Saturday, 14 May 2011

Rockabilly vs. skinhead

Lately while walking about the streets of Dublin I have noticed more and more young lads dressed in skinhead style.
 First of all I was both impressed and amazed as these boys are between 12 and 16 and were not even born first time this movement was around, and their observation of the tiny details of the style would imply a deep love and respect for the ideals behind it.
Secondly it makes me wonder what inspired them. The skinhead movement gained popularity in the late 70s and early 80s (although I am aware the movement may have started as far back as the 60s) after the punk movement which was a pretty agressive reaction to the silly, over-dramatic and over indulgent glam period of the 1970s. Skinheads wore similarly eye-catchingly extreme hairstyles and clothes but the whole movement was about respect. Respect for their working class roots and respect for black/Jamaican and ska music, which makes it all the sadder to see racist skinheads giving the others a bad name.  I wonder is this a backlash against the celtic-tiger years of similar self indulgence?
I have always loved opposites in life, I love the extreme hair and the steel toe boots against the buttoned up collars, trilbys and smart clean style.  I love the girls with their feathery fringes against the shaved heads behind. I love the extreme style paired with the Fred Perry neat shirts.

The girls from Skinhead Giruls United on Facebook!

Female skinhead fashion fromThis is England 1983
Main cast of This is England
This is England is a film that has stayed with me since I saw it, and the follow up series last year had the same grit, heart and honesty in it that had made me fall in love with each of the characters first time round. Lol in particular, the main female character. Rarely are there female characters you wholly admire and look up to, and on the fashion side of things, her androgynous style (even on her wedding day!) was a really strong, dedicated, brave look with great impact.

My dilemma is every time I try cut my fringe into the proper Betty Page style with no side bits, a vision of Lol pops up and I can't do it. Genuinely, there is no-one I'd rather look like, style-wise, but unfortunately I think it's a little too extreme for me to get away with now. I wish I discovered her when I was younger!

Just can't do it!


  1. This is a great post! I adore Lol's character and I know a fair few boys who have a huge crush on her too!
    I'm not brave enough to do the skin-head hair either. Maybe a button-up Fred Perry and Crombie will have to do!

  2. Thanks so much for your post Whisty, and I love your blog by the way!
    Buttoned up Fred Perry and skinny black jeans (with my side fringe-bits intact!) is about as close as I'm going to get to the look too for fear of scaring people...

  3. I personally have always loved the skinhead style.. but going for a skinhead hairstyle has always been a challeneg stick with a full on fringe and thin the rest of the hair round the head easier said than done I know.
    This is england brings out the way of life back in the 80s when jobs were few and far between.. now thanks to david cameron things are going to go back to the way things were back then expect to see BNP signs all over the place, people fighting in the streets riots and plenty of skinheads.....