"Return of the Rudeboy" Exhibition at Somerset House.
This summer,from mid-June to mid-August, London’s Somerset House is highlighting one Jamaica’s most influential exports on British fashion, music and style.
Birthed on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, the Rudeboy (or Rudie) came to represent the young rebels who wore distinctively sharp sartorial styles such as Mohair suits, thin ties and pork pie hats. Much of their identity was rooted in aesthetics but their style was also closely connected to the music movements of the time, notably American Jazz and R&B musicians.
Curated by prolific photographer and filmmaker for music’s most wanted Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry favourite creative director Harris Elliott, this interactive exhibition focuses on and highlights the origins of Rudeboy culture in Jamaica, as well as its presence in the United Kingdom through various subcultures, through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces. In the past year, Chalkley and Elliott have photographed over 60 sharply dressed individuals from across the UK, whether it be on the streets of Shoreditch or Savile Row, all of whom embody the essence of what it is to be a Rudeboy (or Rudie) in the 21st century, to document the life, style and attitude of this growing urban group.
In addition to these portraits, all of the individuals pictured have provided their signature playlist, which has been fused along with curators’ and collaborators’ choices, into a soundtrack to capture the spirit and soul of the Rudeboy, and a complimentary sonic addition to the visuals of the exhibition.
And if all that isn’t awesome already, to highlight the essence of grooming as part of the Rudeboy aesthetics, the space will host a pop-up ‘grooming station’ on Thursdays and Saturdays, from Saturday 21 June, where visitors can book appointments to get their hair cut or beard trimmed by a top Rudeboy barber.
Celebrating Rudeboy culture is important for several reasons. Not only is it one of the biggest movements that has largely shaped 20th century British identity, it also highlights some of the impact and contributions that have been made in Britain and the UK at large through the Jamaican diaspora.
13 June – 25 August 2014
Daily 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.30)
Until 21.00 on Thursday 3 July (last entry 20.30)
Terrace Rooms, South Wing