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Carys Bailey

MA work

Title of Dissertation: The Teddy Girls: Locating Femininity in the Evolution of Subcultural Style, 1953-2013

'For me, it’s totally my life, it’s who I am. I have been a Teddy Girl since I was 12 years old, and now I’m 42 and certainly not about to change. I’m a Teddy Girl until the day that I die.' - Queenie Ridgway, interview with the author, January 2013

Pencil skirts, turn-up jeans, draped jackets, velvet collars, cameo brooches, bobby sox and plenty of attitude. Whilst the Teddy Boy look has been widely recognised as the first British working class youth style, my thesis seeks to readdress the lack of female visibility and recognition in post-war subcultures and their subsequent retro revivals. It documents teenage girls’ creation of a unique ‘Teddy Girl’ look in 1950s London that combined influences from their male counterparts and mainstream culture - Hollywood cinema, high fashion, and later, American rock ’n’ roll.

Despite the continuing emergence of new youth subcultural styles in the following decades, the Ted community has survived and evolved into a collective of enthusiasts dedicated to keeping the Ted style alive today. My research uncovers the lived experience of three generations of women who have fashioned their own unique Teddy Girl identities. In an analysis of the girls’ creation and consumption of clothing, supported by oral history testimonials and photographic representation, I consider issues of femininity, authenticity and individuality embodied in the (re)creation of a subcultural style.

Info

  • Carys Bailey profile image
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2013

  • Title of Dissertation: The Teddy Girls: Locating Femininity in the Evolution of Subcultural Style, 1953-2013

    'For me, it’s totally my life, it’s who I am. I have been a Teddy Girl since I was 12 years old, and now I’m 42 and certainly not about to change. I’m a Teddy Girl until the day that I die.' - Queenie Ridgway, interview with the author, January 2013

    Pencil skirts, turn-up jeans, draped jackets, velvet collars, cameo brooches, bobby sox and plenty of attitude. Whilst the Teddy Boy look has been widely recognised as the first British working class youth style, my thesis seeks to readdress the lack of female visibility and recognition in post-war subcultures and their subsequent retro revivals. It documents teenage girls’ creation of a unique ‘Teddy Girl’ look in 1950s London that combined influences from their male counterparts and mainstream culture - Hollywood cinema, high fashion, and later, American rock ’n’ roll.

    Despite the continuing emergence of new youth subcultural styles in the following decades, the Ted community has survived and evolved into a collective of enthusiasts dedicated to keeping the Ted style alive today. My research uncovers the lived experience of three generations of women who have fashioned their own unique Teddy Girl identities. In an analysis of the girls’ creation and consumption of clothing, supported by oral history testimonials and photographic representation, I consider issues of femininity, authenticity and individuality embodied in the (re)creation of a subcultural style.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons), Fashion Design with Business Studies, University of Brighton, 2009
  • Experience

  • Research assistant internship, 'Fashion Fantasies', Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013–present; Museum volunteer, The Charles Dickens Museum, London, 2011
  • Awards

  • Sidney Crown Dissertation Prize, 2009
  • Publications

  • Word Art Exhibition Catalogue, Priya Khanchandani and Abigail Doran, Word Art Collective, 2012