Mods vs. Rockers

Written by Robert | 25/02/2014



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Fred Perry

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The conflict between English youth subcultures of mods and rockers is well documented for their clash of musical tastes and dress sense, their rivalry reached boiling point in the 1960’s which culminated with events like those during Whitsun weekender in 1964. Here we look back to the events and assess the presence of each clan in the modern day.

The Facts!

A few were jailed and dozens arrested amidst violent clashes at southern seaside resorts between hundreds of youths- leading to a media frenzy nearly 50 years ago on May 18th 1964.

A couple of stab wounds were reported and bottles were thrown at police as they tried to disperse the groups of teenagers, who were to blame for a lot of vandalised property in areas such as Brighton, Bournemouth, Margate and Broadstairs.

The weekend went on to leave a lasting impression on British culture- the events were dramatized in the 1979 film “Quadrophenia” featuring Ray Winstone amongst others. Seaside town Margate has even opened an exhibition portraying the clash in hope of boosting tourism in the area.

Want to know more? here is a video dedicated to the mods and rockers story


Mods and rockers are two of the most notable music and style youth subcultures we have seen in this country and each had a distinctive presence as per the clashes of the time.

Mods were generally seen as being young men who wore clean cut clothing such as suits and rode scooters with numerous mirrors and mascots, wearing parka jackets and helmets for protection. Additionally they were associated with liking specific genres of music such as soul, rhythm and blues, ska and beat music. Band The Who are seen as traditional mod icons and the style still lives on through clothing brands such as Fred Perry and Dr Martens who style clothes similar to the mod ideology. Both brands can be found at Mainline, and the Whitsun weekend’s legacy is evident from these latest designs from Fred Perry who have depicted the beach-side chaos in print.


Rockers culture was centred on motorcycling in contrast to the mods scooters and stereotypically they wore black leathers and motorcycle boots as they did so. Their love of music genre rock and roll was reflected by their pompadour styled haircuts which were advocated by their idols such as Elvis and Buddy Holly. The rock culture much like mod culture has left a lasting imprint on our style today and it is responsible for many existing styles and musical bands that all draw influences. At Mainline Menswear you can find evidence of this with our Belstaff leather riding jackets- a timeless item which will never go out of fashion.


Some say the events of that weekend were greatly exaggerated, and that if it had happened nowadays it would be no different to the disturbances which happen every weekend at the heart of some city’s nightlife. Whatever the extent of those clashes, the occasion marks a bold symbol of British youth and clearly its impact has reverberated through to shape styles of the 21st century too. Many say artists like Jake Bugg and Oasis have images relating to by-gone mod eras, and equally rockers can be held responsible for many contemporary fashions in the public eye. Whatever had been seen that weekend was totally unique and had never been seen before- a sentiment many fashion houses aim to achieve themselves.

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