Monday, April 9, 2012

Subcultural Fashion in This Is England '86

Subcultural Fashion in This Is England '86

The original film This Is England has, as of 2012, been made into two TV mini series, and this is the first of those. Unusually, for a film translating to TV, it makes the migration quite successfully. The move to a mini series gives the director Shane Meadows, more screen time to explore the other characters, some of whom have interesting stories to tell, and certainly gives the other actors more chance to show their skills. The stories partly relate to Shane Meadow's own experiences of growing up during these times.

The group of close knit friends have moved on 6 years from when the original was set, in 1980. This is of course reflected in terms of subculture....the pork pie hats have disapeared from this series. In the original movie, most of the group are either skinheads or Rude Boys. The exception is the character Smell(Michelle), who seems to be somewhat of an enigmatic individual throughout the series, both in terms of fashion and character, and the older character Meggy, who appears to be a misplaced adult hanging out with younger people and who is too old for youth subcultures.

By 1986, the characters have been portrayed as mostly dropping their Skinhead/rudie fashion items and moved on to other subcultures, or dropped subcultural fashion and are wearing mainstream clothes. This is presumably partly because of the times, but also possibly relating to the negative aspects of racism and violence associated with Skinheads portrayed in the first film.

The most obvious change is Woody, who's character was a support in the first movie, but is now one of the main characters. He is a very obvious mod, with a Paul Weller style fringe, suit, parker and of course a (not heavily accessorised) Lambretta scooter. One character, Trev, is still an obvious Skin, still keeping her feathered crop hair and Fred Perry and boots. Lol also one of the dramatic leads and Woody's partner, still retains her Skinhead fashion, but has grown her hair out. Milky, while a rude boy in the first movie, now rides a scooter, but still ears a lot of the rude/skinhead clothes. Smell appears in some scenes to be a sort of proto goth, with lacey black clothes and shaved sides of her head - however in other scenes there is plenty of colour (something goths generally disdain) and some 40's influence, so it is a bit unclear how she is being portrayed. 

Subculture (while prevalent with the drama associated with Skinheads with the original) as a plot line has largely disappeared from the series, and the drama focuses on the lives of the characters. Apart from a brief mention of Skinhead attitude, we don't really get an insight into the workings of subculture here. Interestingly, while in the first movie, the characters are mostly Rude Boys, in the first series they refer to themselves as having been the movie blurs the line between the two, which the subcultures themselves do not necessarily do.

The series continues with This is England 88, which shows the characters further adventures in life, and This Is England 90 is currently planned to explore the character's adventures in the Rave culture.