The origins of the Rudeboy culture are reinforced in this sartorial exhibition at Somerset House. Curated by photographer and filmmaker Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry creative director Harris Elliott, the show includes over 60 portraits created over the past year showing how the Rudie style exists in the 21st century. Having developed on the streets of Kingston in the late 1950s, the subculture consisted of signature outfits such as the fitted suit, thin tie and pork pie hat; a scene of sharply dressed young rebels influenced by American Jazz and RnB musicians.
As tends to happen through the passing of time, the meaning of Rudeboy has evolved and departed from its roots. The term has been incorporated into the music scenes of ragga, dancehall, jungle and grime but this exhibition intends to firmly place the style choices and attitudes of this sharply dressed subculture back with its origins. And with the presence of so many modern-day Rudie’s, the scene is evidently undergoing a significant revival.
The expert creative team behind this exhibition haven’t gone for your bog standard photography or fashion exhibition. They have instead sought to bring back the feeling and sense of this scene, reinforcing that subcultures are not simple a matter of sartorial style but also lifestyle choices, attitudes, music tastes and belief systems. Each participant has submitted their own playlist which will accompany the show and act as a sonic backdrop to the experience. Attention to style being a must for the discerning Rudie, there will also be a Rudeboy barber in-house for visitors to book and briefcases designed specifically for the exhibition. The exhibition is also supported by a series of events and movies. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On from 13th June to 25th August. For more info visit: www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/return-of-the-rudeboy