A skinhead is a member of a subculture that originated among working class youths in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and then spread to other parts of the world. Named for their close-cropped or shaven heads, the first skinheads were greatly influenced by West Indian (specifically Jamaican) rude boys and British mods, in terms of fashion, music and lifestyle. Originally, the skinhead subculture was primarily based on those elements, not politics or race. Since then, however, attitudes toward race and politics have become factors by which some skinheads align themselves. The political spectrum within the skinhead scene ranges from the far right to the far left, although many skinheads are apolitical. Fashion-wise, skinheads range from a clean-cut 1960s mod-influenced style to less-strict punk- and hardcore-influenced styles
In the late 1950s, the United Kingdom's entrenched class system limited most working class people's educational, housing, and economic opportunities. Nevertheless, Britain's post-war economic boom led to an increase in disposable income among many young people. Some of those youths spent that income on new fashions popularised by American soul groups, British R&B bands, certain movie actors, and Carnaby Street clothing merchants. These youths became known as mods, a youth subculture noted for its consumerism and devotion to fashion, music and scooters.
Mods of lesser means made do with practical clothing styles that suited their lifestyle and employment circumstances: work boots or army boots, straight-leg jeans or Sta-Prest trousers, button-down shirts, and braces (called suspenders in North America). When possible, these working class mods spent their money on suits and other sharp outfits to wear at dancehalls, where they enjoyed soul, ska, bluebeat and rocksteady music.
Around 1965, a schism developed between the peacock mods (also known as smooth mods), who were less violent and always wore the latest expensive clothes, and the hard mods (also known as gang mods, lemonheads or peanuts ), who were identified by their shorter hair and more working class image. These hard mods became commonly known as skinheads by about 1968. Their short hair may have come about for practical reasons, since long hair can be a liability in industrial jobs and in streetfights. Skinheads may also have cut their hair short in defiance of the more middle class hippie culture.
In addition to retaining many mod influences, early skinheads were very interested in Jamaican rude boy styles and culture, especially the music: ska, rocksteady, and early reggae (before the tempo slowed down and lyrics became focused on topics like black nationalism and the Rastafari movement).
Skinhead culture became so popular by 1969 that even the rock band Slade temporarily adopted the look as a marketing strategy. The subculture gained wider notice because of a series of violent and sexually explicit novels by Richard Allen, notably Skinhead and Skinhead Escapes. Due to largescale British migration to Perth, Western Australia, many British youths in that city joined skinhead/sharpies gangs in the late 1960s and developed their own Australian style.
By the 1970s, the skinhead subculture started to fade from popular culture, and some of the original skins dropped into new categories, such as the suedeheads (defined by the ability to manipulate one's hair with a comb), smoothies (often with shoulder-length hairstyles), and bootboys (with mod-length hair; associated with gangs and football hooliganism). Some fashion trends returned to the mod roots, with brogues, loafers, suits, and the slacks-and-sweater look making a comeback.
In 1977, the skinhead subculture was revived to a notable extent after the introduction of punk rock. Most of these revivalist skinheads reacted to the commercialism of punk by adopting a look that was in line with the original 1969 skinhead style. This revival included Gary Hodges and Hoxton Tom McCourt (both later of the band the 4-Skins) and Suggs, later of the band Madness. From 1979 onwards, punk-influenced skinheads with shorter hair, higher boots and less emphasis on traditional styles grew in numbers and grabbed media attention, mostly due to football hooliganism. There still remained, however, skinheads who preferred the original mod-inspired styles.
Eventually different interpretations of the skinhead subculture expanded beyond Britain and continental Europe. In the United States, certain segments of the hardcore punk scene embraced skinhead styles and developed their own version of the subculture.
In addition to short hair, skinheads are identified by their specific clothing styles. Skinhead fashions have evolved somewhat since the formation of the subculture in the 1960s, and certain clothing styles have been more prevalent in specific geographic locations and time periods. There are several different types of skinheads in terms of style. Some skinheads do not fit into any of these categories, and many display characteristics of more than one category. The usefulness of these terms is to explain the dominant skinhead styles. There are no reliable statistics documenting how many skinheads have belonged to each category.
Traditional skinheads, also known as trads or Trojan skinheads, identify with the original 1960s skinhead subculture in terms of music, style and culture. Oi! skinheads appeared after the development of punk rock in the 1970s. They often have shorter hair and more tattoos than 1960s skinheads, and wear items that differ from those of their traditionalist counterparts, such as: higher boots, tighter jeans, T-shirts and flight jackets. Hardcore skinheads originated in the United States hardcore punk scene in the early 1980s. Their style is also less strict than that of the traditional skinheads.
