The Rise of London as the Fashion Capital in the 1960s

TLDR London became the global fashion capital in the 1960s due to factors such as the availability of dye, the influence of American fashion, the emergence of fashion subcultures like the Teddy Boys and Mods, the economic influence of teenage girls, and the groundbreaking designs of Mary Quant.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The episode discusses how London became the world capital of fashion in the 1960s, with a focus on the democratic ethos and mass consumerism of the era.
05:55 During the 1930s and 1940s, the availability of dye and the practicality of dark, hard-wearing clothes due to dirty environments and lack of central heating led to a monochrome fashion aesthetic, which was further reinforced during World War II with clothing rationing and restrictions on designs and fabrics.
10:11 After the end of World War II, Christian Dior unveils his "new look" collection in 1947, which features glamorous and lush women's clothes that emphasize curves and serve as an escapism from the poverty and destruction of post-war Europe.
14:27 After the end of World War II, the British economy begins to recover and people start buying more lightweight and colorful clothes, but young intellectuals and jazz lovers are still wearing heavy suits; American fashion has an influence on British fashion, particularly with the introduction of the leather jacket and the emergence of teenagers as a fashion subculture, starting with the Teddy Boys who were influenced by the Edwardian period.
18:48 The Teddy Boy look, influenced by the Edwardian period, becomes less popular in the mid-1950s and is replaced by the mod fashion movement, which is influenced by Italy and characterized by tight, dark clothes and a sense of precision in appearance.
23:11 In the late 1950s, the mod fashion movement emerged as a cooler alternative to the rockers, with mods listening to jazz and later soul music and paying close attention to detail in their clothes, which was made possible by the booming economy and teenagers having weekend jobs.
27:34 In the mid-sixties, London became the leading light of global fashion, driven by the significant economic influence of teenage girls who were spending £800 million a year in Britain, although the miniskirt, often associated with swinging London, was still a few years away from being invented.
31:55 Mary Quant opens a shop called Bazaar on the Kings Road in London, selling brightly colored clothes inspired by children's clothing, including pinafores and shorter skirts, which are seen as groundbreaking and draw inspiration from the past.
36:07 Mary Quant's clothing becomes mass market and gains global reach through a deal with J.C. Penney, and the rise of independent boutiques allows the Mary Quant Look to be diffused and copied across Britain.
40:32 Young women and girls outside of London in the 1960s were exposed to the Mary Quant Look through television programs and magazines, such as Woman and teenage girl magazines like Romeo, Mirabelle, Boyfriend, and Honey, which promoted the idea that wearing the right clothes and makeup would lead to success and attract the right partner.
45:11 Jean Shrypton, a model from the 1960s, becomes a big star and is seen as the most famous model in the world, commanding enormous amounts of newspaper attention and being paid a significant amount of money for her modeling work.
Categories: History

Browse more History