The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are

Jim Morrison



Hippie Fashions
Whatever turns you on - Do what you want to do...

After turning on to The Beatles in 1964 many guys started wearing long hair and Mod fashions. Before World War II, artists and spoiled boys from good homes often wore long hair. And in the 1960s long hair became a symbol of spoiled American kids' rebellion against the mainstream culture. British fashions were called Mod fashions and often came from Carnegie Street and West End of London. British bands dressed in Mod fashions and had their long hair styled by man's hairstylists. You'll find typical examples of those fashions on Hendrix's album covers, The Beatles' S. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, Cream's Disraely Wheels and many other early British and American band photos. Recently, Mod fashions are also found in Austin Powers' movies. Below is a photo of my Cousin Stanley from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1967). He was a drummer with The London Beats. Before that, he played with the warm-up band for The Rolling Stones first concert in Milwaukee, Stan dressed in Mod clothes from Carnegie Street in London.


My Cousin Stanley from The London Beats, 1967.

American hippie fashions replaced British Mod fashions. Besides boy's long hair, tight jeans and there were also shrinkable jeans, beads from India and American Indian beads, and colorful shirts hippies didn't really have any defined fashion. The so called "Hippie Fashion" was to be who you are and to do what you wanted to do. So, wear whatever turns you on...

In the '60s, there were no set rules as to what hippies should wear and barefoot or naked was like the last word in fashion. Many hippies wore long hair, faded jeans, army surplus combat jackets and anything else that turned them on. It was not until about 1968 that the so called Hippy Look came about, also called The Peasant Look in Europe. It was an American fashion invented by some designers for the first Summer of Love Festival in San Francisco. Today, it's remembered best for the introduction of overalls and bellbottom trousers, which took on after a few years and still are associated with hippies and the 1970s Disco fashions. Besides the introduction of the bellbottom trousers hippie styles did not change too much. You'll also find in most photos from the 1960s that hippies were not wearing bellbottoms.

In the spirit of "Turn on, tune in and drop out" Hippies did whatever turned them on, and did not follow dictates of fashion gurus. Hippies did not find clothes to be the most important thing to go after in life. They were most interested in people and social issues rather then fashions. They took people for what they are and not for what they had. Due to the low budgets that many hippies had to get by on, they often did their shopping in secondhand shops, Army surplus stores or The Salvation Army where some also found shelter in San Francisco, for example. Chicago shops that the author remembers were The Secondhand Rose and The Man At Ease in Chicago's Old Town where the Owner used to give clients a groovy Love sign button with every purchase, for example. There were many groovy things to be found in places such as those that most mainstream Americans have probably never visited or haven't even heard of.


I was into The Beatles, the Stones, Mod fashions,

ring like Ringo and glassy eyes with dialated pupils.
Photo machine @ Museum Of Science and Industry.
Chicago, 23 November 1965.


Mod fashions store on the left, next to WLS-TV in downtown Chicago on State Street 1969

Favorite Hairstylist

As some hippies found employment and started earning a living they started functioning in society or the rat race. Then some of us became more fashion conscious. But getting that groovy hippie look was not that easy. As a rule, we did not follow any fashions rules and become our own fashion designers. So, many hippies created their own designs on what they could manage. But, it was not until after starting my first job that I was able to buy the more expensive things and to do the things I wasn't able to do before. One of the things I wasn't able to do was to visit a good Hairstylist to get that ďhavenít had a haircut" look like many stars had in those days. I guess that was the thing to do since the 1960s and especially the 1970s when men's long hair fashions became fashionable around the world.

So in the early 1970s, I found an excellent hairstylist on
Oak Street in Chicago. It was Collin of Collin of London. Collin, a 1960s British manís Hairstylist from London that relocated to Chicago (but I don't know more about him) and was/is best known as the inventor of the Collin Cut. The Collin Cut was and perhaps still is taught in fine hair styling schools in America such as Pivot Point. I haven't met any other Hairstylist in Europe or America that could even come close to the talent Colin's had. Collin's salon is on Rush Street and his Son probably works there too. Collin's everyday clients were people from all walks of life and many celebrities. I think even Liberace used to send his plane to fly Colin to his home in Nevada. Colin was able to make everyone look great.

Naturism

I've spent several years at naturist beaches, evening campfires, Volleyball games and met many wonderful naturists in Europe, and grown to like the lifestyle before problems with the ozone layer spoiled the fun. Nudists have no problems with clothes and fashions. After the first day or two in such an environment one stops judging others by what they have on. I think that the hippy movement and also the Rainbow movement were/ are also efforts to bring about such peaceful, free and open spirit to textilers - those folks that wear clothes everyday as the naturists share. So, having lived without clothes and many false limitations for a while, I feel that I've experienced a bit of the Garden Of Eden and believe the world would be a better place if everyone had free access to such a clothes free environment when desired.

Clothes As A Form of Art

I've spent lots of time at naturist beaches esp. during the '80s and wouldn't mind living in a clothes free world if not for the problems with the ozone layer. I used to laugh at the sight of textile people paying for striptease shows, Playboy or Playgirl magazines and porn. I thought they were crazy to long for something as natural as that. But that was years ago. Now I view porn as an exciting work of art that takes us back to dreams of paradise. As to dressing like textiles do, I've got suits and dress shoes but I just don't like wearing them, and can't remember when was the last time I did. Perhaps last year to a job interview? My favorite type of clothes are short pants, Hawaiian shirts, sandals and sneakers (Vans Authentic or Converse All Star). But the climate I'm in now requires warm clothes because it's cold most of the year. As to earrings and tattoos. I've got both ears pierced but no tattoos because I've never been able to find any design or symbol that would be universal enough for me to advertise on my body for the rest of my days. A tattoo is a serious decision I haven't been able to commit to yet. But I like tattoos and couldn't imagine someone like for example Axl Rose without the cross on his arm. I suppose when it becomes popular for conservatives and rednecks to dress like liberals do then liberals will start dressing like conservatives and rednecks. Clothes are a way of expressing our worldviews and how we feel. So, that's why the clothes we choose to wear are like art at an exchibition. But playing a role as if we were on stage 24/7 could get a bit too much, if you know what I mean.

A few last words about footwear. My favorites from the 60s to this day are Vans Authentic and Converse All Star (in that order). The Converse All Star sneakers were required in schools for gym class so students wouldn't damage parquet basketball floors. So I started wearing old pairs on the street after school (I went to private schools where we had to wear leather shoes). I guess many other kids did the same. That's probably how the fashion for those sneakers started. Vans came out in about 1966 in California. They were a lot more comfortable and easy to put on because they didn't have shoe strings to mess with, and held on to skateboards and wooden floors well. The Converse All Star sneakers became fashionable among many artists outside the USA in Germany, Holland or in Poland, for example.


Snobby Hippie Stuff

Hippies also have certain snobby consumer goods such as Birkenstock sandals, for example. The truth is, I'm also a bit snobby that way and wear Birkenstock shoes that I bought cheaply at online auctions. The Birk shoes and sandals look like crap but they're the only ones I can walk miles in without feeling that I've actually walked the miles. For that reason they are also very popular among many Catholic nuns and monks. To give the competition equal credit, Dr. Scholl's also has very comfortable shoes that I've worn since the 1960s. Lets not forget the tie-died shirts, beads, rings, earrings, pendants and all the other hippie paraphernalia...










Copyright