Sub-culture style: the mod

Phoebe Bower looks back in time at ‘the mod’ style, and how it fits into our wardrobes today

7th December 2015

Popularised by the 1979 British film Quadrophenia, the mod sub-culture began as a result of post-war affluence, which meant that for the first time, teenagers and young adults did not have to contribute their income from part-time jobs to the family home. Instead, they could spend it on other things, like clothes (Yay!). The mod look was inspired by the slightly earlier 1950’s Beatniks who formed a Bohemian portrait of turtlenecks and berets (everyone loves the French look), and the Teddy Boys, from whom the mods inherited their flamboyancy and what became the ‘Dandy’. For the working-class mods, an interest in Fashion was a way to escape from the hum-drum futility of everyday life, which they did with truly trendy clothes and original, authentic style.

The traditional mod look was a tailor-made suit, with a button-down shirt, a cashmere or wool jumper, and Chelsea boots or loafers. This style is ever imitated; men consistently copy elements of classic mod outfits, with looking smart being the aim. We don’t see many students decked out in a full-blown suit, a pity since I am sure you agree, a man in a suit is the most beautiful sight you have ever seen and that includes Ryan Gosling without a shirt on. However, the shirt and jumper combo is very popular, but with denim jeans replacing tailored trousers. Chelsea boots or a pair of loafers are perfect for a night out, and slicked back hair makes a man go from a 6 to a strong 8 out of 10. We can thank Essex for re-igniting that particular mod trend, I swear some lads spend more time fussing with their locks than I do! The parka jacket is synonymous with the mod sub-culture, and it seems everyone is wearing one or a variation of it at least. From the traditional khaki green to navy blue, or from fur-hooded to fur-lined, we can see clear mod influence in all of our favourite high-street stores.

‘‘Granted, we aren’t all taking amphetamines and heading down to Brighton for a rumble, but we are a generation that do something’’

Female mod fashion was androgynous, with short haircuts, men’s clothes (and I’m talking shirts, trousers and shoes, the whole caboodle, not just wearing your boyfriend’s hoodie to nip to the Tesco’s) and very subtle make-up. Although this look is a popular one, in the land of the Geordies false eyelashes are seen more commonly around town that bare faced beauties. However, the Mini-Skirt designed by Mary Quant is incredibly popular today and was a large part of that culture, and who doesn’t love a cheeky mini?

The mod culture is one that truly influences fashion today in some aspect of another. People still wear the clothes or listen to the music which was so popular when the mod trend began to find its feet in British society. Granted, we aren’t all taking amphetamines and heading down to Brighton for a rumble, but we are a generation that do something. We ask questions, we challenge and we fight which is what the mods were trying to do; rebelling against a society which didn’t want to listen to anyone under the age of 25. We have power as a group, and should strive to change things for the better, channelling that mod energy and spirit embodied by their fashion. Even if their clothes don’t stand the test of time, their rebel attitude definitely will.

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