Between the late 70’s and the early nineties, skinheads were considered public enemy number one; starting around the East end of London and soon spreading to European cities, and later as far as Russia, the USA…The political affiliations of most skins in those days, and their inclination towards violence made them fairly unpopular to say the least.
Since then, many youths have reclaimed the skinhead style in a “back to the origins” spirit (the mostly non-racist 1969 reggae aficionado post-mods skinheads/suedeheads). Also note that a section of the gay community adopted the look in the late 80’s/early 90’s.
The contribution of the skinhead movement to style and fashion cannot be underestimated; sometimes in a very direct way, as in the case of top fashion photographer Nick Knight, who published the first book about skins in the early 80’s, but this influence is also obvious in relation to the late Alexander McQueen, Jean-Paul Gaultier…
Skinheads were the first urban tribe to wear Dr. Martens boots, the first to bleach their jeans, the first to adopt the MA1 flying (or “bomber”) jacket (which is massive at the moment) as well as the military green cargo pants; they kept alive (alongside the mods) brands like Fred Perry, Ben Sherman, the Harrington jacket….And not to forget the cropped hair, which at that time was only sported by the military and Venezuelan prison inmates.
With their right-wing image, most respectable people would refuse to have (at least officially) anything to do with skinheads. The French “Front National” has been attempting to get rid of, or at least to hide their embarrassing presence for decades.
However Dean and Dan Caten, we know it, do not do political correctness. With their habit of mixing together very unlikely concepts, their fall winter 2008/2009 was named: the “skihead revolt”. No this is not a typo, “skiing” met “skins”: high “bovver” boots, turn up jeans, braces, camouflage, tartan…it was all there. Nicky Crane* must have been spinning in his grave…..(yet when you read his strange story, may be not so much actually!)
Note that the boy’s (kids) F/W2015-2016 collection (skiskapunk) contains similar designs.
Funny to think that back in 1987, being dressed like that and bumping into a group of immigrant or anti-fascist youths would guarantee a serious beating….Whereas now the same look could make you the victim of gay bashing!
*Nicky Crane was a British skinhead known for his right-wing sympathies and violent behaviour, who later came out as a gay man.