I decided to write my own article for my layout, because I feel by writing one, it helps me to understand further about the subculture. The whole article may not be able to fit on the double page spread, but it would at least give you an idea of what would be written if I were to write a whole one (with more pages of course).
…The change from the beginning. Over the past 60 years, the subculture has gone from a rough gang group, to a major style icon. How is it that we see their style and attitude so appealing today, and what is it that attracts us to become so much like them?
From prints, to bold, to chains, to greasers. Anyone heard of this saying before? I’m sure those who were around about 20-30+ years ago would have. But what about those who were born in the 80’s (pardon the pun) and 90’s? They may have no idea who they are, but incorporate there style everyday.
Greasers originally took the name from Mexican slaves who worked heavily around oil and engines, hence why they were called ‘greasers’. They incorporated the name for themselves to resemble the greasy slick back hair that they would have had, never allowing the chance to have a strand of hair out of place.
Greasers were the American term for ‘rockers’ and ‘teddy boys’ in England, however they did not purposely form gangs to get into trouble – they were much more into modifying cars, smoking and picking up girls. All greasers loved their rockabilly music. Hugely influenced by artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Tiger army etc. Elvis especially was a massive influence on them for his careless attitude and also by the way he dressed!
The subculture was a huge hit at the beginning, the rebellious attitude attracted thousands including women, and having their own identity. The men would wear leather jackets, boots, and jeans and resemble a very ‘cool’ look about them. The women in contrast would look completely made up, not leaving the house with their hair half done, or their clothes perfected from head to toe.
David Alldis 49, an ex rocker and punk, remembers what the English version of greasers were like:
‘They just went around and caused a load of hassle to people, chatting up girls ya’ know? I was never one of them, but I loved my leather and denim jackets. My ego got me the birds I needed at the time! [Laughing]’
Although he was never a ‘greaser’, he was still influenced in his rocker subculture with the style that they wore, and especially the hair.
Today, a lot of young teenagers have incorporated this style into what is now called ‘indie’. I would not say that this is a new subculture, as it is WAY too mainstream; but it made me wonder, has the style of the greasers been an influence all along, and has it just taken this generation to take it on board and take advantage of it?
Today, even I like to wear the style. My wardrobe is PACKED with bomber jackets, tight jeans, little tops and red lipstick. My boyfriend raves his slick hairstyle to the side, his white tight shirts, jeans and a loose shirt now and then. I would definitely agree that the style has been more of an influence than the greasers may have thought of at the time, the style has been evolved and changed all over the world, adapting to different subcultures to give people an identity than just being ‘that person’ walking along the streets.
Famous people today have even taken the style role on. Rihanna 26, loves her leather clothing, puffy hair and red lipsticks. She to me is a classic example of a modernized version of a female greaser. Alex Turner 28, I would definitely also say is a classic example of a modern greaser. I don’t think you can mistake his leather jackets, plain t-shirts, boots, jeans and slick hair – and the smoking! He got the whole package going on there don’t you think? James Quaintance (model) I wouldn’t rule out either, he resembles the evolved version of a greaser to add with the tattoos and piercings, which I think today, is beginning to change and become a major factor of the greaser subculture style.
I’m no car expert, but everyone knows the term ‘boys and their toys.’ Relating SPECIFICALLY to cars. There is no direct link to where this phrase has come from, but I certainly believe that the subculture has helped to incorporate it over the years. Boys have been modifying cars up until today and I know for certain beyond! They rip apart their cars, change tyres, add stickers and make it look like something no one has – it becomes an original piece.
I see greasers like artwork. Everything about their style and the way they did it, gave them some kind of originality about themselves. Even their ego and attitude, the men could pick up girls and make them look like the dogs-balls without having to go into a major male-dominant fight to who is better.
Karen Cooper, an English punk who moved to America explained,
“I loved that kind of style! Boys who looked a little grubby and rough had something about them. Bad boys were certainly an attraction because they showed dominance and independence.”
I think we can see a little trend here… Are they the reasons why us girls go for bad boys nowadays, eh?
Like I said, although the whole greaser subculture has now been long gone, the style and attitude that followed from it remains still as fresh as when it first started. The style of the greaser for both men and women have now become a huge fashion statement to young men, the leather jackets have been adapted and bomber jackets are still just as popular to women as when they were in the 50s, 60s and beginning of the 70s.
There are many books and films especially that help you get a clearer understanding of what a greaser was like. My two personal favourites were Rebel Without a Cause and The Outsiders. Both of the films I thought would have been good at the time they were filmed! Of course we cannot forget the 1978 film Grease – That’s just an all time classic.