I've spent a lot of time over the last few years looking at people with different ways of dressing and their influences. It's quite clear the digital age has changed the way we find and view our fashion imagery and so the groups of friends who might once gather to come together share common ground in style, music and interests has evolved. Being part of a 'tribe' no longer relies on physically knowing those people, you can be part a style culture with people all over the world and importantly you can be your very own style tribe and follow no crowd.
There's an abundance of books which look at subcultures, their beginnings, their social impact and how the styles bleeds in to another style group being born, so when I was offered the chance to take a look at a book which wasn't dedicated to just one or even just a couple of style tribe looks, I was interested to have a browse.
The cover itself feels very different to the more historical subculture books I've been reading lately. Not that I'll ever tire of flicking through imagery of mods, punks and rockers (and there's some great ones in this book) but because it feels young and fresh and with this I hope that it might have extra appeal to the younger folk (I sound so old..) and they too can explore the mods and the punks and all that's gone before.
That said, as a teen of the nineties, any book that opens with the words of Shirley Manson is probably going to get my attention.
So what 'Style Tribes' are covered in the book? Well it's a pretty long list and each is crammed with photographs. ALL kinds of AMAZING photographs.
So there's... flappers, harlem renaissance, the zoo suit, swing kid , beatniks, teddy boy (with a mention of ted girls too) greaser and rocker, mod, surfer, hippie, rudely, skinhead, hip hop, northern soul, disco, punk, new romantic,goth, acid house, goa trance, grunge, riot grill, brit pop, ego, neo-rockabilly, hipster, steampunk, harajuku style, sapeur & Kogal.
Yes some new ones there for me too. There's enough detail on each to accompany the imagery well and each chapter is also a good kick start if you want to go off and look more in to each style tribe form other sources.
The book nicely references back through the various subcultures to join the dots and point out the links of how one tribe is so very often taking its influence from another that's gone before. The New Romantic section was one of my favourites and is written in a way that made wish I could have experienced 1978 Soho.
This is definitely a book you can either dip in and out of or read cover to cover. Regardless of whether you subscribe to a style tribe in the book or of any variety at all, this is a good look at fashion as part of social history so well worth a read.
Style Tribes by Caroline Young was released 29th Sept and at the time of writing this review it's available on Amazon for £16.59 (rrp £20)