Youth Fashion – what’s that about?

Now I’m not talking about high culture here or looking to get into the range of styles. It matters little.

winkle-pickers, beehives, split jeans, arses hanging out, no laces, mini-skirts, levis, Italian suits, waist coats, plastic coats, what-ever.

Goths, Punks, Hip-cats, Rockabillies, Hippies, Skinheads……….

What’s it about?

Every new generation creates a new set of equally daft fashion statements.

It’s all about sex isn’t it? It’s a statement of fertility and accessibility isn’t it? It’s saying – ‘we’re available’.

But people hang on to their youth and fashion long past its sell-by date. Each youth fashion and haircut sticks around long past the youth, fertility and availability it signifies.

That is why youth fashion has to change all the time.

Other cultures – like some African cultures – have a ceremony where the youths are stripped of their hair and youth culture and enter into an age of adulthood. They marry and settle down.

But hey – fashion is fun – right?

8 thoughts on “Youth Fashion – what’s that about?

  1. It’s been going around in circles since the 1920’s. Then it took a major dip into conformity during the 1930’s depression, then the war years, then the first half of the 1950’s and then it ignited a spark in the latter 1950’s. Since then it’s gone around in a perpetual circle, all a mish-mash with something from that ere mixed with this era etc. Nothing really new has come out of it in general terms. Specialist yes, but that’s another subject entirely.
    It’s simply not true to say that every new generation creates a new set of fashion statements. Everything the current youth generation is wearing today has been recycled from the past. I can’t remember anything quite so square and conformist than what we see them wearing today. I’m a bit disappointed with them to be honest. Youth have really developed a very clean and organised approach to footwear. Gone are the dirty old hippie ideals with raggedy scruffy down at heel approach. The youth also wash their clothes far more often than a lot of people did back in previous eras.
    Youth clothing styles have been heavily branded so automatically there are fewer numbers of teen inventing styles for themselves. Half the population seems to be wearing Liam Gallagher’s ‘Pretty Green’ clothing collection. We’ve got ten million clones with not a spark of self-development ability. Youth culture as we knew it has been killed off and near to being dead and buried.

    What about African culture? What’s that got to do with Western youth culture?

    1. From my perspective the establishment has taken firm control of the youth market. They parcel up rebellion and sell it. Fashion is largely dictated by business. Youth is targeted. But there is still some genuine youth culture to be found between all the silly split jeans.

      1. I should think from anybody’s perspective as there’s nothing individual with your perspective. Not if we’re all looking at the same thing. It’s understanding where it came from that does give perspective. It’s knowing these trousers are an Italian cut first produced in 1972 or that shirt collar’s from an original Mod Ben Sherman in 1964. That’s perspective.
        There hasn’t been any rebellion since around 1990-ish so today there’s nothing to parcel and it’s all fairly decent quality very square, very sensible and very every day clothing. There’s nothing mother wouldn’t like.
        Fashion has always been dictated by business, not largely, but entirely.
        Unless something is widespread popular it cannot be regarded as “fashion”. When it’s a small individual thing we call that “style”. “Fashion” and “Style” are not the same thing. Some people wear their own style, but they are not necessarily fashionable.
        Youth is targeted you state – erm, yes, what’s new there I ask?
        It’s not so much targeted as catered for. Adult men aren’t too prone to want to be seen in a lime-green coloured pair of strides are they? Or yellow trainers!

      2. Jane well it is sort of true that there hasn’t been any mass youth rebellion since the nineties but there have been many pockets.
        I would not agree that all youth culture has been led by business. There are many examples of kids doing their own thing, making their own stuff cheaply and being extremely individualistic within the prevailing culture.

      3. You know what I think Opher? I think you’re beginning to ever so slightly catch up to what I’ve been trying to tell you. It’s no coincidence that I worked in women’s fashion mags for long enough that just maybe, just a teensy weensy bit maybe that I’ve got some knowledge on this. I couldn’t even begin to guess what your qualifications on this are, but what exactly are they? Don’t worry I won’t ask you how we measure up for a bra fit!

        Yet you would “not agree that all youth culture has been led by business.”

        `Fraid so Opher, `fraid so. Ever so much so in fact. Your off the boil here.
        It’s entirely business run. Even the down to the choice of fabrics to make one’s own clothes. They intentionally “run out” of supply to promote something else that just might be a little bit more pricey, a little bit more hard to obtain, therefore a little bit more prestigious. All the tricks in the book.

        You said “There are many examples of kids doing their own thing, making their own stuff cheaply and being extremely individualistic within the prevailing culture”.

        Yes indeed there are Opher. We call that “Style” or “Style Driven”.

        Just look at these silly split jeans that you refer to above. They can now be bought in a thousand combinations from every highstreet store. No more does a kid have to actually wear them out, they just buy them like that – that’s fashion.
        The kid who did wear his out to look like that – that’s style.

      4. Yes Jane I would agree that most youth culture is led and run from business – led by celebrities and fashion. No, not all of it.
        I certainly did not buy my style. I used a lot of second-hand stuff and tailored my own – altering jeans and tops, sewing and changing. A lot of the arts school kids made their own. However, as soon as a style catches on business moves in and takes over. My wife made and designed my stuff and hers.
        In the 50s, 60s and 70s there was a lot of individualistic styles that were handmade or put together from ethnic and secondhand sources that were not controlled by the fashion business – at least at first.

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