latter day mod

Posted by The Modernist on

My own completely personal, totally anecdotal and un-rigorous recollection of the Mod movement in the UK is it having two main peaks - the original in the 50s and 60s and the revival in the late 70s and early 80s.

I'm in this third wave, where I missed the original, flirted heavily with the revival and then embraced both phases more as I got older.

Nik Cohn, Derry born rock critic extraordinaire, says Mod had its roots around 1960 when, "a few teenagers emerged as utter clothes fanatics, obsessive to a degree that had been unknown before, and that has remained unequalled since."

When we came back to London having lived in the US and Australia for a number of years, I felt a bit rootless and wanted to reconnect with my home city. Perhaps I had a teenage throwback (note the clever synonym for midlife crisis) and retreated into clothes and music. It also felt like maintaining the memory of Dad who was sharp in his youth in his handmade suits and his Crombie.

I'm a Latter Day Mod.

While that means I’m nowhere near hardcore enough in a “keep the faith” way, as you peel back the onion of Mod, you sense nothing can be.

In the really excellent, inspiring documentary About The Young Idea (a history of the group The Jam), Martin Freeman says Mod is about, "being well dressed, about having good taste and style" and his definition of modernism is, "it's good, it’s quality, there’s detail in it"

I remember the first time, as a teenager, hearing the phrase "clean living under difficult circumstances" by Pete Meadon, manager of The Who. Over the years, consciously and unconsciously, I've used the rigour of clean living and thinking as a way to improve my circumstances when I could.

To me, "Mod" seems like the most logical outlook to have about your lifestyle - a sensibility, an attitude, a way of curating yourself.

‘The whole thing was a Modernist movement, definitely. I read this interview with Marc Bolan when he was fourteen and the way he spoke about clothes and his attitude, it could have been anyone of us.’ Ashley Beedle in The Soul Stylists: Six Decades of Modernism - From Mods to Casuals by Paolo Hewitt.

"But the absolute luck is, Love is in our hearts!" Absolute Beginners, The Jam (lyrics by Weller).

When I started to think about the concept and brand for a fragrance, I spent a lot of time doing formal market analysis, but something just wasn't working for me. I was looking too far outside myself. When I brought it back in, the idea of modernism, the modernist, Modernist Fragrance and the modernist manifesto seemed so obvious I couldn't believe it hadn't been my first thought.

I took a bit of a detour and then came right home.