Top 20 mod labels for the 21st century

by Modculture 4 July, 2019

Top 20 mod labels for the 21st century

Top 20 mod labels for the 21st century

It isn’t the 1960s, time has moved on and so have clothing labels. With that in mind, here are 20 mod labels for the 21st century.

That’s probably stating the obvious. You can’t just pop down to see John Stephen for the latest shirt or trousers today. But you can take advantage of the internet, as many new labels have done. Small artisan makers were once hidden away, selling only to a local market. But these days you can be small and sell big. Open an online store and you sell to the world.

Add in some of the big names who have been around for years and you have quite a vibrant clothing scene. Not all the big names still cut it (you might notice a few obvious absentees from this list), but some labels are still producing clothing with one eye on the heritage.

Which ones? Read down the list and see for yourself. There’s no particular order to the list, but everyone who is on it is worthy of your time, whether you want men’s clothing or a stylish women’s range.

One final point. You really don’t need to limit yourself to certain labels. Mod is about individual style and picking out interesting pieces from a wide range of labels will help you stand out from the crowd. Items as varied as the 1960s Mates Carmel trainers, the Maison Kitsune windbreaker, the women’s knitted t-shirts at Boden and the Topshop suede loafers have all been popular over the past months and other items will soon come and go too. Just keep your eyes and your mind open.

But do have a look through this rundown too for inspiration…

1. DNA Groove

1. DNA Groove

1. DNA Groove

DNA Groove has been around in some for or other since the 1980s. But it became more widely known as a retailer thanks to the growth of the internet.

That helped the Italian clothing store run by Claudio De Rossi spread its wings and sell worldwide, bringing to us some bold and unique mod clothing that was a million miles away from what was traditionally being pitched to mods in retail stores. The range constantly changes and isn’t just mod range anymore – clothing and footwear takes inspiration from different eras of the 20th century. But this is still a ‘go to’ shop for top-end mod clothing, including suits, shirts, knitwear and footwear, produced by skilled craftsmen in limited numbers. A template for some makers who have followed since. You can read an interview I did with Claudio here.

DNA Groove website

2. Connection Knitwear and Clothing

2. Connection Knitwear and Clothing

2. Connection Knitwear and Clothing

A more recent name, but working along similar lines to DNA Groove, is the wonderful Connection Knitwear and Clothing.

The work of Daniele Savare, Connection produces limited runs of designs with mod appeal and made by skilled craftsmen, but departing a little more the traditional. Yes, there is knitwear, but just a little different from the usual offerings. Jackets too, some based on 1960s originals, others inspired by clothing of that era. The scooter smocks are well worth checking out if you get out and about on two wheels. Not cheap, but a lot of work goes into each item and the end product is a cut above.

Connection Knitwear and Clothing

See my interview with Daniel Savare of Connection here.

3. Capirari

3. Capirari

3. Capirari

Another fairly recent Italian label and one that has had a lot of press of late thanks to Paul Weller.

That was because Weller wore the label’s Tahiti short-sleeve henley collar shirt, which isn’t actually typical of Lorenzo Salvatori’s label. The big draw here are some superb button-down shirts,m as well as spear point shirts, pin-collar shirts and tab-collar shirts. Knitwear and denim too, all with Italian modernist style. Not cheap, but well worth investigating.

Capirari website

4. Fred Perry

4. Fred Perry

4. Fred Perry

There isn’t a lot to day about Fred Perry that hasn’t been said before. A British and modernist institution and a shoe-in for the mod labels for the 21st century rundown.

Where Fred Perry has gone right and others have gone wrong is ensuring a quality range of clothing has been maintained over the years. Yes, there have been some downmarket ranges over the years too, but the premium range, especially the Reissues range, has kept an ever-changing archive of classics readily available. As long as mod carries on, the Fred Perry polo shirt will be one of its calling cards. Although other parts of the range are likely to be more appealing and eye-catching for the discerning mod.

Fred Perry website

Note that you can get some better deals on Fred Perry at End Clothing when the sales are on.

5. Baracuta

5. Baracuta

5. Baracuta

Another institution, albeit one that has changed ownership many times over the years.

Originally based in the north of England, Baracuta is best known for another of those mod staples, the G9 Harrington Jacket, a timeless jacket with appeal over the mod and ivy league scenes. They do other jackets, as well as knitwear and accessories, but at the end of the day Baracuta is all about the G9. They did it first and do it best, even if the price is on the high side these days.

