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The Mods are here. 

Vespa Lifestyle, explained ii.

I must admit that I am not myself all that familiar with this particular subculture, but I find the history and images within this scene fascinating. This is another rather important facet to the vespa lifestyle, especially if you were born and raised in England. Proper respect must be paid to this particular happening within the larger vespa community and so it shall be. There is a slideshow at the bottom with tons of photos celebrating the Mod Lifestyle, via Vepsa.

The Vespa Lifestyle, via The Mods:

From www.squidoo.com/mod-subculture:

What are The Mods? Mod (from Modernist) is a subculture originated in london, england around late 1950′s and peaked in early-to-mid 1960′s. 

Significant element of the mod include : Fashion (usually taylor-made suits), Pop music (African-American Soul, Jamaican Ska, British Beat Music and R&B), and especially Italian Motor Scooters.

The History of the Mod: Mod is one of the social subculture that originated from London, England in the late 1950s. The term mod derives from modernist / modern. In the 1950s, the term Mod used to describe modern jazz musicians and fans (because of modern jazz is a mainstream music at 1950s).

The Subculture grew in a difficult economic condition, but The Mods still need to maintain their perfection of personal style and fashion. The youths of the early 1960s were one of the first generations that did not have to contribute their money from after-school jobs to the family finances. As mod teens and young adults began using their disposable income to buy stylish clothes. Sometimes people call them “fashion-obsessed and hedonistic cult of the hyper-cool” or “swinging London”.

Many Mods used a scooters for transportation, usually Vespas or Lambrettas. Scooters had provided inexpensive transportation for decades before the development of the mod subculture, but the mods stood out in the way that they treated the vehicle as a fashion accessory.

They are obsessed with fashion, pop music, including African American soul, Jamaican ska, and British beat music and R&B, and Italian Motor Scooters.

Mod itself is also experiencing changes in the era of metamorphosis, from the “Modernists” (late 50s) to be “Mods” (60s) to “Mod Revivalists” (70s) and the last “New Mods” (late 80s to the 90s).”

From http://auto.howstuffworks.com/vespa3.htm (Great little wrap-up of vespa history here!):

“Vespa hit the British market at the perfect time. Rapidly changing, fad-driven youth culture took up scooters as status symbols, incorporating them into the Mod movement, a subculture that favored modern fashions and a select group of rhythm & blues and British rock bands like the Kinks, the Who and the Small Faces. The scooters were easier to obtain by teenagers than cars, and allowed them to get home from concerts and clubs after public transportation had stopped running for the night. Mods liked to customize their Vespas with elaborate chrome frames, footrests and extra rearview mirrors – sometimes dozens of them [Source: Vespa Classics].

While the Mod craze was burning itself out by the mid-60s, it began moving into the mainstream (as youth culture tends to do). British TV and movie stars latched onto the “hip” Mod image, and soon could be seen riding Vespas on screen and off, in advertisements for the latest model and promoting Vespa contests. This popularity soon moved to American celebrities – stars like Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn were pictured on Vespas (Brockway, 25). Once Vespas were associated with celebrities, their popularity spread worldwide.”

From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa:

“Vespa’s largest market by all measures globally is still Italy, but as a result of the modsubculture that developed in the 1960s, the United Kingdom is still Vespa’s second largest global market—and at one point in the 1960s, its largest. The appeal of the Vespa to the style-conscious mods was the weather protection. Their counterparts, the rockers rode classic British motorcycles such as Triumph Bonneville and BSAs, and needed to wear leathers against the elements. Mods would modify their Vespas, adding lights, mascots, accessories, various racks and crash bars. A new lifestyle evolved in the UK, with thousands attending scooter rallies.”

If you are yet still interested in more info about the history and evolution of the Mod Subculture, click this link for an excellent and thorough summation of the subculture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For Part i, click here: Vespa Lifestyle, Explained i

Mod on, folks. Cheers. 

UPDATE: A nod to the film Quadrophenia and The Who. If you don’t know about either of those, and their role in the history of Mods and Vespa, update yourself! Good music awaits you.

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11 responses to “The Mods are Here: A Vespa Subculture and Lifestyle.

  1. “We are the mods, we are the mods, we are, we are, we are the mods!” The defining line from The Who’s “Quadrophenia” – the all-time best rock opera ever! Great choice for vespas! Loved the mirrors and chrome all over their scooters… soundtrack was the best album ever put out too!

  2. PS – how could you write about mods and not mention The Who?

    • I did post images with Tho Who’s logo here and made a reference to them in the slideshow photos, but you are right: I should have added a bit more maybe. I know about Tho Who because I dig good music… but “good music” now doesn’t know anything about The Who today. (and I am not really that much of an Old, either.) Maybe I’ll update and add a bit more about the band, since you are right and there should be more of a salute/nod to them. (But I kind of thought it would be something known.) Props to The Who.

  3. kaori

    I just started reading Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” and it features a Mod character who is completely obsessed with his Vespa. I wasn’t familiar with Mods so your entry came at a perfect time to help me visualize the character :)

    • Awesome and yay!! I don’t know that much about this particular side of the vespa, community, but they sure know how to bring it! = ) Glad the info was useful.

  4. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website
    is magnificent, let alone the content!

  5. Love this blog! Don’t forget that you can consult your very own mod friend for more information on this subject! Lol! Xx

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