Here in the diverse city of Bristol, we are privileged to have a wide range of people, cultures, opinions and styles. This is important for understanding, healthy debate and for learning tolerance and acceptance. In a superficial way, how we think and feel on a cerebral level can be communicated through the way we carry ourselves, how we act and in how we dress. To this end, I have noted a few fashion tribes making waves in my fair city and thought to share them with the world.
Firstly let us look at the Eco Hippies. Caring and environmentally concious to the end, they may have dreads, or braids, they may wear flowers, or beads, or colours in their hair; long skirts from India or baggy trousers from Nepal may feature a lot in their wardrobe. Keen on cycling, REcycling, anything artistic – be it music, street art, circus performances or dance - and eating, sleeping, breathing organic is essential. Style is a collaboration of colour, layers and mismatched pieces, most or all of which are either homemade, secondhand or at least made from sustainable materials.
Scenesters are a tribe unto themselves. Teenagers who are try-hard to the last and increasingly present everywhere you look at the moment, you can characterise a scenester by the fact that they look exactly the same to everyone that they hang out with (which, ironically, is converse to their whole ‘individuality’ tip) Undercut or brightly dyed hair which is straightened to death is set off by anything that could be considered different; so we have electric bright eyeliner (boys or girls) probably only on one eye though, skinny jeans or leggings with voluminous t shirts for guys; girls could be wearing a tutu with a (obscure) band shirt and fingerless gloves, most will have a pair of thick rimmed but non-prescription glasses and obligatory piercings and/or tattoos.
Meaders was the word for what I now presume is a chav in the days of my youth. Generally this means the people who hang around the city centre (Broadmead, hence the ‘mead’), scrabble the floors of Primark for something damaged in order to get it for extra cheap (in the days before Primark became ‘cool’ and ‘acceptable’) Think Vicky Pollard dressed in cheap nylons, bright coloured sport clothing, baseball caps and gelled hair. Nice.
Rude girls/boys – street dressing in oversize clothes is generally the order of the day, large t-shirts and huge baggy jeans for the guys and customised t-shirt with tiny mini skirt for the ladies, this look is all about trying to look sexy without actually trying.
You can tell a Girl’s School Girl living in Bristol by their excessive amounts of backcombed hair, swept seductively to one side and ridiculously long; their ’slumming it’ Sweatybetty jogging bottoms and rugby-playing boyfriend’s jumper in the daytime and their miniscule shimmery dresses, skyscraping heels, fake tan and immaculate make up for a perfect evening look. They will go out to all of the most expensive bars with their ‘wifeys’ and ‘girlfriends’ to try and hook up with anyone who plays rugby for Bristol.
Rugby Lads are the breed of men that the Girl’s School Girl would love to be with. With their polo shirts layered with a sleeveless tank or perhaps a padded gilet, suspiciously highlighted looking hair and loafers (when they’re not on the pitch of course) and their huge, sculpted ‘guns’ they are the epitome of unimaginative dressing. Anything their girlfriend tells them they should be wearing or is featured in the latest Jack Wills catalogue is fine with them.
All essential to the community, in amongst the many more diverse fashion looks that make up the visuality that is Bristol, groupings of looks such as these, and others, is important in establishing an identity for yourself in a large and sometimes confusing world. Long may it continue.