Fashion In Film Volume 11: This Is England

This week, I’d love to discuss one of my all time favorite films (I only seem to write about all time favs), THIS IS ENGLAND! This amazing movie is super special to me because I’ve always been so fascinated by London in general and became interested in the skinhead subculture (despite the fact that I’m terrified of them, I’m enthralled in the most non creepy way…see films like American History X, Suburbia, Made in Britain, and Romper Stomper). You see, Skinheads (named after their shaven heads) are members of a subculture that originated in Britain in the 1960s. They were heavily influenced by the Rudeboys of the West Indies and the Mods of the UK. This is England is the story about a troubled boy, Shaun, growing up in England in 1983, who comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends – even like family. The tight group is devoted to sharp dressing, ska music and each other. The film is very powerful and is based on experiences of director Shane Meadows who actually joined a skinhead gang in the early 80s.

Although most of the above subcultures seem to have negative associations, I can’t deny that I fell deeply in love with the fashion… they range from a mod influenced 1960’s style to less strict punk and hardcore influenced styles.One of my favorite characters in the film is actually a girl named Smell (Shaun’s love interest with a Boy George fixation). She always had a style of her own, on the punky new wave/new romantic tip. I also love the androgynous appeal in all the female’s wardrobe, not to mention the fact that Doc Martens were definitely the shoe of choice (a huge staple in my own closet). Other key elements in their wardrobe were polo shirts, stonewashed jeans, Harrington jackets and checked shirts. I have a major fondness for this 80s street style. Growing up in the 1980s was a riot of great music, fashion and subcultures, and This Is England does an amazing job of showing that.