British Style Genius – The Street Look – Part 1

Early on in the culture and creative media class, we began learning about Street style and youth in culture. It was an interesting way to learn about how culture changes and develops according with times, style and what the youth embrace.

This article at  show photography celebrating teenage rebellion and lust for life over the last century.

A style revolution began around 1954, in post war Britain. There is a period of time when young people were a little free with no responsibilities, maybe away from their parents, have a few pound, or no bills. A young person may have the same job as their parents, but the way they could express themselves did change, through music and cultural identity. Youth subcultures sprang up. The youth market had economic power to rebel against authority. The 20th century was in full force. Teds, rockers and mods were the first pioneers of teenager-dom. The Teds paved the way for the Mods. The first wave was new modern aesthetics, rhythm and blues and fashion. The second wave (post ’62) there was drugs, scooters and music.

Ted’s began their style revolution as a class rebellion. They copied style of the rich, but changed it. Stealing the style of their betters and giving it a new edge. It was the first time the youth had money in their pocket. Their style became a quest for rebellion, an outlaw chic (influenced from western cowboy films of the times). The style stood in contrast to their environment.

The Teds hung around on street corners, As regards female teenagers, marriage was still important. With rockers the emphasis was on sexuality. Female status within this group was still dependent on having a boyfriend.

Here at we can see female teenagers rejecting society’s expectations of more traditional, feminine roles.

By the time the mods came in the 1960’s, the pill was invented. There was sexual freedom. There was full time work and people could move out of home. There was some independence for girls, but they were still expected to settle down and get married. (The marriage ban in Ireland was still in place till 1976, where women had to give up their job in the civil service when they got married). It wasn’t until 1989 that the pill became available in Ireland. Education also  encouraged girls to consider marriage as their careers. Females could be equal as long as they looked the part. Independence was short term.

The full documentary on street style culture can be seen at:

Hippies were also another subculture for teenagers in the sixties. It was quite American, and didn’t take off so much in England. Around 1968 the skinhead subculture began. They were influenced by English gents, wealthy Americans and Jamaican rude boys. With cromby coats, braces and rude boy hats.  A smart but tough street style. Class conflict was still high in England, and along with it’s music and fashion style, it was high in aggression. In the 1970’s there followed a casual style revolution (Pringle tops, tennis wear and Adidas trainors) influenced by football and originating in Liverpool, The fashion wasn’t dictated by the media, but by the street, for the street. It developed more towards label adoration as it grew. An ironic twist for street style to designer wear. Youth culture was influenced and then transformed by class. At this time in the late 70’s, we can see the start of slave to label that we still see today. The beginnings of a consumer, branding culture.


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