The Re-emergence of the Mod Scene by Claire Harrington

The Re-emergence of the Mod Scene

According to the top menswear catwalks, the Mod style is going to be even bigger and better than usual this summer. Although a traditionally British look, the iconic Mod style is set to grace mens' wardrobes across the world as many international designers fight to get their Mod interpretations into the mainstream retailers.

Mod style originated from Britain in the 1950s, but was heavily influenced and created by the impact of American rock and black urban music. It was at a time when young Brits were beginning to tire of traditionalism - in both music and culture - and were looking for new forms of identification, inspiration and rebellion. Suddenly the traditional working man's suit was adapted - well-fitting tailored trousers were made impractically tight, and men began to mis-match suit jackets and trousers, and pair shirts with a new, thin style of tie. Colour was suddenly introduced into an otherwise conservative grey and black suit scheme - the introduction of bright shirts in shades of pink and blue soon became commonplace. Trousers were shortened to produce the ankle trouser, and - with the arrival of the scooter brigade in the early 60s - along came a range of sportswear that was a cross between formal and casual.

Statement dressing

The original Mod look was a statement of rebellion and experimentation. Young people wanted to be free and wanted to branch outside the confines of traditionalism. This fashion - that centred around music - lasted in its prime for around five years. At its prime, it was considered risque, out-of-the-ordinary and niche. Heavily influenced by bands such as The Who, and genres such as American Ska, Rock and Soul, the Mod look thrived on the unknown, the different and the new. The 1950s also saw the introduction of many new vehicles that also had an impact on Mod fashion, for example the kit car and the scooter. Scooters became a fashion accessory and clothing was adapted to ensure rides were more comfortable. Kit cars (building one's own car from scratch) also became a popular way of expression. In the 1950s, kit cars were so new that firms hadn't even started introducing kit car insurance, however clothing was adapted to fit in with the craftsmanship of building and driving these vehicles (elasticated waists, casual shirts, looser tailoring). Men thrived on ways to reflect these new lifestyle choices in the way they dressed. It wasn't long before this look became more mainstream, however, and the Mod style deciphered off down many different avenues.

In the 21st century, the Mod look is undergoing a bit of a transformation. The indie and alternative style has remained popular since the start of the new Millennium, and styles have varied to the point of extreme. However, now there is a real want to return to the roots of the authentic Mod look, but to bring it up to date and in line with modern culture. The Mod look of today entails the same principals - tailoring is key, and suits adopt a shrunken look - particularly in the leg, around the ankles, and in the waist. Skinny ties and blazer jackets that have just three buttons are as popular now as they were back in the day.

Mod revival

This season, reports from the catwalk are that Mod is undergoing a huge revival in 2012. However, Mod has been "revived" many times before. In fact, every decade since the style's creation, Mod has undergone a revival or make-over. In the seventies, it was The Jam, in the eighties, the style was accessorised and played with, and in the nineties we saw the introduction of bands such as Oasis who reignited the trend. Since the start of the Millennium, Britain has spawned an array of indie bands that have revived Mod once again - and have subsequently created the "hipster" culture of London that has seeped into many other developed urban cities across the world.

This summer, menswear collections are reviving Mod once again. Dolce & Gabbana, for example, has produced a range of slim ties mixed with classic, slim-fitting suit tailoring. Bomber jackets are en vogue once again as well, with ranges from designers such as Hermes being mixed with knit- and sweat-wear. We are also seeing a speedy return of black and white stripes, dots, spots and zig zags - all creating an experimental look for men that brings the Mod individuality into the modern day and age.

The Mod-ern man

Don't expect the monotone looks of the 1950s and 1960s though; although this season's Mod clothes are somewhat subdued in colour tones, they are injected with bright accessories and patterns. The new Mod look is for the modern male that has tried his hand at experimenting and now feels at his best and most comfortable taking the most flattering elements of original Mod style and wearing them to his advantage.

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