The marketing of Mod

Mod is back for 1997. Yes, I know, you thought Mod was last year. Or maybe the year before. But you are soooo wrong, my friend. If Damon from Blur putting on a Fred Perry is Mod, then blue rinses prove punk's purple-hair look is back.

No, this is the real thing. Mod has seethed below the surface of mainstream culture for the past few months, like a shark in shallow water. Now, the movement is set to burst through with a savage vengeance, as the mass market grasps Modism and starts to sell it to me and you.

Take a look around if you don't believe me. Paul Smith is bringing out a range of tonic suits; magazines outside the underground feature Piaggio scooters; the new range of soul acts - from Nuphonic to the Ballistic Brothers - hail from a pure Northern Soul heritage; just about every street magazine, from G-Spot to Herb Garden has fashion shoots straight from Mod culture; Clarks shoes are launching a mod range for the spring; Dr Martens are jumping on the re-release of Quadrophenia; Ben Sherman are preparing a parka range for autumn '97... Do I need to go on?

"I've always seen myself as a Mod," says Rankin, publisher and creative director of the terrifyingly hip style mag Dazed And Confused. "I'm really influenced by the photographers of the period, David Bailey and the like. But I think this is a more genuine Modism that we're talking about now, rather than someone posing with a target symbol. Mod is as much about the culture of British creativity, about a way of life, as it is about a Small Faces record. You are going to see it in half of the fashion advertising over the next few months. But you'd expect that, as London swings again."

First among the fash/Mod image pushers is Ben Sherman, purveyor of the mighty button-down shirt and a true Mod God. Its new advertising campaign plays on its Mod tradition, featuring pitched battles on the beach between Mods and rockers under the catchline, "As worn at the Battle of Hastings, 1966", and a proud, black skinhead staring at the camera under the catchline, "A man should be judged on the colour of his shirt."

"A lot of style leaders and first- time fashion buyers have been coming to Ben Sherman over the past 18 months, and this campaign gave us the chance to underline the brand's heritage," says Gary Woodward, the art director on the ads from advertising agency Grey London. "We needed to keep the look edgy, rough and credible, so we haven't used any models, only real people. Ben Sherman is a cult brand with real purpose and the time is right to remind people of that."

According to Alistair Deakin, lecturer in cultural history at Westminster University, Mod has an obvious role in the Nineties. "The first Modernists were inspired by Italian styling, R&B music, existentialism, the birth of London as a cool, club-culture city after the war, and the hard-working, family centred Fifties," he says. "It was about welcoming the new consumer culture. So, the way the Nineties now follows the careerist Eighties fits in perfectly with the Mod tradition. It also fits in with London's new role as cultural exporter and the new, active consumer capitalism."

If you want to know what it's really all about, get down to Happiness Stan's at Smithfields in Farringdon, London EC1, run by Michael Blow and the PPQ collective. Indeed, Percy, a Northern Soul DJ from PPQ, stars in the latest ad campaign to break from Clarks shoes, coming to a magazine page near you this spring.

Happiness Stan's takes the multi-racial eclecticism of the original Modernists - the self-educating, working-class creatives who started the whole damn thing - and mashes it all in with post-house, bored-with-ecstasy London. That's why it makes sense to have a drum and bass room in the same club as a Northern Soul room. Drum and bass is about as Mod as you can get.

Visit the club next Saturday and you'll see what I mean. But if you can't spot the obscure Small Faces B-side in the club's name, you'd better do a little bit of revision first.

Stephen Armstrong

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss