
     
  2. Gsvs5

    Gsvs5 Senior member

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    Maybe we weren't rebellious in the classic sense of fighting the establishment,but the look we chose was frowned upon by most of our white elders.
    I distinctly recall walking down the Stone Rd in Stafford ,on my way to the Youth Club.It was a road full of mixed race.I was dressed in short blue line POW strides,black socks,black box tops,black Barathea and blue pinpoint Oxford.It was summertime,and there was a group of Jamaican men chatting outside the front.They started slapping ther fingers,smiling and generally saying positive shit about our look.It was the first and only time I recall anyone older giving us a positive nod.It just put an extra bounce in our step that they "understood" the look.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  3. Sirryacus

    Sirryacus Senior member

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    What were you expected to have worn?
     
  4. Gsvs5

    Gsvs5 Senior member

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    The irony is that what we were wearing was not particularly offensive or extraordinary,but partly something obvious and partly subliminal.My Dad could easily have worn the exact same kit and looked like a Conservative candidate for the North Midlands!
    It's the way the jacket was buttoned,the length and cut of the trousers,the sound of the shoes,the step of the walk,the style of the hair.......in other words it was 60% clothes,30% how you wore them,and 10% attitude.You can fudge the numbers however you like,but without all three elements you could never carry it off.
    My fist real encounters with Americans were the Mormon Missionaries that used to appear every Summer back them.What the fuck they hoped to achieve or for that matter,how they ever found the Midlands was beyond my comprehension? Whatever,these lads had the look down pat.They were the fist to wear Longwings,striped ties,Oxford B D's and sharp suits.They were a walking Billboard for Brooks Bros.The things was though,,they were safe.They had no attitude.They carried themselves in a passive manner.They smiled at everyone,a sneer was not in their vocabulary.That's the difference my friend.You can have all the right gear,but you've got to know what to do with it to get what you want.
    There are unwritten rules that do not cross cultural boundaries also.....A 60 yr old Jamaican can wear Longwings,half mast strides and look cool.Nine times out of Ten a 60 yr old white guy looks a cunt
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. yankmod

    yankmod Senior member

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    Some great stuff above from Gsvs5 for the book (in my opinion) The Stories of a Midlands Skinhead.The Mormon story especially cool.I have had many positive encounters with an often lonely pair of 18 yr old missionaries.Imagine being thrust into Manhattan and tryin to engage people who are 5 steps ahead of themselves as it is.They always looked immaculate and true Ivy League.
     
  6. Sirryacus

    Sirryacus Senior member

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    I've saw the Mormon missionaries around they seem to dress more like michael douglas from falling down around here never saw them with a jacket most likely because of the california heat, I used to be best friends with someone that attended the mormon church was the most un-mormon scraggly person you'll ever meet (but hell so am I),as were most of the people he knew from church, I'm not so sure most of them were sharp dressers outside of the confines of church activities, I usually have quite a distaste for any religion that goes out trying to get new recruits but the Mormons aren't usually as forceful as the Jehovas Witnesses with their attempts, they usually know how to dress for church though,some of my greatest vintage and modern finds in the realm of high fashion have been at church rummage sales I'll give them that much.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  7. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    I was influenced by the Jamaicans-the Look,the Records etc.,because those were the Clubs I was going to.Do not forget,I was 19 so I was not going to Youth Clubs anymore.By the late 60s American Servicemen were not so prominent around the West End.When late `69 came Skinhead had become a Uniform and a lot of it was copied from the early Mods.Boots and cropped hair were about in `64/`65,J.Simons opened originally for the Modernist Market-so that stuff was here early 60s.In the mid 60s I was going to the Marquee and others and was influenced by what was being worn there.`68/`69 I was going to the "Limbo" and sometimes the "Roaring Twenties"-when you could get in.The same thing happened.
     
  8. Watermelon man

    Watermelon man Well-Known Member

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    Righto. I don't know what the original title was. But since I've come late to the party, it would help to know:

    1. Who is the intended readership/market? (old skinheads after nostalgia, hoolie-lit readers, historians/sociologists, fashion students etc)
    2. Why is it being published? (to set the record straight, to present material that hasn't been seen before, to provide a definitive historical record, to bring together diverse elements of the style (music, clothes, attitudes) under one cover... etc)
    3. Will the book be self-published or commercial?
    4. Will the book be paper printed or digital or both?
    5. What is the content? (Roughly speaking. I know it's not just clothes, but what are the main subjects and what proportion of the book is devoted to each?)
    6. What period will it cover?
    7. Is it to be an anthology with several authors (and therefore different styles of writing), or is there to be one principal author?

    All of these have a bearing on the title and subtitle.
     
  9. yankmod

    yankmod Senior member

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    Important to keep the Jamaicans in the story.And the difference between the young-uns and the older cats.Cheers browniecj.
     
  10. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Senior member

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    For me it was not really about borrowing from any particular culture but rather, as I think it says somewhere in the Button Down Types, a total rejection of what Mod had become - brawling on the beaches. It was a return to those first modernist principles of clean living in a difficult climate.

    As such the look drew heavily on early modernist elements but pared back and even sharper.
     
  11. Watermelon man

    Watermelon man Well-Known Member

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    'Clean living in difficult circumstances' was an inspired title.

    You're right about being pared back. It's a bit like Beau Brummell. Although what he wore seems flamboyant to us today, his clothes were very simple and understated compared with the OTT Regency style he rejected. It applies to scooters too -- the mirror-festooned Mod scooter gets cut back to a skelly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013
  12. flyfronted

    flyfronted Senior member

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    I know Kev quite well and can ask him directly . Maybe once the book is finished and he approves he could write the foreword ?
     
