“Dressed from head to toe with a consciousness close to obsession and a luxury of details, mods were work of arts wrapped in mohair.” Paolo Hewitt

Born in the 50s, the mod subculture has nerve centre the Carnaby Street district in London. Mods, apocope of ‘modernist’, often son of workers who aspired to more ease and dive into modernity : the consumer society. With their sophisticated taste and their tendency to consumption, mods are out of touch with that of another subculture : rockers. A rivalry that reaches its paroxysm in spring 1984 when riots opposed mods to rockers bursted in the streets of Brighton.

Young people from working class obsessed with clothing

Mods develop an obsession for clothes. Unlike rockers, they advocate for a sharp look of young men of good breeding that contrasts with their modest social origins. Inspired by italian creators, American military surplus and British tailor tradition, Mods redefine post-war masculine elegance. Their uniform is composed of button-down shirts, polos, 3-piece slim-fitted suits, with 3- button jackets, thin lapels, double vent, low-waisted trousers and white jeans. Riding their Vespa, mods protect their clothes under large military jacket. Their m-51 fishtail are patched with RAF cockade or rock band patches.

A youth rocked by the Kinks and the Who

The mod subculture finds its quintessence in its musical tastes, precise but eclectic. Mods are fond of blues and soul vinyls. The movement quickly generated its own bands like The Kinks or the High Numbers (which will become The Who). These bands perform in fashionable clubs such as the Marquee in London, the Scene and the Flamingo. It is a never-ending dance, helped by amphétamines sold a shilling the unit. Music and dance are omnipresent, each night at 10, bands performed in the Ready Steady Go show. The program offered for the first time live gigs of the best trending bands in the middle of a young dandy audience, filmed in a little studio in the heart of London.

From 1966, the mod movement faltered, the activist youth splits into the hippie movement and skinheads groups. The mods revolution will then by mythologized by the movie Quadrophenia produced in 1979 by Franc Roddam, in which we follow the late-night outing of young london mods.

THE WHO. London. 2

DALTREY, Peter. London, United Kingdom. 1967. 

Rockers vs. Mods. Brighton, United Kingdom. May 18th, 1964

DANIELS, Phil, act. Quadrophenia’s soundtrack album cover. 1979.

THE KINKS. London, United Kingdom. 1968. 

THE KINKS. Ready Steady Go. London, United Kingdom. 1964. 

    « historically done by hand, with a striking visual detail in lighter, brighter fabrics »
    «Writer of memory, Patrick Modiano is also the writer of fabrics.»
    « the aesthetics described as “French Mod”: extensive collars on structured shirts, a bit of flair here and a touch of paisley there. »
    « from being synonymous with rebellion, exemplified within the punk scene and anarchist movements to symbolizing freedom and unity »
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