Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mod Gone Wrong: On the Topic of Shoes...

When I was a wee little Modnick, back in high school, I TOTALLY wanted a pair of Union Jack shoes! Remember those Shelly's Jam stage shoes (is that right?)? I thought they'd be the coolest things ever as I strutted around school with those on along with my (again) highwater, tapered Dickies, Fred Perry, and parka covered in patches and pins. Heck, I even wanted a Union Jack 3-button blazer. (And all kidding aside, let's be honest... the Union Jack really is a great design.)

But that was then and this is now and the truth is, I ain't British. I wouldn't be caught dead walking around in Union Jack shoes. That said, is it me or are these actually kind of cool?

More info on these from Flickr.
According to the Flickr page, they were made in 1953! I think the shape and construction of the shoe is what makes it for me. Still, nope, wouldn't wear 'em. At my age, they'd be just a bit too overkill. Now if they were in a Mexican flag pattern, well...

Let's do one for the ladies now. We all love Mondrian patterns, I know, but this might be taking it a bit too far:
More awesomely crazy shoes can be found here.
QUESTION: What are some of the WORST shoes you've seen?


  1. Those Modrian shoes violate Modrian's rule about horizontal and vertical lines. And they're ugly.

  2. Both of the above selections are atrocious.

    I could see the union jack shoes being a bit revolutionary in the 50's. But thanks to Ben Sherman and their plastic mod revival, the novelty is ruined.

    But then again, I blame Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Paul Frank, Goorin Bros(yes), even Paul Smith, for derailing mens modern fashion.

  3. Regarding the Mondrian comment... ugh, don't you just hate graphic designers?

    And Anonymous, although I'm not huge on Fred Perry, a recent convert-turned-critic of Ben Sherman, and not much into Paul Frank, I slightly disagree. I think these labels (especially Paul Smith and Goorin Brothers) have actually helped bring men's modern fashion back into a more stylish realm. They've helped move the look away from 'casual' (which has long been the direction men have moved toward) and back into 'dapper.'

    I'd much rather see guys in fancy hats (even in styles I'm not that into) as opposed to baseball caps!

    But I agree on your take on Ben Sherman and the mod revival novelty!

  4. Paul Smith is a hero to me. I still remember walking into his high-rent store in NYC around '95 or so and seeing the old Jam and early punk records framed on the walls. It was awesome to behold.

    But the real novelty shoes has to be in the trainer world. Trainers of the 90's and 00's can be some of the most god-awful fashion creations EVER. The trainer world as of late seems to have settled down to a more simple, classic design which is nice. But I digress; This is Mod Male, NOT Hip Hop Male, dammit!

  5. With all due respect and believe me I have become a regular reader of this blog, but I have to say one thing..

    I believe that the "Mod Gone Wrong" posts have been entertaining, but you've been looking at the novelty side of mod. I've heard gripes about targets and such for years, by people who consistently dress, act, walk and talk Mod but are refusniks when it comes to calling themselves such.
    Targeting Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Paul Smith,
    etc. as destroying or diminishing what it is to be Mod? ..I'm not buying it.

    These were the few that have kept the flame burning throughout the years, all while growing their companies to well respected fashion companies who somehow manage to satisfy the douche bags of the world and still come up with some sorted clobber.

    I recently thought about "Mod REALLY going wrong" and found it on Liam's Pretty Green site.
    Look at this...

    Now look at this..

    Did you notice one is 10X the price of the other?
    ...and its the cheap one that comes with pearl buttons! ..shameful and truly gone wrong.

    I guess my point is that pointing out what's gone wrong, is too easy for all of us.

    That said, I'd like to see and hear "MOD gone right". More about the shoes seen above, the good ones not the novelty. More about clothing that looks and feels great regardless of where it comes from, more about the style we all love and can trainspot in others who share our passion. I'd like to see more about drinking, cufflinks, music, scooters, cars, women, where to buy, etc, etc.. all the things that could make this THE place for the Male Mod.

    ...and yes I will fuck off if you want me to.

