Swinging London

During the 1960s, London was chock-full of new fashion and youth culture, and could only be described as the “capital of cool”. Swinging London, named after the radio station “Swinging England Radio”, was a time in the 1960s when youth culture and fashion was on the rise. Since the baby boom occurred in the 1950s, by the 1960s there was more youth than London was used to. With the large amount of teens expressing themselves through changes in fashion and music, tension between adolescents and their elders began to grow. Some say that the “Swinging London Sixties” was the original fashion explosion. It was a time where people of all classes could come out and express themselves through fashion. While some sported colorful bellbottoms, others wore fur coats and bowler hats, rounded hats made of felt. The 1960s was the time when people of London and all over Britain were finally making their way out of the post-World War II deficits. This caused an increase in wealth and people could go out shopping and try to make over themselves. Fashion served as a symbol of youth culture and proved to be an important factor to shape this iconic time.

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Men and women began to assemble on Carnaby Street and Kings Road which was where numerous fashion trends began to rise. Many designers and shops such as Sally Tuffin, who worked a lot with ceramics, and Irvine Sellars could be found on Carnaby Street. Irvine Sellars was a cofounder of Mates Boutique, which was one of the first stores to sell both men’s and women’s clothing.  It was not only fashion trends such as the leather jacket and pixie haircut that were becoming popular, but several models such as Mary Quant and Jean Shrimpton, who both can be credited with revolutionizing  the miniskirt became very well-known in Swinging London. Music was also a huge part of this fashionable age. Many bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles became extremely popular, and they began to set fashion trends. The Beatles started the mop top hairstyle and the collarless suit trends of the 1960s. The Swinging London Sixties was truly a time where fashion, music, and youth culture changed dramatically.

~Elizabeth Currie                                                                                                                      March 28, 2015




Halasz, Piri. “Swinging 60s – Capital of Cool.” HISTORY. March 12, 2013. Accessed March 25, 2015.http://www.history.co.uk/study-topics/history-of-london/swinging-60s-capital-of-cool

“London’s Swinging Sixties: The Original Fashion Blitz | FurInsider.com.” Fashion Focused, Fur Friendly. October 15, 2013. Accessed March 25, 2015.http://www.furinsider.com/londons-swinging-sixties-peacock/

Padel, Ruth. “Fashion in 1960s London.” V&A. January 1, 2015. Accessed March 25, 2015.http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/m/mary-quant/

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