Carhartt WIP X Trojan Records (What is a skinhead anyway?)

For their latest masterstroke, Carhartt WIP teamed up with Trojan Records, a music label best known for its involvement in skinhead culture. In case any of you might ask themselves, whether the people at Carhartt are out of their bloody minds paying tribute to a subculture which is nowadays mostly associated with racism and neo-Nazism, let’s calm you down: there was a time when right-wing attitudes had not mired the term skinhead. In fact, being a racist skinhead once meant being defamatory of your own subcultural identity.

The origins of this British subculture date back as far as to the 1960s and the skinheads had their predecessors in the Teddy boys and mods milieu. The British society underwent great demographic changes back then, with many working-class families climbing up the social ladder. A lot of former working-class youths could not withstand the appeals of consumerism or turned to the emerging counter cultures; the traditional working-class lifestyle seemed to erode. Those who did not want to adapt to these changes made a virtue of necessity by ostentatiously putting their working-class background on display: they sported clean-cut styles consisting of simple and traditional button-downs, Harrington jackets, rugged jeans – often pointedly worn with braces -, and bulky working boots like Doc Martens. The look was completed by a crop cut – short enough to look masculine and smart, long enough to not look like a polished bellend. Their outfits blatantly screamed working-class and set them apart from the long-haired hippy-ish mainstream. More than that, the skinheads’ lust for alcohol, football and rowdiness further contributed to their habitual reaffirmation of typical working-class attributes, and, at the same time, incurred the fear and contempt of the general public onto them. 

As most youth cultures strongly rely upon music to distinguish themselves, the evolution of the skinhead cult was accompanied by white British youths’ discovery of Afro-Caribbean offbeat music. This liaison was no coincidence, as many traditional working-class neighbourhoods increasingly became the home of black immigrants from the Caribbean Islands, too. Early reggae, ska and dub were highly popular amongst these immigrants, and the so-called rude boys impressed many working-class adolescents not only with dashing suits and pork pie hats but also with their frightful street gangs. What followed was an amalgaming of British working-class and Caribbean elements. In its essence, skinhead culture was a mixed marriage, a genuine multiracial hybrid. The traditional skinheads danced and drank along their Jamaican mates, and independent labels such as Trojan Records helped introducing the Jamaican music styles to a more global audience. Desmond Dekker, Tony Tribe, Jimmy Cliff, and many more were just some of the musicians under the roof of Trojan records and notorious for their smooth but at the same time energizing tunes in the skinhead culture and beyond.Having, hopefully, clearly distanced the OG skinheads from racist, intolerant arseholes who were later to stain the word skinhead substantially for all time, let’s now talk about the collaboration, which could not be a better match, considering both Carhartt Work in Progress and Trojan Records have a rich history in working-class culture. In the Capsule collection you will find several T-shirts with large and colorful prints designed by Trojan Records together with the Boot Boyz. You’ll also find a ceramic incense chamber in form of a soundsystem with the matching Kuumba incense sticks, with a fragrance specially created for the collection. For those of you who still own the old Trojan 7 inch records, there is also a small record bag. You can buy the collection of Carhartt WIP and Trojan Records from tomorrow October 4th at our webshop or in the shop in Frankfurt.

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