Brexit terms and migration issues are up for discussion in the UK while you add that impulse-buy item to your cart. Before a decision is reached, it’s important to look back at history and make sense of the British disregard for authority—especially in terms of fashion. Here’s a breakdown of the ways in which British Invasion changed the way we think about fashion and, subsequently, a culture.
If the sentiment of 1960s Britain had to be summed up in one word, it would be insouciance. Blame the je ne sais quoi and disregard for order on The Beatles–the kings of cool. Erring on side of sloppiness was the new norm of the decade and no one nailed it quite like them. The spark of Beatlemania threw Britain into a new relief, from where the emergence of ‘counterculture’ would sail across the Atlantic and catch on like a bad case of seasonal flu across the globe.
London in the 1960s was the place to be. With a surge of pop music that would change the globalscape and an aesthetic to match, the city in Diana Vreeland’s words, was “the most swinging”. Shift dresses in bold stripes or the Union Jack (depending on the level of patriotism one felt) took over the streets, making ostentation redundant.
The Sixties was also the decade when Mary Quant introduced the mini, with hemlines so short they were gravity-defying. This wasn’t a mere style statement; the hemlines would come to signify a major development in the women’s right issue – the introduction of the Pill. Three decades later, Spice Girls brought the trend back in their quest to reinstate the sentiment of Girl Power.
With the emergence of subcultures a-plenty, the Mod movement wasn’t to be left behind. An evolutionary step-up from the jazz scene of the 1950s, the Mods were minimal and progressive in their approach. The furthering of the Modernist art, design and architectural movement manifested in fashion through linear cuts and geometric patterns.
The pride of Britain in the ’60s saw a second coming back in the ’90s, when British pop music swept up the world once again. From Spice Girls to Boyzone, the girl/boy band culture had a strong following and became iconic through the symbolism and motifs of the British legacy. This is also when the British high street brands emerged and have now established their footing. Get a piece of British fashion here.