There are three looks dominating the UK right now. The first one is kind of a toned-down streetwear thing. You see, rap fans used to be happy to line up for hours outside the BAPE shop to pay a few hundred pounds for day-glo Dunks and pink camo hoodies that looked like something from an old Britney Spears video. But with the arrival of the whole misguided new-rave thing and the proliferation of fake BAPE among rude boys from Forest Hill, everybody’s been forced to tone down their attire and have turned to more grown-up looks like peacoats, muted plaid shirts, Marc Jacobs Vans, and Dickies.
Next we have “retrogoth.” The Horrors have given an unlimited pussy license to every spooky-looking boy in London. But we’re not talking huge studded boots and PVC chokers—this look is more like a skinny version of
: spray-on black jeans, pointy black shoes, black or white shirts, and a ton of eyeliner. They carry books in the pockets of their fitted blazers, bleak novels that act as magnets to impressionable young girls in search for intellectual lovers. The goth ladies, in turn, have gone in a 1940s direction that emits an aura of prudish convent teacher meets futuristic, bowl-cut man-eater. The sex factor of the female retrogoth hinges entirely on the shoes—these are pivotal in the balance between prude and freak. If they opt for the brogues then they look scholarly. If they go for vintage heels they look like the best idea ever.
And finally, we have “grunge,” aka East London hardcore kid / hipster / illustrator-DJ-fucking-whatever’s preferred look. What’s hotter than sweet little girls with huge hardcore tats? Nothing. Yes, I know, they will look like veiny old scrotums when they’re 60, but if you are trying to fuck 60-year-olds then their complexion is the least of your problems. These young ladies all go to live shows at Rough Trade stores and carry tote bags. The overriding look is a cartoonish imbalance between tiny, skinny, Lycra-clad legs and huge bomber jackets. This lack of proportion can be evened out with the careful application of fucking massive loose-laced Docs. The guys, on the other hand, are all about beat-up Vans, white socks, and black drainpipe jeans, topped off with a waxed Barbour jacket and a charity-shop plaid shirt. These guys look pretty serious until about 1:30 AM, at which point they take their shirts off and throw each other around in the club while screaming along in a vaguely homoerotic manner to Integrity or sometimes a tune called something like “Nervous Breakdance”, which I think is by The Black Flags.
Photos: Ben Rayner; styling: Aldene Johnson