Cool Britannia: how Britpop Style Changed Men’s Fashion


Britishness. What is it? Because if you asked us to define ‘Italianità’ we would struggle to come up with likewise edgy, irreverent, witty, brilliant things often. Britishness isn’t surely anything to do with the daunting deal on Brexit, a process that is likely to undo many stereotypes related to the coolness in how the Brits go about with things. It isn’t either afternoon tea, marmite, pints of bitter shandy and oatcakes – you only get to know some of these if you have lived in certain so called ‘shit holes.’

Britishness is probably none of those, but also all of these things altogether, defining it will be like painting wind.

However Cool Britannia is easy to paint, the picture of Britpop style is loud and clear. From Blur to Pulp, Oasis to Suede and then The Verve, Britishness can be defined by the iconic looks of Britpop fashion style. Written mainly by male figures – although it influenced fashion beyond gender classifications – the outfits representing  the best moments of a genre that was on top of the wave for only few years in the 90s have some traits and brands in common, even though we have to look at individually according to the different lead singers.

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    From 1960s mods, who rocked Beatles boots and their long hair, to 1980s hooligans, mixing heritage British brands such as Clarks, Dr Martens, Burberry and Fred Perry with football affiliated labels such as Fila and Duffer, Britpop fashion style is probably still going strong today, and here are the cheeky lads of Britpop.


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    Liam Gallagher

    Liam Gallagher’s parkas are probably one of the signature traits of the most seen Britpop looks and he picked up on this when he set up a fashion label flourishing with parka jackets. It’s called Pretty Green and the vibe it exudes is a mix of Beatles style meets modern days and a whole load of nostalgia from the Britpop era. Launched in 2009, Pretty Green is your go-to for Britpop fashion style shopping.


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    Richard Ashcroft

    Bittersweet Symphony Richard Ashcroft’s 2016 buzz cut isn’t what The Verve lead singer is famous for. Or actually, the fact he cut his iconic long hair could have been interesting material for news headlines back then. Other than his locks, his smoky aviators, which he still sports day and night on his public appearances are also unforgettable. For us, more than the outfits he wears, is his attitude, that wacky walk, the reckless push of an idol that defined his as Britpop style.


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    Brett Anderson 

    Brett Anderson’s Beautiful Ones, in their suits, are not Britpop style testimonials; his gender fluid aplomb, made of chest revealing blouses juxtaposed with leather jackets, is part of his rock, glam rock, type of fashion sense. Suede with not much suede, allow us.


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    Damon Albarn

    If you have come across Blur only recently and watched the video of their hit Parklife, you might be under the impression suits were the fashion trend in the East End back in the 90s. Damon Albarn’s was all but jackets and pants, and his cheeky yet cynical personality resided underneath polo tees, loose jeans, Dr Martens and knitted polos.


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    Gaz Coombes

    Lead singer of Supegrass Gaz Coombes’ sideburns preceded him back in the 90s, when they added a touch of adulthood to his eternal baby face – the trio managed to look in their teens even in their 20s. Decades later, his love for the defining facial hair is still strong.



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    All in all some might say Britpop fashion style pinches more than just a bit from the even haircut, known as mop top, and their leather boots; we say as in all music genres, eras and fashions related to them, Cool Britannia is indeed cool as it manage to turn ordinary, common, into the extraordinary.

    And if you think about British fashion today, a lot of that Britishness finds a place on the international catwalks.