style police; You too can look like Swampy... - Life and Style - The Independent

style police; You too can look like Swampy...

...without preventing a single bypass. James Sherwood shows you how

The A30 in Devon is not the first place you would go for the birth of a "fashion moment". But when Daniel "Swampy" Hooper, the human mole, was finally smoked out of his subterranean lair, the Eco Warrior look leapt into the fashion consciousness.

Swampy did for environment protesters what Christine Keeler did for the oldest profession. He gave the Eco Warrior a name, an identity and a sartorial code. Once seen as a band of soap-dodging, unemployed hobos, Swampy's tribe are now a demographic group with a leader more charismatic than Major, Ashdown and Blair put together. Now submerged beneath the proposed site for a new runway at Manchester Airport, Swampy writes his weekly diary for the Sunday Mirror and inspires a host of wannabes to cast-off the trammels of civilisation, buy dungarees and hitch to the Newbury bypass.

But before you hand in your resignation, certain style challenges must be met. Whatever tree persons would have you believe, the look is anything but accidental. Jenny Alexander, a seasoned protester and visitor to both the A30 and Manchester sites says: "There is a strong sense of belonging in these communities and I suppose clothes are a tribal thing for protesters". The Swampy style demands dreadlocked hair, piercings in the most imaginative places (tongue, nose, chin, lips and eyebrows are popular), multi-layers of clashing knit jumpers and combat pants tucked into black wellies or boots.

Consult the fashion guidebook for the current year and you will see that all these elements are in this season. Everyone from Scary Spice to The Prodigy have been pierced. Combat pants are favoured by street labels Sharpeye, Dexter Wong and John Richmond. And pendants, as worn by Swampy's 21-year-old girlfriend, "Merry", are selling like hotcakes - if they have been designed by Elsa Perretti for Tiffany.

A phone call to British Men's Hairdresser of the Year, Toni & Guy's Craig Mason, assures me that dreds are it for Summer '97. "To actually style dreds can take up to 48 hours of preparation and months of matting and hairspray to finish," says Mason. The cost can be up to three figures. Alternatively, spend two weeks under a motorway in Devon and finish with a bit of police brutality and you have the look for free.

Fashion has flirted with Eco-friendly before Swampy. Hussein Chalayan buried his entire graduate collection before exhuming it for the St Martin's graduation show in 1984. Deconstruction brought us Rei Kawakubo's shredded and stretched knitwear for Comme des Garcons. And then there was Grunge, the last time Swampy was high fashion.

"I don't think Swampy would approve of being a fashion icon," says Alexander. I remind her of Swampy's Armani-clad appearance in the make-over of the Daily Express. "Well, I think he's waiting for the editor of the Express to be made over as Swampy. That would be a 'fashion moment'."

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Project Manager with some Agile experience

    £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

    Data/ MI Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

    Secondary Supply Teachers to work in Peterborough

    £110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers required fo...

    Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week