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A skinhead is a member of a subculture that originated among working class youths in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and then spread to other parts of the world. Named for their close-cropped or shaven heads, the first skinheads were greatly influenced by West Indian (specifically Jamaican) rude boys and British mods, in terms of fashion, music and lifestyle.[1] Originally, the skinhead subculture was primarily based on those elements, not politics or race.[2] Since then, however, attitudes toward race and politics have become factors by which some skinheads align themselves. The political spectrum within the skinhead scene ranges from the far right to the far left, although many skinheads are apolitical.[citation needed] Fashion-wise, skinheads range from a clean-cut 1960s mod-influenced style to less-strict punk- and hardcore-influenced styles.



In the late 1950s, the United Kingdom's entrenched class system limited most working class people's educational, housing, and economic opportunities. Nevertheless, Britain's post-war economic boom led to an increase in disposable income among many young people. Some of those youths spent that income on new fashions popularised by American soul groups, British R&B bands, certain movie actors, and Carnaby Street clothing merchants.[3][4] These youths became known as mods, a youth subculture noted for its consumerism and devotion to fashion, music and scooters.[5]

Mods of lesser means made do with practical clothing styles that suited their lifestyle and employment circumstances: work boots or army boots, straight-leg jeans or Sta-Prest trousers, button-down shirts, and braces (called suspenders in North America). When possible, these working class mods spent their money on suits and other sharp outfits to wear at dancehalls, where they enjoyed soul, ska, bluebeat and rocksteady music.[1][6]

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