Baracuta website

Note that you can get archive fit G9 harrington jackets at the Stuarts of London website.



6. Dr Watson Shoemaker

6. Dr Watson Shoemaker

6. Dr Watson Shoemaker

Yet another example of a mod start-up business, this time in the business of mod shoes.

You would struggle to find better ones out there too. Yes, you might be happy with a pair of desert boots or a pair of Adidas Originals. But if you want 1960s authenticity on your feet, you need to know about Dr Watson Shoemaker.

I have done an interview with Ivan, the man behind the label, if you want to know more. But to cut a long story short, he makes handmade shoes with high-end materials based on original styles from the 1960s. Limited editions and each one a winner. If you need shoes, have a look.

Dr Watson Shoemaker at Etsy website

7. John Smedley

7. John Smedley

7. John Smedley

Back with an institution and one of the finest makers of classic knitwear out there.

The factory was established back in 1784, making it the oldest manufacturing factory in the world, picking up the royal seal of approval along the way. The range changes, but the short and long-sleeve buttoned polo shirts are always present and to use that phrase again, are ‘mod classics’. Quality in terms of production and construction, so not cheap at full price. But there is an outlet store selling them at much more affordable price.

John Smedley website

John Smedley Outlet Store

8. Adam of London

8. Adam of London

8. Adam of London

A longstanding maker and retailer, but one that tends to go under the radar a little.

Shener Adam was making clothes for the likes of Lord John, Take 6 and John Stephen back in the day and started the Adam of London label in 1976. It’s niche is offering ‘ready to wear’ mod suits at a reasonable price. Not always an easy find. You’ll also find plenty of shirts too, as well as coats, trousers, jackets and accessories, all with a strong mod influence. Head into the shop if you can or do the next best thing and check them out online.

Adam of London website

9. John Simons

9. John Simons

9. John Simons

From one longstanding London retailer to another. In fact, John Simons is the godfather of modern-day menswear.

Of course, the main thrust of the store and the man behind it is the ivy league look. But mods have been visiting John Simons in his various store for decades and for good reason. The ivy league look has crossed over and influenced the mod scene from its earliest years. Much of the stock in John Simons is perfect for the smart mod, especially with the launch of own-brand clothing, which keeps a constant stock of staples at reasonable prices. Harringtons, button-downs, loafers and much more. Everyone needs to set foot in John Simons once, if not regularly. It’s an institution.

John Simons website

10. Love Her Madly

10. Love Her Madly

10. Love Her Madly

Despite what you might think at times, mod isn’t a male-only domain. There are plenty of makers and retailers who cater for the women’s market too, including Love Her Madly.

Love Her Madly is a women’s clothing boutique inspired by the modernist movement of the 1960s. The range of dresses is all handmade by owner Melanie and available to buy online, If you want anything tweaking, you can order an exact fit for just £10 extra. A wide range of sizes, with prices around £50. Even cheaper when the sale comes around. If you want to know more, I did an interview with Melanie, which you can read here.

Love Her Madly website



11. Magliamo

11. Magliamo

11. Magliamo

Cycling gear is always popular and in recent years, labels have appeared dedicated to it (there’s a section for it on His Knibs). None better than Magliamo.

The work of Diederik Degryse, the label focuses on classic cycling clothing, but with one eye on the non-cyclist too. Yes, you can wear the clothing on a bike, but items like the wool track tops are great for everyday wear too. Paul Weller is a fan and has been photographed in a vary of designs from the label. New designs are constantly appearing, so worth keeping an eye on. Again, there is an interview with the man behind the label here.

Magliamo website

12. Dada Dress

12. Dada Dress

12. Dada Dress

Long before Love Her Madly came along there was Dada Dress, which is still making amazing clothing.

Jessika Madison-Kennedy, who was on the mod scene for many years, is the woman behind the label. That mod past reflects in the clothing available from the label, with the vast majority inspired by the mid-1960s. Very well made and available made to measure for the same price. But these are far more costly than Love Her Madly.

Dada Dress website

13. Art Gallery Clothing

13. Art Gallery Clothing

13. Art Gallery Clothing

Art Gallery Clothing has been going now for quite a number of years, establishing a reputation as a ‘go to’ place for well-priced, 1960s-style shirts, knitwear and accessories.

For good reason. The styles change and evolve constantly from season to season, but always take inspiration from original designs from the mod and ‘60s era, updated just a little for the 21st century. Accessories too, but sadly no longer the holdalls, which were always popular. Hopefully, they’ll return soon. In the meantime, check out the clothing and accessories – one of the best ranges out there.

