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Posts written during 'March 2013'

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A 60 Second Guide To: Gingham

The 60s kids kept it slim and tailored. The skins slipped theirs on under braces and wore it buttoned up. Marilyn Monroe famously tied hers at the waist. A recent rockabilly revival has seen it peeking beneath heavy leathers. An absolute classic, the gingham check shirt has been a mainstay of the youth wardrobe for decades; its enduring appeal recognised by each generation.

Women's Gingham Shirts

Women's Classic Gingham Shirt 

With a history as chequered as the pattern itself, gingham's exact origins are unknown. Countries worldwide, each with their own gingham 'customs' lay claim to founding the fabric. The African Masaï tribe have used the pattern for thousands of years and it even features in the national costume. In Indonesia the pattern takes on a spiritual meaning; the contrasting colours represent the battle between good and evil. In India it is referred to as Gamucha and is simply a towel used to dry the body.

The word itself, thought to derive from the Malaysian word genggang meaning ‘striped’, first appeared in the English language in the early 17th Century. The brightly coloured fabric was imported to Britain under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, who notoriously created strong trade links with the Far East during this period. However the fabric's popularity truly flourished during the 18th Century when mills around the Manchester area began producing the brightly coloured check from imported dyes and cotton.  

Gingham Shirts

Men's Authentic Gingham Shirts 

It was during the mid 20th Century that the gingham shirt truly came to the fore with the cult of the teenager - tribes emerged each with a unifying sense of style. Some were influenced by Hollywood, some took sartorial tips from the early Nashville musicians, others looked to the Italians and French. Each tribe found a way to wear the gingham shirt and in turn passed it down through the generations. The classic check shirt remains largely unchanged – a button down collar, the locker hoop at the yoke, an open chest pocket.

Shop the Men's Authentic Gingham Shirt

Shop the Women's Authentic Gingham Shirt

D.C. Subcultures of the 1980s

Washington D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art has recently opened a new exhibition, looking at the visual culture created by local subcultural groups during the 1980s. Aside from its obvious significance as America’s capital city, D.C. has a vibrant musical history, acting as the birthplace for the ‘Go-Go’ funk movement pioneered by the likes of Chuck Brown, as well as a world-renowned punk and hardcore scene.

Various Hardcore 7" records, 1980s. Photo by Aaron Farley. Collection of Roger Gastman.

Various Hardcore 7" records, 1980s. Photo by Aaron Farley. Collection of Roger Gastman.

Pump Me Up features photos, flyers, posters, records, stage clothes, instruments and video footage all made between 1980 and 1992, effectively bringing the era back to life within the gallery space. Alongside D.C's emerging music scenes came the birth of a stripped-down street art movement. The exhibition features sections devoted to some of the area’s most iconic graffiti art, as well as concert posters made by the Baltimore-based Globe printing press.

Go-go graffiti by GO-GO SHORTY, c. 1985. Photo by EON.

Go-go graffiti by GO-GO SHORTY, c. 1985. Photo by EON.

In addition to the exhibition comes the release of a 320-page book of the same name, complete with foreword by Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran. A special 90 minute documentary will also be released, looking at the life of local graffiti legend Cool ‘Disco’ Dan. Narrated by former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, the film includes interviews with Chuck brown, civil rights advocate Walter Fauntroy and several prolific graffiti artists.

Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s will be held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from February 23rd – April 7th, 2013.