In this blog post, I wish to explore the initial research i’m undertaking in order to have a wider understanding of the subculture of mods, and how it is leading me to the ideas process for the design.
Mods developed in the post war era, the 1960s where they wanted to make a statement, and rebel against British culture and the class system. Originally, mods were a set of working-class men who had a high interest in Italian clothes, shoes, and style in general. This influence came from Italian films and magazines of the era.
The predecessors of the Mods were the Teddy Boys, and the mods took a lot of there ideologies forward into there own subculture, for example dressing well and keeping clean and preened.
Due to the baby boom post war, Britain was becoming an increasingly younger country, opening up an opportunity for someone to take the attention of a new lucrative market. New technology meant there was less reliance on man power, thus giving the working class more free time. Youth culture would be transformed and the social and cultural impact would be massive.
Instead of hanging out in pubs and bars, Mods populated in coffee shops which stayed open until the morning, instead of closing at 11pm. These coffee shops played music such as jazz, and blues, which later turned into R&B and black American Music. This was significant because they were rebelling against culture at the time, that discriminated against the colour of peoples skin. Mods believed in views and ideologies, not the colour of peoples skin.
Mods had a high interest in fashion, and the media made this very clear to the wider public. Dressing for show was completely transformed as the youths of the 1960s eradicated the idea that male clothing simply a status indicator. Around this time, it was a common stereotype that only homosexuals were interested in fashion. Mods threw this idea away, revolutionising the way people looked at male grooming as fashion and clothing took precedence over anything else. High attention to detail was shown in there presentation, any scuffs on shoes would be polished out, hair would be preened and look presentable,
Originally inspired by the teddy boys subculture, and were the forerunners to modern day skinny jeans. The teddy boys desired the dandy look, and inspired much of early mod fashion. The jeans were tight around the ankles with a hipster waist, that was intended as a unisex piece of clothing.
The two most popular jackets worn by mods were Harrington’s and Parka’s, which supplied functionality and formality. The Harrington was originally designed in 1937 by the Miller brothers, who strove to produce a lightweight, windproof and waterproof jacket. The lining was Scottish tartan and the wrist cuffs were elasticated, in keeping with the tight fitting Italian clothing they love. Parkas, on the other hand, became popular among mods from army surplus stores for there protective qualities. They were usually fur lined, making them incredibly warm with zippers and hoods too. As they were from the army, they usually came in standard issue green, so mods dyed there parkers to match the colour of there scooters.
Gender and Identity
Mods often challenged gender norms by using eye shadow, eyeliner, and even lipstick.
Shoes and Boots
Wrinkle pickers and Chelsea boots were popular during this time. Winklepickers had a long pointed toe, which is were the name came from, since they were said to resemble a type of pin used to eat periwinkles. They often were made from black patent leather, white, or patterned leather. Chelsea boots also had a pointed toe that originated from horse riding. The tight-fitting, slim ankle boots were adopted by The Beatles, giving them the nickname “Beatle Boots”. Originally most were commonly found in black leather, suede also became popular toward the end of the 1960’s.
Mod suits were highly tailored, with pointed collars that were traditionally made of mohair. Mods combined this with a button down shirt, tight fitting of course, and a skinny tie. Grey and black suits were the conventional norm at this time, however mods changed this and and used a variety of different colours including red and green. Turtlenecks also came into fashion in the 1960s among men, and sometimes replaced the button down shirts in a suit.
Scooters in the 1960s offered an affordable method of transport, and became popular amongst mods as there clothes would stay clean, being less oily than motorbikes, and they could leave clubs a lot later than if they had to get public transport. Cheaper than cars, scooters were a cheap alternative method of transport and therefore the working class could even afford them. Scooters were seen as a fashion statement, and colour would be added to them as well as multiple mirrors. Lamberettas and Vespa’s were often common amongst mods as it was in keeping with there love of Italian fashion from films and magazines. There image was ‘cool’ and the bikes were sleek in design.