  13. flyfronted

    flyfronted Senior member

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    Something missed is also that the JA's / Rudies took there style from what was worn 'back a yard ' but that was totally influenced by what BlacK America was wearing ( which of course was a Ghetto spin on Ivy League ) as Queens in NY had the biggest Jamaican community outside of Kingston itself ..
    http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/01/03/the-dapper-rebels-of-los-angeles-1966/
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  14. Gsvs5

    Gsvs5 Senior member

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    That's a surprise re the demographics?I must admit ,when I first came to New York in '76 after living continuously in England,I was taken aback at how little reggae I heard played and the seeming lack of appreciation for it.
     
  15. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Senior member

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    Watermelon man I agree completely. I have in the past made the same comparison with the great Beau, but it fell on stony ground. We must remember just how ground breaking dandyism was. Beau Brummell took ordinary hunting clothes and turned them into super-smart town wear. Just like the early skinhead he was proclaiming less is more!
     
  16. Watermelon man

    Watermelon man Well-Known Member

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    I think you can take the parallel too far, but it's easy to forget how absurd mens' fashions became (albeit for only a brief period) in the mid-1960s.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  17. Studio1st

    Studio1st Member

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    Ignoring the price tag (although I notice it does qualify for free delivery which is nice!) how would a jacket like this have been received at the time?

    http://www.stuartslondon.com/coats-...960s-suede-bomber-jacket-blue-70748-001-p9672

    Personally I think it's lovely, just slightly beyond my means.....

    Off Topic about reggae in New York late sixties/seventies as mentioned above - it was an underground West Indian ex-pat scene that only really existed in a few bars/clubs and shops. Roydale Anderson, owner of the 'Andy's' record label published his reminisces about moving to New York and trying to set up a production/distribution operation in the 70's ('My Reggae Journey').

    The American style influences on Jamaicans - and by extension West Indian settlers in England were huge in the sixties.
     
  18. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    I can vouch for that first hand.:)
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    Re: Kevin Rowlands

    An interesting read and whilst I can relate to some of it, much of it varies greatly from my own experience. (and, I would suggest, a great many former skinheads)

    For me becoming a skinhead was a conscious decision. I was too young to have been a mod and thus for me the look didn't evolve from hair gradually getting shorter until ultimately it was a 'crop'. I did wear some articles of clothing that were considered 'mod' at the time (the term 'mod' was still used in 1967/68) such as a surf jacket, Levi's, brogues and probably I would have become a mod had that look endured. I recall, however, a friend who was a year older than me talking about getting a paisley shirt with frills, very trendy at the time and I can remember thinking "What!?!?" I just didn't see myself in clothes like that - if that's what mod fashion is becoming, not for me!

    My main influence was going to watch Manchester City - no frills on the terraces there - and the older lads dressed in a style I could relate to. Many had short hair (easily recognisable as a forerunner of 'skinhead' even in 1967-1968) I still remember the first time I heard the term 'skinhead'. I used to sometimes chat to a lad at school who had always been a trendy. One day he told me that the night before he and his mates had been fighting some 'peanuts' "Who?" I asked, "You know, skinheads" He then described them to me. I thought, why are you fighting with them, you are all mods.I stepped back and took a look at him - parka, hair like Ray Davis of the Kinks, Paisley shirt and tie, flares. I knew which camp I was in! This was in early 1969 - I was 14. Soon after articles started to appear in the press about skinheads and it was not long after that that two of my mates and I decided that we would become skinheads. During the same half term holiday we all went and had the crop - the first skinheads in the school, talk about causing a stir - I already had some of the clothes and for the next 2 years I was never seen out without skinhead 'clobber'. I did wear boots, virtually all the time. I was proud to be a skinhead, I never considered it as a continuation of mod fashion and to this day I'm proud of my skinhead past and the experiences it gave me. For about 18 months, when I was aged 14 and 15 being a skinhead was about Saturday afternoon. The lunchtime ritual of polishing my boots whilst listening to Emperor Roscoe on Radio 1, the excitement of getting to the match, seeing what the older lads were wearing, feeling involved. Yes, I was a follower - I was 14! Socialising was no more than local youth clubs at that time - but you still had to look the part. When I was 16 I started to go to a local Soul club and everybody there was a skinhead and at that time (Late 1970) we were all wearing traditional skinhead wear - denims, check shirts, sleeveless pull-overs (a small number of the lads were wearing Doc Martens!) - and now all aspects of my life were influenced by being a skinhead. All my close friends were skinheads I listened to and exclusively bought soul and reggae records and the first girls I ever 'got off' with were all skinheads. I recall vividly around this time going out one night in my denims, checked BD and mac and having an inward glow that I had completely nailed 'the look'. I was where it's at - well, that's how I felt anyway! By early 1971 we were going out quite a bit smarter, Blazers, POW trousers, two tones as the move towards 'suedehead' had commenced. I can still remember some of the clothes I wore to certain nights out, even to certain matches.

    Even now many of those influences hold true - my music collection contains hundreds (possibly thousands) of soul tracks and it's still my greatest preference. I still wear brogues and button down collars for work, Levi's to the pub (they're just not turned up anymore) and I still frequent the noisier parts of the stadium at Manchester City.

    In contrast, Kevin Rowland seems to be one of these who likes to portray and image of "Yeah, I was a skinhead before anyone else, but when everybody else started doing it, I moved on" and is almost in denial about the whole thing - "people in London who talked to the press about being a skinhead were beaten up by the other short haired kids" - hardly "Walking Proud".
     
  20. Watermelon man

    Watermelon man Well-Known Member

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    Me too. I think bad taste reached its apogee at some time in the 1970s, however. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013

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