As we’ve said before, Britain has a rich Subcultural fashion history. Most Subcultures are organic formations, consisting of groups of youth who all stand for something.
Since the late 50’s British fashion has consisted of many Subcultures, from Mods to Goths. Most of these trends were not formed with a designer paving the way for youth to follow. For example, the Mods of the 60s decided to take a direct turn away from the Teddy boy style of the 50’s and swapped the grease for a clean cut, smart look.
Mods in Piccadilly Circus, London, 1960’s. Photograph taken from Reddit.
Isn’t it just amazing how something can evolve from nothing more than a mere thought of rebellion?
All of the Subcultures Britain has witnessed have consisted of masses of working class youth creating an up rise. Take Acid house for an example, this particular Subculture swept Britain taking nearly every working class youth with it. They loved being part of something original, organic and most of all, their own. British Subcultural youth all strive for one predominant thing, which is freedom from the hegemony.
Their has been some controversy with this working class aesthetic though. Take Burberry for example, a high end luxury British heritage brand with strong iconography. The luxury brand was vexed when in the early 2000’s their iconic designs became the uniform for the working class kids of Britain. Eventually Burberry axed their original iconic nova check design adapting it with a more exclusive look.
British Chav’s donning early Burberry, circa 2000. Google images.
Fast forward to now, Burberry recently collaborated with designer Gosha Rubchinskiy on a collection which donned the original nova check print and working class aesthetic. Typically enough, Burberry clearly jumped on the bandwagon of the streetwear trend that is booming currently, diverting back to their original designs and contentiously donning that aesthetic they loathed. Maybe it’s cool now to carry this working class style?
Burberry X Gosha Rubchinskiy andAdwoa Aboah for Bailey’s final Burberry campaign, SS18.
What my main point is, no matter what the designer creates, it’s the youth on the streets who create the trend. We may not all love the Chav aesthetic which gave Burberry its British fame, but surely we can appreciate how youth began to take this trend and make it their own, can’t we? They tarnished all the of original connotations attached to the heritage brand, the same way Punks defaced Tartan. It is undisputedly obvious that these Subcultural youth create and form these trends and then more often than not, the designer follows, look at Skinheads, Mods, Goths, Casuals, Ravers.. the list is endless.