On a recent visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum with a good friend of mine, we made a bee line for the Fashion gallery, aiming to have a good time reminiscing about the way that folks have dressed through the ages. Sadly, the gallery didn’t have as extensive a display of clothes as we would have liked to have seen, as we were especially attracted to the dress codes of youth subcultures in England as they were prevalent in the era that might be described in the future by aficionados as “the age of teenage”.
There were a few examples of outfits worn by, mods, rockers, hippies, punks, new romantics, Goths, skin heads, rude boys and soul boys amongst others. These clothes were worn by the generations described by social observers as “baby boomers” and “generation x”. I remember the moment in the mid to late 1980s, when it became less fashionable to express one’s creativity as a young person through dressing up. Ever since then, it seems to me as if British men have decided to give up on this way of being.
I’m sure there will be some folks who think I’m simply being nostalgic and doing the usual thing of seeing diminishing returns in the expressive nature of subsequent generations – this is all too easy to think or say. I am aware that there have been other developments in the Internet Age that might be of more interest to those described as “millennials” than the cut of one’s coat, shirt or trousers, but it does affect the range of choices that many of us have nowadays.
The high street shops don’t stock that many men’s clothes in bright colours any more, probably because they are less likely to sell them, than used to be the case.
Looking around at Glastonbury a couple of years ago, I hardly noticed the clothes that other guys wore. Is there a market for creative and colourful menswear that is being left untapped by the fashion industry of today?