Renegade: A person who deserts a party or principle (Oxford English Dictionary)

Dress is the most visible form of personal consent or protest. Throughout history groups of people have actively rejected the prevailing fashion to announce their alternative lifestyle and politics.

Since the social changes of the 1950s, young people have increasingly used clothing as a means of rebellion. At first there were few alternative street styles, the most notable were Teddy Boys and Rockers. Now there are many, of which some are new, some are revival and some mix elements from more than one style.

Rockers at the Ace Cafe, London, 1999 (Photo: Angela Charles), CTIL000157
Rockers at the Ace Cafe, London, 1999
(Photo: Angela Charles), CTIL000157


What is the Renegade collection? 

Renegade is a collection of clothes worn by people belonging to a sub-cultural group who have lived in, or have a connection to Brighton.

Each outfit is a statement of self-expression chosen by one person, but at the same time can be clearly identified with a particular group. In total the collection has 16 complete outfits (as well as odd items such as shoes and bags) worn by:










The outfits are accompanied by a wealth of interviews, photographs and ephemera related to each group or subculture.


How did the Renegade collection start?

Label on seditionaries bondage trousers, CT003806
Label on seditionaries bondage trousers, CT003806

In 2000 Brighton Museum & Art Gallery decided to create a new collection of clothes that reflects the vibrant diversity of Brighton and tells us about its subcultures.

Appeals were made in the press asking local people and those visiting Brighton to contribute to this new collection.

We gained responses from Teddy Boys to Travellers. They told us their stories, showed us their clothes and got out their photographs. The result is a collection of outfits on display in the Fashion & Style gallery that spans over 50 years. Through clothes, oral histories, personal mementos and photographs we find out about the people behind the outfits.

Flyer handed out at the Ace Cafe, CTIL000100
Flyer handed out at the Ace Cafe, CTIL000100

Our long-term aim is to build up a more inclusive Costume and Textiles collection for future displays and study, exploring the clothing and culture of people frequently neglected by exhibitions of fashion.






What can these clothes tell us? 

The clothes and oral histories in the Renegade collection at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery challenge some of the myths and assumptions around subcultures.

When people contribute clothes to the Renegade collection they are interviewed about their outfits and lifestyles. We want to understand why the clothes are important to them, and what part their dress played in creating their identities.

Traveller's boots, CT003642
Traveller’s boots, CT003642

They were asked questions like:

Where did Teddy Boys go in Brighton and did they all have razor blades sewn into their collars?

How much is the way of life reflected in the clothing Travellers wear?

Were you in Brighton for the notorious May 1964 troubles? Was it really that bad?

Were all Skinheads racist and why did the police stop them wearing shoelaces in their boots?

Hat, CT004728
Hat, CT004728

Was going to football about causing trouble for the casuals?

Was going to football the place for showing off your new clothes?

Do you think Hip Hop has had an influence on mainstream or designer fashion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *