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The rise of the Mods. Music and Fashion combined.

The Mods were a subculture that arose out of Late nineteen fifties Britain that is still felt today in the music and fashion industry and by the youth themselves. The pinnacle of the influence was felt in the nineties by the BritPop movement but as the purveyors of that period age it has had less effect on the current generation.  The style is smart with Fred Perry and Farah Shirts and suits plus plain jackets or large green Parkas being the style. The style is still very much available and can be viewed at where it still receives a new following. Let’s look at where the Mods came from.

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The movement started as a reaction by young working class men who suddenly found that they had a bit more money in their pocket than they had over the last few decades. It was not the done thing in the rather drab and austere nineteen fifties to wear anything in the way of flamboyant as it seemed to be an insult to the war generation plus rationing was still in effect and clothing material was a bit in short supply. The youth had found themselves thrust into roles in employment that would have been taken by the generation lost in the war so they found a disposable income that their forefathers could not have dreamed of. The first kind of movement was the Teddy boys who favoured haircuts and suits but it was the Mods who really began the first movement where the clothes were as important as the music. They used the Italian and French art scenes for ideas rather than the traditional British ones. These were taken up by the Rockers who were totally opposed to the Mods who they saw as effeminate due to the favouring suits and scooters as instead of Jeans leather jackets and motor bikes. A rocker went to a pub whereas the Mods hung out in Coffee shops that were open longer and played more Motown and R’n’B.

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The look was then taken on by several Rock Bands like the The Who and later The Jam in the late seventies (which fused it with a post punk sentimentality) but the main thrust of the movement began to wane when the original Mods grew into parenthood and soon found that the responsibility of family and middle management or the shop floor was digging into their ability to be an open Mod anymore. The movement found itself absorbed or reinterpreted as these things generally are with other cultures. The most direct link though is clearly the Ska two tone movement which was a multicultural multiracial movement that owed much to those R’n’B blues loving coffee shop denizens.