Who Were The Teddy Girls And How They Inspired Our Current Fashion
How About

Who Were The Teddy Girls And How They Inspired Our Current Fashion

Avatar of Gustavo Lopez

By: Gustavo Lopez

February 13, 2017

How About Who Were The Teddy Girls And How They Inspired Our Current Fashion
Avatar of Gustavo Lopez

By: Gustavo Lopez

February 13, 2017

There’s an episode of The Simpsons where fashionable women, dressed in blazers, trench coats, ties, men’s trousers, and canes, realize their trailblazing look is based on a group of women who had copied the Edwardian Dandy to protest against the idea of “good manners” in nineteen fifties London. Well, this has actually happened. The young fashionistas who created this style were called the Teddy Girls.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls Rebels

For over fifty years, this girl gang was banned to the land of forgotten anonymity. It wasn’t until the appearance of a box of photographic negatives from photographer-turned-filmmaker Ken Russell that the story of this subculture was uncovered.

Awesome Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls

In an interview with The Guardian, the artist explained how he came upon this group of young women, who, despite being a part of a co-ed movement, barely had any recognition.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Cool Girls

“They were tough, these kids, they’d been born in the war years and food rationing only ended in about 1954 – a year before I took these pictures. They were proud. They knew their worth. They just wore what they wore.”

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girl Gang

The result was an immediate counterculture fashion blended with social commentary and Rock N Roll.  

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls Cool

The burgeoning feminist movement of the times was matched with accessories from a different time. A feisty attitude was built from a post-war childhood and adolescence. Broken cities and a devastated morale forced high society families to sell their couture for cheap. Platform shoes worn by the British Army during the Second World War, straw hats, brooches, and clutch purses; short hairstyles that would create the nostalgic obsession with Grease twenty-some years later; jackets, coats, and blazers from the early twentieth century would be worn by men and women who’d earn the name Teddy, based on their obsession with the fashion from the time of Edward VII.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls Counterculture

However, this trend didn’t last long. It was quickly dismissed based on the association with rebellious gangs of the time.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls Edwardian Rock

The reason why these girl gangs of style was sent to oblivion while their male counterparts were remembered seems to be a sexist mindset. The Teddy Boys found notoriety after being involved in the racially motivated Notting Hill riots of 1958.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls London

The Teddy Girls and Boys were the first youth subculture born out of boredom. Their interest in film, music, and drinking came as away to keep their minds away from the imminent end of the world.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls London

They wore the clothes of a social status slowly disappearing behind the working class: items once-belonging to their mothers and grandmothers, their fathers’ shoes from their time in war, the hairstyle of their idols, and the personality to rule over a broken world. But while the boys roamed the street corners looking for trouble, the girls worried about violence and sensationalism.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls Rebellious

We currently see plenty of young women decked in menswear, portraying a fashion style that is based on social commentary, not unlike the original Teddy Girls.

Fifties Fashion Teddy Girls

Fashion has a way of coming back in a way that can be as nostalgic as innovating. It can remind us of a time gone by, or it can commemorate the strength of the people of the time. Check out 50 incredible editorial styles from Vogue that can give your outfit an extra touch of classic. 

Messy Nessy Chic
The Guardian