In the late 1950s the United Kingdom developed a class system in an attempt to limit the amount of work available to their young people. It was also to limit educational and economic opportunities available for the working class people. After the war Britain experienced an economic boom which brought about an increase in disposable income, much of what they spent on fashion like ska clothing that was inspired by American soul groups. These people were known as the Mods. They were recognized for their consumerism.
There were two types of Mods. The Peacock Mods otherwise known as the Smooth Mods and the Gang Mods otherwise known as the Hard Mods. The Peacock Mods were not as violent as the Gang Mods. The difference was that the Peacock Mods dressed in the latest styles and had more expensive taste. The Gang Mods were known for their short hair and their working class image.
In the late 1960’s some of the early skinheads became violent against Pakistanis and South Asian immigrants. By the late 1970’s racially motivated violence began in the U.K. Some of the working class skinheads blamed immigrants who were non-white for the economic and social problems they were experiencing. Some of the neo-Nazi groups were grossly comprised of skinheads. The mass media and general public began viewing skinheads as being promoters of white power.
Gang Mods also known as Lemonheads and Peanuts typically wore shorter hair because of the liability it created with the industrial jobs they held. It was also an advantage to have short hair when participating in street fights.
In the 1970’s skinhead subculture started to fade and new skinhead groups formed. There were the Suedeheads named for the way they manipulated the comb to style the hair, the Smoothies who often sported shoulder length hair and the Bootboys known for their mod-length hair which associated them with the gangs. New fashions started like brogues, loafers, and suits. Slacks worn with sweaters were the most popular attire among skinheads.
The 1980’s brought two groups of skinheads that rebuked neo-Nazism, in favor of traditional skinhead culture. They were the Hard As Nails and Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Conservatism among U.S. skinheads is common. American military actions and opposition to modern liberalism is widely glorified among the skinheads of today.