Taking inspiration from the “rudeboys”

return of the rudeboy


Remember that Guinness advert that showed a group of Congolese gents with a special kind of sartorial swagger? Check it out here if you need to, it’s pretty fab.

Sharp tailoring, lime green socks, cigar and a pork pie hat cocked to an angle that says– “I don’t give a damn”, these men worked it to a cool soundtrack and told the world that money definitely can’t buy style.

This ad proved to be another triumph for the brand, but what many people watching might not have realised that this advert showed the world what it takes to be a Rudeboy.

For these men, distinctive dressing is a way of life. Never dictated to by passing trends and with superb attention to detail, age doesn’t matter, and neither does your bank balance.  Just like the advert portrays- style has a lot to do with confidence. Confidence, a shed load of attitude, of course one hell of a wardrobe.

This stylish subculture actually originated in the 1950s in Jamaica and has since infiltrated itself into 21st British culture. This is not just an advert for a popular Irish stout. It’s a movement and I think these men can give us all some tips- even us women!

In recognition of the Rudeboy, this Somerset House is giving us Return of the Rudeboy, an exhibition by music photographer Dean Chalkley and fashion Creative Director Harris Elliott. The event showcases a series of portraits, installations and set pieces showing 60 suave individuals, photographed by the duo. I have featured some of them below.

As you can imagine music and Rudie styling go hand in hand, and so to add something extra to the experience according to the website “Each of the subjects featured in the portraits have provided their signature playlist, which is amalgamated along with curators’ and collaborators’ choices into a soundtrack to capture the spirit and soul of the Rudeboy, acting as a sonic backdrop to the visual works” And for those who simply must find out more, workshops will be available in conjunction with the exhibition to allow visitors to brush up on their knowledge.

So dig out your trilby ladies, shine up those loafers and check out these pics and be inspired! Attention to detail in the way we dress and taking some pride in how we present ourselves to the world should not just be for the rudeboy. In a world where we are dictated by celebrity and true style individuality is increasingly hard to find, the essence and message of  Rudeboy styling is one that we can only hope to see more of. What do you think?


rudeboy socks

rudeboy 3

Runs 13 June – 25 August 2014
Daily 10.00-18.00 

Find out more at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk

(Adapted from my article for Shlur.com)

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  1. As the man said “You can’t always control what you do but you can control who you are”. Style says it all. Brilliant vintage look by some great characters.

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