Zines, posters and gay porn: the skinhead archives

There’s more to it than Dr. Martens – a new book and exhibition go deep into the subculture’s history, with a Martine Rose collab to celebrate

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No Skin off my Ass, Bruce LaBruce, USA, 1994, VHS coverTaken from Skinhead: An Archive

From neo-Nazis to queer skin flicks, Skinhead: An Archive is the momentous new book from Ditto Press compiling zines, posters and other vital ephemera from one of England’s most provocative subcultural movements. Designed by Jamie Reid, the book was curated by artist, collector and punk-history connoisseur Toby Mott, and along with a supporting exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see items from Mott’s rare and renowned collection, like Bruce LaBruce VHS sleeves and a copy of the “neither racist or red” Skinhead Times zine, featuring the charming Miss Skinhead 1993.

Now menswear rebel and Dazed 100 designer Martine Rose, whose designs frequently reference and reimagine British subculture (see her AW14 collection which repurposed archival rave flyers), has joined forces with Ditto and Mott to mark the book’s release and exhibition by creating a made-to-order MA1 jacket, limited-edition patch set and badge featuring Grogger and Inch, the skinhead couple, embracing on their wedding day. “It was an authentic response to a time of change and insecurity,” Rose explains of the skinhead movement, and for her and Mott, it is Nicky Crane – the hypermasculine former Oi poster boy, convicted neo-Nazi, gay bar doorman and AIDS victim – that has come to embody the sentiment that drove the subculture. “His story is symbolic of Thatcher and Britain,” Mott says, “moving from one outdated idea and on to a new era with devastating consequences.”

Skinhead: An Archive runs until the January 22 at the Ditto Gallery, 4 Benyon Road London. The book and collaborative pieces are available online.

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