Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Carnaby Street Style: When Mod Hit The Mainstream: Part II

Back in May 2012, I wrote a piece about the commercialisation of Mod fashion in the 60s. A few people commented on the fact that what was being portrayed, wasn't what a Mod would have worn back in the day.

I know. I thought I had made that abundantly clear. My intention here is not to describe or accurately  depict a "real" first generation British Mod from the early 60s. I'm more interested in exploring all facets of Mod: the good, the bad and the ugly. My goal here is to draw inspiration from what was globally accepted as Mod and see if we can learn some lessons from the past, discard what doesn't stick and see if we can improve on what looks good. Trust me, there's a few pairs of shoes here you wish you could put your hands on!

I go through great lengths in finding period photos you have never seen before. This is my vow to the loyal Parka Avenue readers. Take this 1966 fall-winter Eaton's mail-order catalog for exemple. Eaton's was once Canada's largest department store retailer boasting that it was the "largest retail organization in the British Empire". It operated for 130 years before filling for bankruptcy in 1999. I visited many Eaton's stores in my day but I don't remember ever buying any clothes there.

Eaton's had buying offices across the globe so it's no surprise that you'd find a few pages dedicated to the "New Mod Style". The advertisers did their homework because you'll find "Mod" and "Carnaby" affixed to every other item in the youth section.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

You have to admit, you just don't see rolls on collars like these anymore, except maybe from DNA Groove.

The Tee*Kay brand was geared towards the hip and young crowd. They had an extensive line of sta-press style trousers. 

Aside from the nice array of colours and stylish stripes offered on these Ivy League inspired cardigans, I'm particularly drawn to the black knitted tie. I've never managed to find a slim knitted tie like this one. Even the vintage ones that I own are usually larger then that.

Who doesn't like a classic Harris Tweed jacket? The one in the top left corner has caught my eye because of the concealed button placket. The cut seems right on any of these fine examples.

Now, let me leave you to drool over these desirable pairs of shoes. You'll recognize the time-honored desert boots and the chelsea boots, another Mod favorite.

"Our new models for the modern generation"
"Mod style with high heels - You'll be in, no matter the occasion."
"Mod" style for the modern foot.


  1. Great stuff, loving the shoe part of obvious reasons.

    Then was no different to today, i.e the high street catches up. etc.

    What i do find interesting is that it took a lot longer to get out of a small number of people within the inner london mod circle. So although a lot of people, the original mods were over by 66, it was possibly only just starting in other parts of the UK.

    Much like it did in the Mod Revival in the 80's

    I hope that makes sense.

    1. It sure does! Back then, you didn't have the Internet to spred the gospel so it's only logical that it took years to reach the farthest reaches of the UK, let alone the globe.

  2. De très belles choses sans être mod stricto sensu souvent(mais bon, les ayatollahs du "c'est mod/c'est pas mod" peuvent aller voir au sommet de la montagne si j'y suis). Les pages sur les chaussures font envie! Par contre, je suis un peu choqué par certaines couleurs des sta-prest! (peut-être l'habitude de ne plus voir de nos jours que trois ou quatre couleurs différentes. Bel article en tout cas

    1. Merci Karl! Je suis d'accord avec toi sur toute la ligne. En tout cas, ton allusion aux "ayatollahs" du style m'ont bien fait rire!