The Reading List

Mod: A Very British Style

The book to get Sir Bradley Wiggins for his birthday.*

_

*It's on 28 April

It’s easy to dismiss the whole idea of “mod” fashion as a throwback gimmick — a fad kept alive almost entirely for the benefit of Italian tourists on London’s Carnaby Street. This new nonfiction book by Richard Weight — a professor at the University of Boston thank you very much — sets out to restore the reputation of the mod movement, showing not only its enduring importance to the British music and style of today, but also the sophisticated range of influences that created it in the first place.

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From jazz music to Bauhaus design and Italian tailoring, Weight argues that mods were young, aspirational types who turned looking good into a form of social democratisation — it’s hard to spot who’s who in the class system when everyone’s mixing up sportswear and suiting. It was also a way, argues Weight, for a Britain that was dwindling in the postwar years to carve out a new cultural importance on the global stage — an opinion with which Liam Gallagher would no-doubt concur (just before he flogged you a parka from his Carnaby Street boutique).

Mod: A Very British Style by Richard Weight (Bodley Head) is out on 28 March

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