Vintage Fashion Clothing Blog | Beyond Retro
Posted on September 28, 2016
This year sees a whole host of events taking place to celebrate, commemorate and of course commiserate the 40th anniversary of PUNK. A movement that was hated, jeered and repulsed by the mainstream media has now, 40 years later, been welcomed and classed as a truly British institution. To fully cement this, Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth has also given her backing and nod of approval. Back in 1976 things were very different... very different indeed.
PUNK grew out of a troubled time in England. Unemployment was on the rise and due to the striking of refuse workers the streets of London were literally stacked with rubbish, recreating a Dickensian bleakness to the rural landscape of disrepair. This winter of discontent led to a shared dissatisfaction with the youth of the mid 1970s and gave root to the beginnings of the PUNK. It has been well documented that John Lydon (later to be called Rotten) would walk round in torn clothes and sometimes a bin bag to reflect the state of the streets, "That was a perfect, perfect item of clothing. You'd just cut out a hole for your head and your arms and put a belt on, and you looked stunning." This act of fashion D.I.Y perfectly cements what PUNK was, and what it stood for. The act of doing something off your own back, whether that be picking up a guitar that you can’t play and making a horrendous noise to creating a dress out of shopping bags and safety pins, equally looking horrendous but both an act of self confidence.
In the beginning there was no name, music style or even a particular uniform to this music. PUNK rock had been around since the 1960s, usually referring to American bands trying to emulate The Rolling Stones (fuzz guitar laden and recorded in their folks garages). This also gave the term Garage Rock its maiden outing.
The first real rallying point was a small boutique on Chelsea’s Kings Road, formerly selling 1950s Teddy Boy revival clothing and then leather biker gear under the names Let It Rock and Too Fast Too Live, Too Young Too To Die. The shop had taken both these influences plus inspiration from the owners' recent trip to the New York underground music scenes. The shop was called SEX and its owners and designers were Malcolm McClaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood.
Describing their clothing manifesto as 'Anti-Fashion' the two embarked on a Dr. Frankenstein-esque orgy of garment mutilation. From creating offensive T-Shirts, emblazoned by naked cowboys to using leather bondage gear as accessories. The store attracted a young group of hangers on (this included all future Sex Pistol members) who, although could not afford any of the items on sale, made up for this by lending their aesthetic form of anti-fashion back to McClaren & Westwood. These youth were both artistic and destructive in equal measures and their schizophrenic traits were to become the defining features of what PUNK was.
Looking back, 40 years later, the PUNK scene was a catalyst to today's youth scenes and fashion movements. It was the first time that a melting pot of previous youth scenes concocted together. Rockabilly, Teddy Boys, Glam, Skinhead and Mod all went into the washing machine and came out united with a splash of day glo where the colours had run.
The truth that PUNK in its purest form had died by the time time The Sex Pistols first single of Anarchy in the UK came out, which is being used as the marker for this years anniversary, is irrelevant. The real lasting monument is that it tore down racial barriers, it gave kids with no hope or future a real chance to get ahead through fashion, music or artistic pursuits. PUNK may be dead but Punks will never die.
Words: Oliver Abbott
Posted on September 23, 2016
It's London Fashion Week baby!
If you live in the capital, it's pretty hard to escape the buzz that takes over when fashion royalty descend on the city to take in the latest trends. From Alexa Chung to Kendall Jenner and Anna Wintour, everyone wants to see first-hand what we're going to be wearing in six months time.
Regular readers of this blog will know that our product team have the exciting yet difficult task of identifying the key fashion trends from the shows and finding out how we can make these relevant to you - our vintage customers!
After careful consideration, the results are in!
Stripes-on-stripes-on-stripes have been all over the runway this season! To double-up on the season's trends, we suggest going for coppers or reds - another trend to watch for the coming months ahead!
