Raw portraits of 80s London youth

Photographer Derek Ridgers' new book “78-87 London Youth” explores punk fashion before normcore

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TuinolBarry-KingsRoad1983
Tuinol Barry, Kings Road, 1983 Derek Ridgers

‘Alternative’ isn’t what it once was – at least not in a fashion sense. Imagine trying to explain normcore to the truculent punks of the 70s and 80s; the anonymous, detail-free design, predicated on the desire to fit in rather than stand out, ya dig?

There was a time when people did pride themselves on their appearance, where a little (or a lot of) imagination was involved in one’s ensemble. Since the early 70s, British photographer Derek Ridgers has been at the forefront of documenting these fashion statements come lifestyles, from the most die-hard skinheads to the fruitiest new romantics, with every subculture in between.

78-87 London Youth – Ridgers’ latest portrayal of Britain's youth culture – is only a snapshot of his enormous body of work. Focusing on the evolution of the hedonistic club scene during the 70s and 80s, Ridgers spent years frequenting London's grungiest dives and seediest fetish clubs, capturing the poster boys and girls of the tribes of the time. What remains striking throughout Ridgers’ work is his ability to reveal an ordinariness in his subjects despite the costume pretense.

Derek Ridgers - “78-87 London Youth” is out now, published by Damiani

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