This article was initially written for the Soul Time zine which is on hold while some technical issues are sorted out. Andrea is the mastermind behind Soul Time which celebrates the skinhead subculture scene and all the amazing music and fashion that goes with it. With the zine being on hold, we thought it would be still be nice to share this piece along with some of Andrea's custom Vertigo Go dresses that showcase the spirit and style for which this article was written. Photos are by dbphotogrpahics.ca shot on location in Andrea's super rad, super mid-century apartment.
Mods and skinheads around the globe - our calculated style and vintage shopping ways have the potential to to save the planet, one garment at a time. One of the main things that I love so much about mod and skinhead culture really is the fashion. It’s so specific. It’s so put together. And it’s such a big part of who we are. True every day style is really something that the modern world as a whole has lost. The world is so driven by trends and “fast fashion” that true style rarely exits on a widespread level. Many youths today buy clothes mindlessly because the cost of it has become so cheap. And they buy far more than they need. I know this because I was once guilty of it and my closet is now bursting with clothes I don’t even want. These cheap clothes come at a very high cost to others. Garment workers rarely make a livable wage, and producing clothes actually has a very negative impact on our environment. Textiles and clothing are often made in countries where there’s few, or very little enforcement of, labour laws and environmental laws. Dyes and chemical treatments run off into water ways effecting plants, people, and animals along the way. And eventually, all of this cheap clothing goes out of style, falls apart, and winds up in a landfill where the synthetic fibres struggle to break down as they further impact the environment. All of this just so we, the western world, can have something new to wear. Something to spend money on.
Even if you're new to the term “fast fashion”, you’re likely not new to the purveyors of it. H&M, Zara, Forever21, Joe Fresh, the Gap, Old Navy, and just about any other big retailer found in your local malls fits this bill. They do the world a huge disservice by using the above methods to manufacture and sell clothes. It can take as little as three weeks for a garment to go from concept to the rack, and there’s something constantly being turned out. And, no offence to the designers and the garment workers, but the stuff they’re turning out isn’t really that special. How could it be? It was designed and produced very quickly with one purpose in mind….to make money. And it certainly wasn’t made to last.
This is a huge contrast to what mod and skinhead style is all about. It’s about being unique. It’s about being true to the things that you like. It’s about not being afraid to spend money on your clothes so that you do look polished and stylish. Not that one can’t look put together in “fast fashion” garments….but it’s not the same spirit. Style is about more than simply putting on clothes. You can mix and match your garments to create different outfits but with style there’s a basic “look and feel” to how you present yourself. By being very specific, and very discerning with what you buy, you're actually helping to reduce the impact that garments have on the world around us. Buying better, and buying less is something everyone should strive for but it's much easier to do when you have a theme of sorts. It’s even better when those clothes are legitimately vintage or ethically manufactured reproductions. True vintage is great because you’re, in essence, recycling clothing. Nothing new had to be made and an old garment is still serving a purpose. Likewise, being true to your style means that you're not easily swayed by trends that change every three weeks and buying clothes without purpose. You might end up with less pieces by buying less, but you'd have a more cohesive wardrobe of meaningful clothing that actually expresses your true style.
I know I've been guilty of buying stuff just because it was cheap and looked cool, but in reality I'd never wear it cause it wasn't truly "me". And even within the 60s aesthetic that I love so much there are certain looks that I accept just don't work for me. I love a good skirt suit….but I never wear them. Shift dresses, however, are something that I feel good in and often gravitate to when looking through my closet. Knowing what I like means I now only shop or sew pieces that really, truly speak to me. It takes time to figure out what really works for you but the “litmus test” is quite simple. Do you feel amazing in it? If the answer is no then it’s not worth investing in.
Another thing we can all do to be better consumers is to make the most of what we have. Investing in a little tailoring to keep your buttons in place, your linings tacked down, and your clothing in overall good repair is a great way to prevent yourself from always having to buy something new. It’s even more cost effective if you take the time to learn a few mending techniques yourself.
I'd like to encourage the community at large to think about their style. Think about fast fashion. How often do you actually find yourself shopping at the aforementioned shops? Could you buy from them less? Or perhaps not at all? You may find that by having less clothes, you actually have a more cohesive wardrobe and getting dressed in the morning will become an even easier joy. I promise you’ll look equally as slick as the mods of yore if you do. And mother nature will be quite pleased too.
As always, thanks so much for reading!!
Nicole A Go Go
**Vertigo Go is on hiatus from custom orders at this time**