    (for full disclosure I am employed by The Sportsmans Guide, call my self a Mod revivalist, love the Target, ride a P200, a respectable street cred and really enjoy this blog)

  6. Oh Mod Male, DUH.

  7. Sparkleneely, way to start off my morning!

  8. John, I will definitely NOT tell you to f*** off, sir.

    I actually do agree with you on some of your points. The original purpose for this blog was to address the issues you mentioned you'd be interested in reading about, i.e., cufflinks, clothes, etc. I wanted to get the focus back to what has always excited me about the 'Mod' thing: the clothes and style, which I LOVE! (I'm laying off music, scooters, and the rest because there are so many other great blogs with much more experienced writers on those subjects.)

    Frankly, most of my time lately has been occupied elsewhere, which has prevented me from catching up on readings/research, etc., to really get into histories, styles, and fashions. But I plan to when I'm done with my other responsibilities! The posts lately have been on things I can write about quickly, but that'll change soon.

    The 'Mod Gone Wrong' started because I was tired of seeing people take this thing I'm passionate about and reduce it to a target t-shirt. However, I didn't want to end up putting people too down or get super mean-spirited (that's open for debate), so I kept it to the novelty stuff. But don't fear... the problem I'm having lately is that it's getting harder to find things to write about for this segment. And that's a good thing!

    Regarding Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, etc., I don't think I've gotten too down on them. I agree with you about their success, and I can't get down on that. They've put their time in, reached a larger audience, and nothing's wrong with that so long as they still put out good clothing. Funny enough, I only recently got into Ben Sherman a few years back. Prior to that, I was much more into actual vintage shirts. What turned me on to BS was that they were new, accessible, affordable, had nice patterns and fit great. I've not been impressed with them lately, though.

    That said, my main issue with brands like Fred Perry, Paul Frank, etc. is that they emphasis the 'casual' side of Mod, which, frankly, I'm burnt on. I get it... it's comfortable and easy to show up in 'trainers', a Fred Perry, parka, and jean. Voila! Mod! Me, I'm way more into the dressy angle of the Mod look. I want to see people getting more excited about Paul Smith, Ted Baker, and whatever other label (not necessarily 'Mod') that pushes a slicker look overall. After all, Mods, in my opinion, should be leading the way in lookin' stylin'! Instead, most people are satisfied with the casual Fred Perrys and a button that lets people know they're 'mod'. I wanna see some effort!

    And I absolutely agree with you about Pretty Green. TOTAL Mod gone wrong! I've never been a Liam fan or an Oasis fan for that matter and, again, this is a look that stresses casual over sharp. And on top of that, they push 'casual' into the 'sloppy' arena. At a higher price! Ugh. I probably never thought too much about writing about them because I never found that label, Liam, or Oasis very 'Mod' to begin with. (Maybe, I will post about this after all…)

    I really do appreciate you (and everyone else) who reads this even when you disagree. And it's important to me that guys like you are interested in reading this because you've been around consistently and know your stuff! We may not agree, but (and this is only something I've learned in my older age) that's what has made this Mod thing last so long… the different interpretations and thoughts. I'm a stubborn guy with my opinions, but I can listen to others. We're all older now, but still love this stuff and find ways to continue the passion while balancing family, work, and life.

    That said, you're gonna have to put up with me when I rib on Mod revival, targets, and P200s. (Though, I don't have much room to get down on bikes... that's my Mod weak point.)

    Thanks John and always feel free to disagree!

  9. I don't have time to get into a philosophical discussion here, but I will say that it is depressing when you meet someone (OK, a cute boy) who looks like they might have an idea what it's all about, but then you realize they are just a haircut, with no idea of where their designer's inspiration is coming from.

  10. just found this blog, love it

    i was a mod in the 80s and had a pair of jam badger shoes, bowling shoes, the works.... time travel to the present and I am 42, still have a vepsa (alongside a couple of japanese bikes ), still love northern soul ( alongside drum n bass and tech house ) and have just bought a new union jack helmet... once a mod, always a mod!

    keep on keeping on

    mike, osaka, japan