80s Casuals: The Fashion of an Urban, Working Class Culture – Featuring Stuarts London

80s Casuals: The long awaited pictorial bible of Casual attire which made the 80s such an acclaimed decade for British street fashion. This full colour publication focuses solely on items of clothing worn by football Casuals/Dressers/Boys/Chaps on the terraces up and down the country during this period. It is not polluted with references to ‘Hip Hop’ or ‘sneaker’ culture – it contains actual detailed pictures of only the original trainers and garments worn as a new youth culture emerged.

Photographed in backdrops from Bethnal Green to Brussels, the theme is a tongue in cheek look at how upmarket sportswear produced for the affluent folk of Europe ended up predominantly in the hands of working class kids on the run down council estates of Great Britain. Checkout a few snippets from the book below.

80s Casuals, an urban working class culture, evolving throughout the decade to encompass a new found confidence and a vision of style. The defining characteristics being a love of training shoes and designer sportswear. Fashion as a culture became dominant throughout 1977 Merseyside – the year of punk. The rebellious tenneager would rather be seen in a pair of adidas samba trainers and have a wedge haricut than wear a pair of painted airwear and have a Mohican hairstyle.

Discarding flared jeans for skin-tight Lois, this provincial culture challenged fashion conventions. For a start, the wearing of training shoes for everyday wear had never been witnessed before – trainers were for sport! The youth sporting this un-accustomed attire were of the match going variety. Not influenced by music or film, this burgeoning culture rapidly spread on the terraces, from Anfield and Goodison to Old Trafford, Maine Road & eventually the rest of Britain.

Striving to assert their own own identity, they created a classic signature of narrow jeans & trainers. Samba were soon replaced Stan Smith and then Forest Hills with the jeans changing constantly – Lois, Inega, Fiorucci ect & jackets from the likes of Peter Strom & Adidas came and went. The scene was set and this fast fashion became more widespread as the travelling hordes of football supporters invaded cities & towns up and down the country.

In 1980 the fashion took a new turn, one which would become a nationwide obsession and define this generation. Acquiring footwear from abroad became the ultimate acquisition with football fans, particularly Liverpool, following their team around Europe were able to get their hands on trainers & sportswear unavailable – this quickly became something to boast about & aspire for.

Barbour and Benetton

Relatively cheap transportation via Transalpino to cities throughout Europe gave access to a variety of quality goods including many Italian labels such as Fila, Sergio Tacchini, Ellesse & Cerruti. Seeking stylish individuality, the Casual became influenced by Tennis, Golf & Hiking Gear throughout the 80s – the fasion was never static.

Europe was opening up to the high street & before long agency’s set up over here in the UK to begin distributing designer labels to retailers without the need to physically cross the channel. By the late 90s high end designer brands such as Hugo Boss, Prada & Armani were producing their collections based on this cultural revolution. The 80s Casuals had started a revolution in men’s clothing, the likes of which has not been seen since.

Dave Hewitson & Jay Montessori

The 80s Casuals book goes on in depth to re-live the key moments, brands & retailers of the 80s Casuals era which shaped the culture as we know it today. We are proud to see Stuarts London featured in this publication (page 83) alongside Limeys – another causals retailer of the 80s based in Nottingham.

C17 Jeans, a French denim brand under the same ownership as Stuarts can also be seen mentioned (page 109) alongside Burberry – two pillars of the terrace era that are ever popular with the younger generations to this day.

Many of the casuals brands mentioned are favourites every season here at Stuarts to this day, check out our casuals brand list below to give your wardrobe that beloved 80s casuals look.

Shop the 80s Casuals Book, by Dave Hewitson & Jay Montessori, online & in-store now at Stuarts London.

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