To Mod or Not to Mod… That is the Question.
Much of our fashion sense is borrowed from subcultures and even sub-genres of music. The ‘Modernists’ were no different.
In their heyday (50’s to early 70’s, depending on who you ask) the Mods’ lust for style is what drew most people quickly into an esthetic all of their own. The meaning of being a mod change over time though, much like today’s ‘hipster’.
In general these young, hip, modern jazz enthusiasts were setting a trend. A trend that quickly became a social norm. Mods were average, everyday poor or working class guys (and gals), who wanted to look the opposite, and oh boy did they. Here is what Paul Weller has to say:-
Much of this style could be traced to continental hi-fashion of the time. Say what you like but all good trends originate from somewhere, and although Mod’s were distinctly British, it has to be said that their style is borrowed from the continent (mainly Italy).
Even how they got around had to be stylish. For instance, the typical mod scooter (Lambretta or Vespa) was like a badge of membership. If you had one, there is a good chance you’re getting the girl you like. Is it politically correct to say so? Nope. True? Ask Roger Daltrey…
To be a mod was to have sophistication, style, and possibly the earliest instances of what we now know as ‘swag’. These guys had confidence in their identity, and partied like it was 1969.
Much like general pop culture, with every passing year mod culture evolved into something a little more serious. Famously, Brighton Beach was a battleground in the mid 60’s, when mods and rockers collided (think Elvis, not Led Zeppelin).
Mods Rule! Well… some more than others.
The famous chant, ‘Mods Rule’, filtered down through to the mod army, and was literally a battle cry against the rockers at times. If they really were an army, you could say the some of the generals were their music heroes.
Funnily enough, some of the most iconic mod-influenced music makers were not strictly mods themselves. At least not from what’s known about early mods (in particular their style… hippy chic). The mod tree has grown in all sorts of directions and has reached some unexpected places.
The style has traveled the world and even in Britain it has had numerous revivals– be it punk outfits or ska music. Most notably Oasis made a semi-revival of the mod style in the early 90’s.
If you want a visual experience of Mod Culture, there is really only one thing that jumps to mind at first… ‘Quadrophenia’. The Movie is based on the first rock opera from the band ‘The Who’. You want to look, act, think like a mod? Study ‘Quadrophenia’ like a monk studies a scroll.
On a side note: see if you can recognize the most bad-ass bellboy around.
Do you even mod, brah?
So how to be a mod in Britain today? Well…lots of ways but the general advice would be to just look like one. Mod culture is like pop-culture in general—some great stuff, some not so great.
Luckily, the best thing about mods is that they looked fantastic. Love them or hate them, mods have style. If you want to replicate that style you don’t have to be a purist of mod history. Yes, some handy tips might go far.
Most importantly, you need a mod suit. Mods suits are sharp, crisp, and neat. Mod suits have a particular style, perhaps most notably: shortened legs, and accentuated collars. Check out the video below from the BBC.
Britain is the home of the mods and you can still find any number of outlets that have mod suits for sale. Luckily for us, the mod suit is alive and well.
We can help with the suit but we can’t provide the all important swagger. If in doubt, you don’t have it!
To paraphrase a (still popular) mod chant…
“Where are the mods? Where are the mods? Where are the, where are the, where are the mods?”