British Subcultures | How They Shaped UK Fashion
(Mods & Rockers, Skinheads and Football Casuals to UK Garage and Grime)
Evolution of Subcultures
The UK is famous for having many subcultures such as the Punks, Mods, Goths, Skinheads, Ravers and Casuals. You name it and we’ll have it. With the coming of subcultures in the UK clothing and lifestyle has crossed boarders a couple of the times. As of late some of the trends and British Born activities have found its way across the pond to America where our style and music has taken off in a big way since The Beatles.
Mods & Rockers were two conflicting British Youth Subcultures of the early/mid 1960s to early 1970s. Media coverage of mods and rockers fighting in 1964 sparked a moral panic about British youth, and the two groups became widely perceived as violent, unruly troublemakers. The rocker subculture was centered on motorcycling, and their appearance reflected that.
Rockers generally wore protective clothing such as black leather jackets and motorcycle boots (although they sometimes wore brothel creeper shoes). The style was heavily influenced by Marlon Brando in The Wild One. The common rocker hairstyle was a pompadour, while their music genre of choice was 1950s rock and roll, played by artists including Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Bo Diddley. The mod subculture was centred on fashion and music, and many mods rode scooters. Mods wore suits and other cleancut outfits, and preferred 1960s music genres such as soul, rhythm and blues, ska, beat music, and British blues-rooted bands like The Who, The Yardbirds, and Small Faces.
Football Casuals – with the police always intervening around the football matches, football violence was steadily decreasing. The coppers were getting smarter. Sniffing out trouble from miles away and hitting down hard on football violence. However that wasn’t what the casuals wanted. Attitude wasn’t what the football lads needed. They needed to be smart. Avoid detection from the boys in blue so they had to blend in with the crowd. One way for this to be accomplished is with their fashion, the casuals are on tour every weekend and made sure they dress to impress. They have eyes for the trainers, the admiration of the parkas and love of the European tennis brands came into fashion. Brands such as Stone Island, Fila, Ellesse, Lacoste, CP Company, Sergio Tacchini and Fred Perry became branded into their identity. It was the building bricks off the British culture we see today. Casuals have been portrayed in films and television programmes such as ID, The Firm and The Football Factory.
(Text by Taylor D – Web Assistant)
UK Garage | Grime & Jungle – (also known as UKG) is a genre of music originating from the United Kingdom in the early 1990s through pirate radio as mainstream radio stations weren’t an option, so we went out and made our own stations so everyone from London and all over the UK could tune in. The genre usually features a distinctive 4/4 percussive rhythm with syncopated (shuffling) hi-hats, cymbals and snares, and in some styles, beat-skipping kick drums. Garage tracks also commonly feature ‘chopped up’ and time-shifted or pitch-shifted vocal samples complementing the underlying rhythmic structure at a tempo usually around 140 BPM. UK garage was largely subsumed into other styles of music and production in the mid-2000s, including 2-step, dubstep, bassline and grime. The decline of UK garage during the mid-2000s saw the birth of UK funky, which is closely related. Fashion played a major part in every decade especially in the 90’s and early 2000’s with everyone from the UK wearing Moschino, Valentino, Avirex, Nike, Lot 29, Akademiks, Adidias etc.
Artists such as Craig David, Grant Nelson, M.J. Cole, Artful Dodger, Jaimeson, So Solid Crew, Heartless Crew, The Streets, Shanks & Bigfoot, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Sunship (Ceri Evans), Oxide and Neutrino and numerous others have made garage music mainstream in the UK, whilst Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Kano’s arrival raised the profile of grime, an offshoot of garage.
Relationship with jungle – in the United Kingdom, where jungle was very popular at the time, garage was played in a second room at jungle events. After jungle’s peak in cultural significance, it had turned towards a harsher, more techstep influenced sound, driving away dancers, predominantly women. Escaping the 170bpm jungle basslines, the garage rooms had a much more sensual and soulful sound at 130bpm.
DJs started to speed up garage tracks to make them more suitable for the jungle audience in the UK. The media started to call this tempo-altered type of garage music “speed garage”, 4×4 and 2-step’s predecessor. DJs would usually play dub versions (arrangements without vocals) of garage tracks, because pitch-shifting vocals could sometimes render the music unrecognizable (although sped up and time-stretched vocals were an important part of the early jungle sound, and later played a key role in speed garage). The absence of vocals left space in the music for MCs, who started rhyming to the records.