From duffels to bombers, coats and jackets have always been the cornerstones of subculture uniform. But they need to be about now, not then. There has to be more to exploring the classics than nostalgia and reminiscing about the past. Just like their soundtracks, what keeps these movements relevant today is an ability to adapt and appeal to new generations. Having the power to evolve, while their symbolism remains the same, is how the outerwear that defines them lives on.
Practicality is the theme that ties these iconic shapes together, reflecting the demands of their natural habitats. Pieces chosen on functional as much as aesthetic grounds. Quilted, nylon-shelled MA-1s for the cold damp warehouses reoccupied by acid house in mid-80s Britain. Compact packable cagoules for the cramped conditions of 70s football terraces. Breathable waterproof walking gear for the wet Manchester backdrop to 90s baggy. Smart coats and jackets that remained on indoors at the pubs, clubs and parties where young men from these scenes came together.
Outerwear might be the big-ticket item in any outfit, but there are more important reasons not to leave your jacket on the back of a chair, or that pile in the corner.
Subcultures are built around identity, with wardrobes designed to signpost where your loyalties lie.
“Culturally and historically outerwear garments have been the key notifiers of status, wealth and affiliation - from knights’ livery and military dress jackets, to Savile Row tailoring,” explains legendary stylist Simon Foxton, whose work at i-D magazine in the 80s first championed the looks worn by ordinary lads. “Their role in subcultures is a continuation of that code, albeit subverted and in a more condensed and extreme form.