In the early days of the skinhead subculture, some skinheads chose boot lace colours based on the football team they supported. Later, some skinheads (particularly highly political ones) began to attach significance to the colour of laces to indicate beliefs or affiliations. In a few cases, the colour of braces (also called suspenders), and (less commonly) flight jackets may also signify affiliations. The particular colours used have varied regionally, and have had totally different meanings in different areas and time periods. Only skinheads from the same area and time period are likely to interpret the colour significations accurately. The "braces and laces game" has largely fallen into disuse, particularly among traditionalist skinheads, who are more likely to choose their colours for fashion purposes than for expressing views.
The following list includes many of the clothing articles that have been worn by skinheads.
Men: Originally, between a 2 and 3 grade clip-guard (short, but not bald); beginning in the late 1970s, typically shaved closer, with no greater than a number 2 guard. At this time, side partings were sometimes shaved into the hair. Now some skinheads clip their hair with no guard, and some even shave it with a razor. This started with the introduction of the Oi! scene. Some skinheads sport sideburns of various styles, usually neatly trimmed.
Women: In the 1960s, many female skinheads had mod-style haircuts. During the 1980s skinhead revival, many female skinheads had feathercuts (known as a Chelsea in North America). A feathercut is short on the crown, with fringes at the front, back and sides. Some female skinheads have a shorter punk-style version of the hairstyle; almost entirely shaved, leaving only bangs and fringes at the front.
Long-sleeve or short-sleeve button-up shirts or polo shirts by brands such as Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Brutus or Jaytex; Lonsdale or Everlast shirts or sweatshirts; collarless grandad shirts; V-neck sweaters; sleeveless sweaters; cardigan sweaters; T-shirts (plain or with text and/or images related to the skinhead subculture). Some Oi! and hardcore-oriented skinheads wear plain white tank top undershirts, especially in North America.
Coats, jackets and suits:
Fitted blazers; MA-1 type flight jackets (popular brands: Alpha and Warrior), usually black or green; denim jackets (often blue); Harrington jackets; donkey jackets; monkey jackets; Crombie-style overcoats; short macs; sheepskin 3/4-length coats; parkas. Traditional skinheads sometimes wear suits, often made out of two-tone tonic fabric (shiny mohair-like material that changes colour in different light and angles), or in a Prince of Wales or houndstooth check pattern.
Women: Same as men, with addition of dress suits—composed of a ¾-length jacket and matching short skirt.
Sta-Prest flat-fronted slacks and other dress trousers; Jeans (normally Levi's, Lee or Wrangler), parallel leg, hemmed or with rolled cuffs (turn-ups); combat trousers (plain or camouflage). Jeans and slacks are worn deliberately short to show off boots, or to show off socks when wearing loafers or brogues. Jeans are usually blue, sometimes splattered with bleach to resemble camouflage trousers (popular among Oi! skinheads).
Women: Same jeans and trousers as men, or skirts and stockings. Some skingirls wear fishnet stockings and mini-skirts, a style introduced during the punk-influenced skinhead revival.
Skinhead style: Dr. Martens boots with Levi's jeansFootwear:
Boots, originally army surplus boots or generic workboots, then Dr. Martens boots and shoes; brogues; loafers. During the 1960s, steel-toe boots were called bovver boots. Suedeheads sometimes wore coloured socks, such as in red, orange or green. In recent years, other brands of boots, such as Solovair, have become popular among skinheads, partly because Dr. Martens and Grinders are no longer made in England. Football-style athletic shoes, by brands such as Adidas, have become popular with some skinheads.
Women: Same as men, with the addition of monkey boots.
Trilby hats; pork pie hats; flat caps (Scally caps or driver caps), winter woolen hats (without a bobble). Less common have been bowler hats (mostly among suedeheads and those influenced by the film A Clockwork Orange).
Braces (known in North America as suspenders), various colours, usually no more than 1 inch in width, clipped to trouser waistband. In some areas, braces much wider than that may identify a skinhead as either unfashionable or as a white power skinhead. Traditionally, braces are worn up in an X or Y shape at the back, but some Oi!-oriented skinheads wear their braces hanging down.
Silk handkerchiefs in the breast pocket of the Crombie-style overcoat or tonic suit jacket, in some cases fastened with an ornate stud. Later, pocket flashes became popular. These were pieces of silk in contrasting colours, mounted on a piece of cardboard and designed to look like an elaborately folded handkerchief. It was common to choose the colours based on one's favourite football club.
Badges and scarves:
Button badges or sewn-on fabric patches with text and/or images related to the skinhead subculture in general, bands, affiliations or beliefs. Woollen or printed rayon scarves in football club colours, worn knotted at the neck, wrist, or hanging from a belt loop at the waist.
Some suedeheads carried closed umbrellas with sharpened tips, or a handle with a pull-out blade. This led to the nickname brollie boys.
The skinhead subculture was originally associated with black popular music genres such as soul, ska, rocksteady and early reggae. The link between skinheads and Jamaican music led to the development of the skinhead reggae genre, performed by artists such as: Desmond Dekker, Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, Symarip and The Pioneers.
