Story of a picture: Ulla Street Boys

‘Ulla Street Boys’ by Robin Dale was conceived as part of an ethnographic study of a post-industrial Teesside already in decline by the early 1970s. Sometimes referred to alongside his ‘A Spot of Bother’ taken during a match at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park ground, it has since come to define a profoundly regional take on suedehead. The boys, found on a terraced street corner in central Middlesbrough (the street still largely exists, save for the odd demolished part here and there), examine the camera as intently as it surveys them. An all too rare perhaps depiction of skinheadism in one of its more multiethnic settings, Andrew Stevens spoke to the Billingham-based photographer. Continue reading

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Two-stroke in your veins and two fingers up at the law – Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

Dubbing yourself a “terrorist” of any sort may not strike many as particularly wise in the current climate, but for the ‘two-stroke terrorists’ of the 80s scooterboy movement, recognition of any kind would be welcome. Former Scootering magazine editor Martin ‘Sticky’ Round has made a living for himself documenting the scooter scene globally since those days. In his book Scooterboys: The Lost Tribe (Carpet Bombing Culture), he has set out to capture the hallmarks of one of Britain’s last truly working class subcultures which defies pigeon-holing on any other level.

Andrew Stevens (Vespa PX125) sat down with Sticky to discuss police harassment, flight jackets and the suedehead roots of 80s cut-down scooters. Continue reading

Everybody’s an Actor, Shakespeare Said: ‘pre-suedeheads’ in 1968

Flavio Frezza, author of Italia Skins and translator of George Marshall’s Spirit of 69 into Italian, introduces us to a rarely seen British gem. Originally published in Italian on Crombie Media.

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Anyone into skinhead, mod, and related youth styles knows Bronco Bullfrog (1969), which was largely shot round Stratford E15 by Barney Platts-Mills. As is commonly claimed, the movie documents the transition from skinhead to suedehead, which was completed at the beginning of the following decade. Continue reading

Another Rebel Thread: an interview with Roger K. Burton

Having dressed film stars (Quadrophenia, Absolute Beginners, Young Soul Rebels) and countless music videos, it’s unsurprising that Roger Burton sought to not only document his time in the business but also the vast attire he’s amassed along the way. Rebel Threads (Laurence King Publishing) is that book, spanning the range of British youth subcultures from the war onwards and delving into the fashions which gave them their name. Continue reading

Do the monkey: Eastern Bloc boots for East End kids

We hope this article will shed light on questions you were always afraid to ask, for few topics are more divisive than monkey boots. However, Crombieboy does not pretend that his stab at trackng the history of the boot is comprehensive. It’s just an attempt that heavily relies on word-of-mouth accounts – for few topics are more shrouded in mystery than the history of this fine footwear item. If you know more than he was able to find out, we’d encourage you to enlighten us. Continue reading

The quest for Sta Prest: Nik Louis of Ivy Threads interviewed

The quest for the perfect pair of sta prest trousers is as old as humanity itself. However, it was only during a brief period between 1964 and some time in the 1970s that Levi’s produced immaculate perma-crease chinos from poly-cotton. Since then, humankind has been forced to put up with plenty of inferior product. As readers of this blog may remember, we often end up bitterly disappointed even when we put our hopes up high.

What distinguishes Nik Louis‘s brand Ivy Threads of Boston is its founder’s impressive knowledge of the original garments and a fanatical perfectionism otherwise only known from Japanese denim manufacturersCrombieboy talked to him about his plans to reproduce the original Sta Prest of the 1960s. Continue reading

Greens for the concrete jungle: the OG-107

Spring is here – or so they claim – and summer’s hopefully just around the corner. Come July and August, you’ll want to wear something lighter and more comfortable than raw denim strides – unless you like sweating like a pig and catching skin diseases, that is. Sta-prest chinos aren’t great everyday trousers, especially if you walk a lot – but how about jungle greens? The Northern Avenger tells you how to pull off army fatigues in style even when you’re working as a manual labourer. Continue reading

Brutus Nevapress revisited

A year ago, I announced the reissue of the ‘iconic’ 1966 Brutus NevaPress on this blog, concluding, “If they hold that crease, they might just be perfect”. Now that I’ve owned a pair of navy Brutus NevaPress for a year, it is high time I pass a verdict.

My trousers came in a very neat shade of navy, and the quality of the material seemed decent enough. 70% polyester and 30% cotton – probably no different from the much lower-priced Warrior or Relco trousers, but somehow, they seemed sturdier and more solidly finished, leaving a good first impression. Continue reading

Made to intimidate: before Dr Marten’s ruled

So you still think the ‘spirit of 69’ was all about cropheads polishing their Dr Marten’s to a mirror shine? You reckon battered footwear is for punks and high commando boots for boneheads and fetishists only? Well, think again. The Northern Avenger will give you a quick rundown of various boots worn before DM’s became all the rage. Continue reading

Combat: an interview with Ben Nevis Clothing of Camden

Among affordable clothing brands, there is one that enjoys almost unreserved respect among skinheads: Ben Nevis Clothing of London, known especially for its ‘Combat’ Harrington and donkey jackets. With its shop located within a few minutes walk from Camden Town station, Ben Nevis has been producing quality clobber for generations.
Continue reading