Clockwise from bottom left: Franz Ferdinand. Jesus and Mary Chain. Sons and Daughters. Bricolage. Josef K. The Royal We
Had the same jeans on for four days now? Malcolm Jack looks at the interconnected worlds of Scottish sound and Scottish style
ith many high street retailers currently
stocking jUst about every item of attire
an aspiring indie hipster could dream of — from neon-splattered hoodies to trousers crotch-wrenchineg tight enough to do more for family planning than an entire social services department — music‘s biggest inﬂuence on style over the last few years has probably been creeping popular uniformity. Youth-orientated marketing campaigns can hardly exist anymore without the right soundtrack. As part of a recent cross branding initiative. Topman even went to the length of labelling jeans recommended by NME — further proof. were it needed. that the magazine has become a kind of Grazia for the Libertines generation.
These days. many audience members at gigs tend to look as much (if not more) like stars than the stars themselves. However. as with the music emanating from fair Caledonia. there are. and always have been. spirited and inspiring pockets of resistance to the norms.
Looking back into the mists of time (but not quite far enough to recall Rod Stewart prancing around in a leopard print jumpsuit. or the Bay
33-27 Mar 2008
('ity Rollers doing for tartan \\ hat the \a/is did for jackbootsl. HMO-HI was the era of tiny Scottish independent label Postcard Records which. just like its rnusic. pro\ed something of a style watershed. .-\ post-punk rebellion all ol its own both sonically and sardonically. it lrothed into View while the rest of the country was still in the rapture of new romanticism. .-\r'ty and arcth camp. bands like Orange Juice and .losel K eschewed the dirty aesthetics of punk. instead counterpointing trebly. whey-laced sounds with Velyet l'nderground-inspired \isual enigma: quiffs. dark glasses and sharp monochrome ()xfam suits ‘borderline poofery ‘. as one critic of the day affectionately called it. While short liyed. the moyement's legacy would be as much an enduring pride in the Style onoung Scotland (to hijack the Postcard mantral as The Sound.
In the late 80s and ‘)()s. oyerall coyness about visual image as a whole could be Considered as much a tool of defiance. Shambling (‘h’h strummers 'l'he Pastels were camera shy at best. as were the leather and Ray Ban-sporting Jesus and Mary (‘hain. whose style also owed something to the Velyet l'nderground. 'l‘hen catne l’ran/ lbrdinand. the Scottish band w ho more than any other could he said to haye really ripped it up and started again fashion—wise. .ltist like their hugely endearing strain of literate art- pop. their dress code (trim thrift shop threads. sharp fringes and lethal-looking winklepickersi has always seemed less about originality than being extroyettcd and intelligent: haying fun. not to mention appearing utterly conlident in their ideas. In the satne way as ()asis gaye a certain section of young men a new set of excuses to grow their hair and dress down in the ‘)()s. Fran/ l-‘erdinand. in the (Ms. gave a certain section of young men a new set
of excuses to shear their locks and dress tip. It's the groups who followed in their dapper wake w ho continue to set the real standard for style
in Scottish music: Sons and
Daughters. Bricolage. l‘)‘)()s
and most recently The Royal
We. a band that made the
most of their short-innings by
neyer seeming to be snapped looking anything less than achingly cool. [it all. it‘s a litre reflection of the worlds of possibility and imagination Glasgow and lidinburgh's well stocked Vintage shops and independent design retailers
facilitate. And it also proy es
that music and fashion
combined can not only still turn heads. but also cock ears. and inspire real indiyiduality in a way that no exercise in high street cross branding could eyer hope to. A lesson for future generations indeed. Proyiding — in light of current risky trouser fashion — that future generations do remain a physical possiblity.