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Jul232014

TEDDY BOY By Rose Greenfield

Teddy Boys; the British subculture best known for their drape jackets, rock'n'roll music and their (sometimes exaggerated) gang violence. But there's much more to it than that. 
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of the Teds is the drape jacket uniform. Inspired heavily by the dandies who wore them in the Edwardian era, along with the slim trousers, 'windsor' neckties and fancy waistcoats. With the help of a group of Saville Row tailors, these clothes were given a new life in the 1950s (and later the 1970's for the Teddy Boy revival). Paired with this was a heavily soled shoe (often a brothel creeper), a slick D.A. (duck's arse) quiff, and a snarl. The Teddy Boys had arrived.  
The early Teds listened to jazz and skiffle music, most notably a song called The Creep by the big band leader Ken Macintosh, which is where their early nickname "Creepers" originated. The mid-1950s, however, saw them adopting rock'n'roll as their main musical identity. Vince Taylor, among others, was at the forefront; the British rock'n'roll artist known best for his 1958 song Brand New Cadillac, however the Teds also listened to the music coming over from America from the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran and Elvis Presley. This interest in American rock'n'roll first came about when the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle was screened at a cinema in Elephant and Castle in 1956, with Bill Haley's song Rock Around The Clock as the theme tune. This was met with rioting from the Teddy Boys in the audience, continuing throughout the country wherever the film was shown.
The Teddy Boys were the first group to differentiate themselves as being teenagers, bringing to life a new youth culture. Something synonymous with the Teds is their violent behavior and gang violence which come was often hyped-up and exaggerated by the press but came to light in the notorious 1958 Notting Hill race riots.  
The 1970s saw the Teddy Boy revival, a resurgence of rock'n'roll music, clubs and societies. Some of the Teddy Boys in this era were sons of the originals, whereas some were simply just teenagers who refused to adopt the other styles and cultures of the 1970s.
So whether it be the 1950s Teds or the 1970s revivalists, it's safe to say that this subculture is something we can embrace, be proud of and truly call our own. But don't worry, we haven't seen the last of the Teddy Boys! 
ALL DRAPES ARE AVAILABLE TO BUY OR RENT FROM BREUER & DAWSON. PLEASE CONTACT FOR DETAILS.

 

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