In the early 1970s, some reggae songs began to feature themes of black nationalism, which many white skinheads could not relate to. This shift in reggae's lyrical themes created some tension between black and white skinheads, who otherwise got along fairly well. Around this time, some suedeheads (an offshoot of the skinhead skinhead subculture) started listening to British glam rock bands such as The Sweet, Slade and Mott the Hoople.
The most popular music style for late-1970s skinheads was 2 Tone, which was a fusion of ska, rocksteady, reggae, pop and punk rock. The 2 Tone genre was named after 2 Tone Records, a Coventry, England record label that featured bands such as The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. Some late-1970s skinheads also liked certain punk rock bands, such as Sham 69 and Menace.
Also in the late 1970s, after the first wave of punk rock, many skinheads embraced Oi!, a working class punk subgenre. Musically, Oi! combines standard punk with elements of football chants, pub rock and British glam rock. The Oi! scene was partly a response to a sense that many participants in the early punk scene were, in the words of The Business guitarist Steve Kent, "trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic ... and losing touch". The term Oi! as a musical genre is said to come from the band Cockney Rejects and journalist Garry Bushell, who championed the genre in Sounds magazine. Not exclusively a skinhead genre, many Oi! bands included skins, punks and people who fit into neither category (sometimes called herberts). Notable Oi! bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s include Angelic Upstarts, Blitz, The Business, Last Resort, The Burial, Combat 84 and The 4-Skins.
American Oi! began in the 1980s, with bands such as The Press, Iron Cross, The Bruisers and Anti-Heros. American skinheads created a link between their subculture and hardcore punk music, with bands such as Warzone, Agnostic Front, and Cro-Mags. The Oi! style has also spread to other parts of the world, and remains popular with many skinheads. Many later Oi! bands have combined influences from early American hardcore and 1970s British streetpunk.
Although many white power skinheads listened to Oi! music, they also developed a separate genre that was more in line with their politics: Rock Against Communism (RAC). The most notable RAC band was Skrewdriver, which started out as a non-political punk band but evolved into a neo-Nazi band after the first lineup broke up and a new lineup was formed. RAC started out musically similar to Oi! and punk, but has since adopted elements from other genres. White power music that sounds like hardcore is sometimes called hatecore.
racism , anti-racism and his politic too :)
In the late 1960s, some skinheads in the United Kingdom (including black skinheads) had engaged in violence against South Asian immigrants (an act known as Paki bashing in common slang). There had, however, also been anti-racist and leftist skinheads since the beginning of the subculture, especially in Scotland and northern England.
Unidentified white power skinhead. His badge says "Skinheads - Weiss und stolz" ("Skinheads - White and proud").These early skinheads were not necessarily part of any political movement, but by the early 1970s, some skinheads aligned themselves with the white nationalist National Front. As the 1970s progressed, racially-motivated skinhead violence in the United Kingdom became more political, and far right groups such as the National Front and the British Movement saw a rise in white power skinheads among their ranks. By the late 1970s, the mass media, and subsequently the general public, had largely come to view the skinhead subculture as one that promotes racism and neo-Nazism. The white power and neo-Nazi skinhead subculture eventually spread to North America, Europe and other areas of the world. The mainstream media started using the term skinhead in reports of racist violence (regardless of whether the perpetrator was actually a skinhead); this has played a large role in skewing public perceptions about the subculture. Three notable groups that formed in the 1980s and became associated with white power skinheads are White Aryan Resistance, Blood and Honour and Hammerskins.
Also during the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, many skinheads and suedeheads in the United Kingdom rejected both the far left and far right. This anti-extremist attitude was musically typified by Oi! bands such as Cockney Rejects, The 4-Skins Toy Dolls, and The Business. Two notable groups of skinheads who spoke out against neo-Nazism and political extremism — and in support of traditional skinhead culture — were the Glasgow Spy Kids in Scotland (who coined the phrase Spirit of 69), and the publishers of the Hard As Nails zine in England.
Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) logoIn the United States, anti-racist skinheads countered the neo-Nazi stereotype by forming organizations such as The Minneapolis Baldies, which started in 1986; Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP), which was founded in New York City in 1987 and then spread to other countries; and Anti-Racist Action (ARA), which was formed in the late 1980s by members of the Minneapolis Baldies and other activists.
Red and Anarchist Skinheads (RASH) logo on the far left of the skinhead subculture, redskins and anarchist skinheads take a militant anti-fascist and pro-working class stance. In the United Kingdom, two groups with significant numbers of leftist skinhead members were Red Action, which started in 1981, and Anti-Fascist Action, which started in 1985. Internationally, the most notable left-wing skinhead organization is Red and Anarchist Skinheads, which formed in the New York City area in 1993 and then spread to other countries.
In the United States, conservatism has been common in the skinhead scene, with many non-racist skinheads expressing right-wing and anti-communist views, glorifying American military actions and voicing opposition to modern liberalism.
keep the spirit on !
sharing is caring mates !
oi ! oi ! oi !