Tuesday, January 22, 2013


What a bizarre arrangement of fashion statements the Sharpie and Skinheads subscribed to with no uncertainty. It went something like this...


Doc Martins, Crepe sole shoes, treads and platform shoes either laced or zip up ankle boot style are a statement all of their own; chunky clunky unsightly and mean. Drab colours of black, burgundy, chocolate, ox blood and forest green.

These shoes were made for kicking heads in...how charming.

Skin tight denim jeans or cords, perhaps some pinstripe flares that defy all logic that once started their life out as a 3 piece suit. What side these dudes dressed on was as plain as the nose on their face - so many puns to avoid...
Chest hugging 'Connie' jumpers' and cardigans, tight denim jackets with rounded exaggerated bean shaped collars worn over the obligatory tight basic 't'. Cigarette packets shoved into the tight cap sleeves were also a part of the signature look. Older Skinheads and Sharpies often sported tattoo's which at the time were still a stigma associated with a less than desirable lifestyle and were the realm of ex-con's, sailors and bikers.
Tattoo's of a tear or star on the face were definitive of this tribe, there was nothing soft about it the rougher and tougher the better. Necks emblazoned with a dotted line across them had the words 'cut here' as as instructions. Tattooed knuckles and hands were also very typical. Stud earrings, sleepers or small crucifix's were worn in the ears of the guys and the girls often in multiples.

Heads were shaved clean or clipped very close to the head thus the term Skinhead. Men and women often left the back few centimeters of hair at the back of the head this was the 'Sharpie' hair cut.

A powerful portrayal of the English brand of skinheads, a tough gritty film with exceptional styling.
The Australian version.
(I think he was off to Tullamarine Airport or perhaps Camperdown?)

The fashion was as brutal and ugly as the lifestyle. You did not dare look sideways at anyone that looked like one of these guys or girls, fist fights and brawls were fought by both sexes. As a small child this stuff was a mean and threatening presence and very identifiable. The gangs were predatory and many did eventually find their way to jail or had their lives cut short. I don't romanticise the existence of this brutal sub culture their intent was to intimidate and harass. I prefer to recall the experience of growing up during the last dying years of the Skinheads and the Sharps as a Fashion anomaly - a curiosity. There is a small re emergence of the look embraced by today's youth market. Lets hope they are not as angry, self destructive and violent as the originals.

Take two - the revival of the 1970's look in 2012
A lot softer than the original version the new cross pollination of folk and Sharpie fashion does have its charm.
The brilliant and talented actress and comedian Magda Szubanski has given us much pleasure with her indelible character Michelle of Michelle and Ferret Sharpie the couple as seen in this clip. This 'is' the Skinhead dance. Enjoy and give it a crack - preferably while at a work function.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the full story on the sharpie cult check out the 2004 book on the subject 'Top Fellas'- available through Amazon, better printing than the second edition and very cheap!