This season, there's no such thing as too much denim. If we were to pick a signature garment for the season, we'd say the oversized denim jacket. These jackets have been used by designers throughout their collections to give a more relaxed feel. Minimal work wear styled jackets also remain on-trend. Why not try one of ours?
Taking inspiration from the Victorian style, ruffles are adding a theatrical element to the season's evening wear. Don't know about you, but we're loving the drama!
Try our suggestions!
This season it's all about embroidery. Think customized jackets with patches, beautiful and intricate stitching and shiny sequins. This trend is a winner as it can be worn from day-to-night and we're obsessed!
Try our suggestions!
Are you loving the fashion that's coming out of London Fashion Week? Try out these trends and get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we always love hearing from you!
Til' next time,
BR HQ x
Words: Louis Staples
Posted on September 15, 2016
From Bonnie and Clyde to Clueless - style on the silver screen has become synonymous with iconic fashion trends. To celebrate the release of her new book, The Fashion of Film, we caught up with author Amber Butchart talk about her journey from Beyond Retro employee to famed fashion historian! Amber's new book draws inspiration from how film has influenced fashion for over a century, taking a closer look at how the silver screen has transformed the catwalk over the last 100 years.
If you enjoy the interview below, why not join us in celebrating Amber's newest project with a one-off talk in our archive space in Dalston?! The talk will focuss on films lesser known for their influence on fashion, hopefully giving you guys a rare insight into the more surprising links between the silver screen and high fashion. Amber’s fashion knowledge has led her to contribute to multiple fields across cultural heritage, broadcasting and academia. As an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion, she regularly speaks nationally and internationally, and specialising in the historical intersections between dress, politics and culture. This is an event not to be missed!
Tickets are FREE and there will be complimentary drinks - this is not a drill. FIND MORE DETAILS HERE!
So Amber, when did you begin your love affair with vintage clothing?
I’ve always loved second hand clothes. I grew up charity shopping and going to jumble sales with my mum. It’s been my favourite way of shopping since forever. As a child and as a teenager I carried on with that in my home town before venturing to London’s Camden Market. It really is a lifelong obsession.
What do you find inspiring about fashion film?
As with second hand clothes, cinema has been a huge inspiration for me. I loved watching old films as a child and it really influenced the way that I dressed. I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Priscilla as an early teen, and I was obsessed with the idea of being a drag queen! I used to wish i’d been born a boy! I think it’s that love the idea of exaggeration and find the performance element of dressing interesting.
What's your favourite film for fashion inspiration?
I think The Gang's All Here (1943). I love anything with turbans and fruit!
What’s your favourite film genre?
I was keen to make the book not just about ‘Hollywood glamour’. I wanted to have different chapters for different genres such as horror and sci-fi. I watched Tron for the first time when I was writing the book and loved the aesthetic of it and how it foreshadowed the digital era. I really fell in love with the diversity of cinema when researching.
Do you enjoy the writing process?
It’s always a bit of both, isn’t it? I love researching. I researched at the British Institute and London College of Fashion libraries this time around which was great. It’s always difficult working to a deadline as there’s so much that you want to cram in. It’s a labour of love and it’s not easy but enjoyable.
What do you look for in a great vintage garment?
Something that is truly unique and stands out. Something extravagant - an over-the-top pieceI wouldn’t go vintage shopping for basics.
In your wardrobe, what are your most treasured items?
I have an old BIBA dress that belonged to my mum in the early 70’s. It’s floor-length and bottle green with medieval sleeves. I also have a printed victorian bodice from the Beyond Retro archive that fits like a glove.
If you were to give any advice to anyone who wants to start writing, what would it be?
Just go for it. There’s so many platforms now so just get stuck in. I started writing a blog which is a great way to develop your own voice
Making a documentary for BBC radio 4 world service about second hand clothing. The history of British illustrations for the British Library
If you like what you read, join us at our event to celebrate the release of Amber's book. Alternatively, follow Amber on Twitter, Instagram or visit her website to stay up to date with all her latest news!
Words: Louis Staples