Illustrate Guide to Subcultures and Retro Fashion.
May 17, 2011 11:07 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good, online, illustrated guide to various subcultures and clothing styles?

I'm hosting a retro-themed party in Bangkok. (Long story.) The problem is that many Thais haven't accrued a cultural history of different subcultures and styles. They can't distinguish between 1950s, 60s, 70s or 80s aesthetics.

It's interesting because many Thais wear clothes inspired by vintage Western fashions, but they're unaware that they are referencing past styles. For example, Ziggy Stardust shirts are popular to wear, but most Thais seem to think it's a photo of a space alien. (Not far off from the truth.)

I want to give the guests some kind of illustrated reference of either different time periods or different subcultures.

It doesn't have to be nuanced or deeply detailed. Just a set of photos with a brief context and description.

IE: 1960s Hippie, 1980s Brit Punk, Early 2000s Hipster, 1990s Grunge.

Does anyone know of any good resources for this?

posted by Telf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If none of the guests have any frame of reference for this sort of thing, then why throw that sort of party?

If you're desperate to move forward with it, Wikipedia has pretty good rundowns if you search with the template "[decade] in fashion".

I'd remember, too, that different places have different ideas of what people were wearing at different times in history. I once saw a (mid 2000's) Bollywood movie where everyone was dressed in what I'd consider sixties fashion. The Indian friends I saw it with maintained that the film obviously took place in the 1970's and thought it was weird that I didn't get that.

Ever closer than Thailand, nobody where I lived was grunge in the 90's (the US southeast is entirely the wrong climate for pretty much everything associated with that style). I don't recall ever seeing a punk in the 80's, either. You pretty much have to be either from a few select pockets of the world or extremely dialed into American pop culture to get this stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 11:37 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your Scene Sucks has some good descriptions and illustrations, though they might be a bit too insidery.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:49 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've always wondered why no-one published a series of books on subcultures and their style markers - sort of like Osprey books for people who trawl through vintage clothing stores instead of paint military models.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:04 AM on May 18, 2011

I'm British and I'm not sure what you mean by '1980s Brit Punk'. Are you thinking of Brit Pop, which was in the mid-90s? As Sara C says, sometimes these trends can be regional. I grew up somewhere where sportswear was the main fashion in the early 2000s (see 'chav') and hipster styles unseen.
posted by mippy at 6:26 AM on May 18, 2011

Mippy, it's complicated by the fact that, in Britain, punk was a 70's thing. Which Just Goes To Show.
posted by Sara C. at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2011

Lovecraft In Brooklyn,

Thanks for the helpful response. That's a good start. Like you said, a little insidery, but a bit helpful. It was nice to see the Gainesville-inspired "Orgocore" on there.

Surprised there's nothing like this on the internet. Regional quibbles aside, an illustrated guide to subcultures seems like a nobrainer.
posted by Telf at 10:14 PM on May 18, 2011

Unfortunately, I don't know of any online resource, but there actually has been a book published on this topic, Surfers Soulies Skinheads and Skaters: Subcultural Styles from the Forties to the Nineties. I can't vouch for whether it would meet your needs if you'd be able to track it down. But, just pointing out that a subculture book does indeed exist.
posted by Mael Oui at 10:16 PM on May 19, 2011

I don't know of a site for fashion categorized by subculture, but Fashion-Era has illustrations and explanations of the prevailing silhouettes, bags, hair and such per decade.
posted by pimli at 7:23 PM on May 23, 2011

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