The latest exhibition to hit Somerset House was perfectly timed to coincide with the opening of London Collections: Men, with a contagious buzz already building the capital’s reputation as a global hub for menswear.
Return of the Rudeboy explores the cultural heritage of the “Rudeboy phenomenon”, born in Jamaica in the late 50’s and ceremoniously revived throughout the decades. This exhibition focuses on the Rudeboys, and indeed the Rudegirls, of London – each photographed by Dean Chalkley between 2013 and 2014.
Chalkley’s photographs bring to light the indefinable and aggressively individualistic style of the Rudeboy culture, but at the same time documents the highly recognisable attitudes and sartorial influences that have inspired each of the photographer’s subjects.
So where did Chalkley’s interest in the Rudeboy come from? His fascination was born in the 80’s, amidst the mods and skins, where the rich heritage of the Rudeboy culture and attitude was truly pronounced. His captivation was with the whole culture and its roots, not just the way they dress but the way they style their hair, the way they dance – their whole spirit.
“Rudeboy is an attitude – once you have that attitude, everything you do, say or wear is rudeboy!” – Kevin marc
The exhibition attempts to bring some of that culture to London’s Embankment, which it does so by first introducing you to each of the model’s distinct personalities before delving into the barber shop custom and music that supports the Rudeboy society. You’re skillfully given an overall but personal look at a culture that has come such a long way from it’s roots to uphold it’s distinct individuality and continual regeneration in London.
The exhibition runs until 25th August. Read more, here.