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    Fashion in Motion: the Madchester Movement (1985-1996)

    Atkin, Susan (2023) Fashion in Motion: the Madchester Movement (1985-1996). Critical Studies in Men's Fashion. ISSN 2050-070X (In Press)

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    This article studies the effect and affect of clothing when moving (walking, posturing, dancing) during a seminal period of Manchester, England’s music scene from 1986 to 1996, known as Madchester. The research explores the links between the city’s music scene and local youth fashion at a time when there was a shift away from traditional notions of subcultures towards something more fluid and positions Madchester as a pivotal point where there was an egalitarian coming together of individuals and groups under the umbrella of what has become known as rave culture. The article investigates how Mancunian men participating in the Madchester scene made sartorial choices to enhance and respond to movement. Findings are based on oral evidence in the form of active interviews with Madchester-era key players, supported by analysis of contemporary images. The article centres on the identification of more than one look co-existing under the banner of Madchester, which were acquired to wear during leisure practices from hanging out to night clubbing. The research reveals that alongside the baggy, loose-fitting look Madchester was known for, there were also a tighter, more body conscious looks inspired by sportswear garments. The term fashion in motion has been established in this research to define the interaction of garment and wearer in movement, and its visual result. This takes place from two perspectives: from the outside through an observer’s perspective and from the inside as the experience of the wearer. These distinct looks were understood differently from inside the movement because experiences shared by participants depended on tacit understandings rather than purely visual judgements. The concept of fashion in motion is significant as it describes the interrelationship of garment and wearer in movement, and its connection with identity and belonging.

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