transgressive timeline

YMC travel through British subcultures to mark their 25th anniversary
By Ella Joyce | 24 August 2021

Founded in London in 1995 by Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins, YMC was forged with the foundations of British youth culture at its core. So, with this year marking the brand’s quarter-of-a-century milestone, they’re paying homage to those hard-wired subcultural epochs: collaborating with the Museum of Youth Culture on six limited edition t-shirts printed with imagery from the Museum’s rich archives curated by Moss himself.

“This collaboration is close to my heart, British youth culture represented part of the building blocks that created the DNA of YMC,” says Moss. “I may not have affiliated myself with all these youth movements but from a distance, I made note of their uniforms and took inspiration thereafter.”

The history of British youth culture is one with no set narrative, as movements range from the birth of heavy metal in the late 60s, the suedeheads and mods of the same decade that later grew into the 2-Tone and punk trends of the late 70s, and the explosion of Acid House in the 80s, to name but a few. The six black-and-white images chosen for this project exhibit this transgressive timeline through the lenses of renowned UK photographers – the likes of Gavin Watson and Simon Norfolk – whose imagery has become synonymous with the tribes they immersed themselves in.

Within this, we focus on six British subcultural tribes and movements: suedeheads, heavy metal, fetish, rave, indie and reggae. We see two heavy metal fans rocking out in a London club, a fetish couple touching tongues in rubber gimp masks, ravers lost in the moment during a night at Manchester’s Broadwalk and MC’s performing at Notting Hill Carnival, as well as a suedehead kid in High Wycombe pulling faces and a girl in Aberdeen club sticking her tongue out to the camera. Each image acts as a freezeframe documenting a British subgenre that caused waves still rippling today.

YMC’s partnership with the Museum of Youth Culture to commemorate 25 years of the label makes for a collection of t-shirts that perfectly document the heart and soul of British youth – shop the collection here.


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