‘Return Of The Rudeboy’ Exhibition @ Somerset House – Until 25.08.14 [LDN]

Just seen the details around this exhibition, had to share it as it looks amazing. Earlier this month, Return of the Rudeboy kicked off its ten-week residency at Somerset House, celebrating ‘rudie‘ style culture in proper form.

Birthed in Jamaica, Rudeboy (note the capital ‘R’) culture was integrated in to London during the ’70s and ’80s, defined by attitude, and identified through the dress and talk of the Rudeboys and Rudegirls. The sharp style, customised to the characters wearing it, has evolved with the times and is as prevalent as ever for its dedicated following.

Originating from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1950s, 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. The style was closely connected to the music movements of the time; their initial inspiration derived from American Jazz and R&B musicians as well as some notorious gangsters.  As is prevalent in the Rudeboy culture, the origins were appropriated and then twisted. The Rudeboy has travelled through time since then and evolved; in the 1980s, Two-Tone brought it right back into the frame. Now today’s young men and women have adopted the swagger and adapted the essence of the original Rudeboy but for a 21st century generation.

Curators Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott used sixty portrait photographs taken over the last twelve months as the core of the exhibit, building the archive pieces and music around them. Chalkley (the photographer) and Elliott (the designer) compliment each other perfectly, pulling in their contacts from respective creative and fashion industries to help bring this incredible project to life.

Fashion houses, stylists, film makers and music heroes have stepped up to contribute and create a fully interactive experience for those visiting. A personal favourite is the pop-up barber shop, Johnnie Sapong x We Are Cuts, where a top Rudeboy barber will look after your style grooming to keep you looking sharp. For those less committed there’s films, playlists and even an end room with a soundsystem set up to socialise and enjoy some tunes.

The exhibition runs until the 25th of August, and is free to all who enter. Make sure you check it out and keep an eye on various events (including screenings of Babylon and The Harder They Come) happening around this event.

via Return Of The Rudeboy

This summer, Somerset House is proud to present Return of the Rudeboy, an original exhibition created and curated by prolific photographer and filmmaker for music’s most wanted Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry favourite creative director Harris Elliott, which showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces. Over the course of the past year the duo has photographed over 60 sharply dressed individuals from across the UK, 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. The curated collection of images shows the subjects presenting their pure and singular sartorial swagger in locations linked to the Rudeboy lifestyle, whether it be on the streets of Shoreditch or Savile Row.

The exhibition is an immersive experience of visuals and sounds, taking visitors into the worlds of today’s Rudeboys. Each of the subjects featured in the portraits have provided their signature playlist, which is amalgamated along with curators’ and collaborators’ choices into a soundtrack to capture the spirit and soul of the Rudeboy, acting as a sonic backdrop to the visual works. Since grooming is integral to the Rudeboy routine, 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. Working with artisan box maker Kitty Farrow and luggage manufacturer Alstermo, bespoke brief cases, hat boxes and luggage sets have been made to show how this collective of individuals pays attention to detail in all aspects with their fashions.

In true Rudeboy style, Chalkley and Elliott have collaborated closely with a variety of inspirational and influential creative minds to contribute exciting, engaging and enriching content to the exhibition. These include Rashad Smith, a British-born, New York-based producer who has worked with the likes of The Notorious B.I.G, Busta Rhymes and Nas; the Art Comes First creative collective founded by top travelling tailors Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh; and founding member of Big Audio Dynamite, Grammy award-winning filmmaker and international DJ Don Letts, a pillar of the punk and reggae scene who inspired a generation through his groundbreaking music, films and fashions.

There will also be an exciting season of events in conjunction with the exhibition for visitors to exchange and enrich their knowledge and understanding of this important and culturally significant subculture, from film screenings to sartorial workshops. The events will pay respect to the heritage and importance of the past, but focus on the present and future Rudeboy.