Art Gallery Clothing website

Art Gallery Clothing Outlet at eBay

14. May 68

14. May 68

14. May 68

May 68 doesn’t pitch itself as a ‘mod’ label. But a lot of mods appreciate the clothing they do.

This is women’s clothing with an ‘imaginative laud to the past’, creating smart, well-made clothing and often with upcycled materials. All designs are in small runs and the range constantly changes and evolves. Basically, once a design is gone it is gone for good. Always worth checking out for the tops and dresses if you want something a little different and a little less ‘swinging London’.

May 68 website

15. Jump The Gun

15. Jump The Gun

15. Jump The Gun

The mod labels for the 21st century listing really wouldn’t be complete without another mod institution, Brighton’s Jump The Gun. No ambiguity here. This is all about 1960s-style mod clothing and has been for over 20 years.

Some external labels stocked, but the vast majority of clothing on the Jump The Gun racks (and online) is affordable clothing produced in-house. That’s everything from coats, suits, formal shirts and footwear through to knitwear, casual jackets and accessories. The choice is huge and if you are looking for something unashamedly mod in look, this is a place to go.

Jump The Gun website



16. Carnaby Streak

16. Carnaby Streak

16. Carnaby Streak

If I am featuring Love Her Madly, it makes sense to feature Carnaby Streak too. Both are pitching to the same market.

Mod-style dresses, available in sizes 6 to 18, but also in custom sizes too. The styles are all designed and made in-house by Angela Williams and have been since around 2002. The difference is in those styles, which are unique to the Carnaby Streak label and as such, worth checking out alongside Love Her Madly to see which ones work for you. Like many of the labels featured here, ranges also change on a seasonal basis.

Carnaby Streak website

17. Anglozine

17. Anglozine

17. Anglozine

A new label that only appeared on the scene in the last 12 months or so, Anglozine would probably describe itself as mod-influenced rather than being a mod label.

The work of Reuben Billingham, who some of you will know from Fred Perry and the mod scene, this is a range of clothing taking inspiration from both the mid-20th century and some of the more hip designs of the mid-1980s. Jackets, shirts, knitwear, even books and accessories too. This is a label to keep an eye on.

Anglozine London website

18. Dorian boutique

18. Dorian boutique

18. Dorian boutique

Another new arrival. In fact it only came onto my radar a few weeks ago.

After starting what was a 1960s-focused store in Paris, Archibald Mark moved to Montreal and opened the Dorian Boutique, which is described as a ‘space dedicated to the golden age of European chic’. A recent development is an in-house range for women, which is an absolute joy, tasking inspiration from the mod era and the French nouvelle vague. If that first range is anything to go by, Dorian Boutique could be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

Dorian Boutique website

19. Mendoza

19. Mendoza

19. Mendoza

More at the ‘swinging London’ or ‘dandy’ end of the market, but Mendoza do produce some beautiful clothing.

A lot of the range is very much a mid-to-late 1960s thing, but not exclusively so. Check out the rude boy knitted cardigans for example or the 1960s-style trousers, the tab-collar shirts, the t-shirts and the casual jackets. If you want something a little more bold and a little less common, Mendoza is well worth a browse.

Mendoza website

20. Modet

20. Modet

20. Modet

With a name like Modet you know where the inspiration is coming from.

Modest is a Spanish label and the work of Maria Isaac, who has created a range of clothing inspired by there 1960s and early 1970s. Maria designs the clothing, then oversees everything being made by hand using carefully selected fabrics. Quality is a selling point of course, but so are those designs, which hint at the 1960s, but without being rehashes of the era. These are originals, designed to stand out from the crowd. In light of the work undertaken on the clothing, well priced too.

Modet website



Best of the rest…

Something missing? A few big names perhaps don’t make the mod labels for the 21st century rundown, but really that’s because they don’t do a mod ‘range’ as such. So to tidy things up, here is a quite recap of some of those brands…

Clarks Originals
Desert boots of course. Much more too if you are feeling adventurous, but right now you will struggle to find better desert boots than at Clarks. Get them at the Clarks website or hunt for a bargain at the Clarks Online Outlet.

Adidas
Sports shoes will always be popular and Adidas and its heritage designs continues to be top of the tree, especially when it reissues something rare and timeless or drops another City Series shoe. Available everywhere, but always on the Adidas website.

Levi’s Vintage
A range that changes constantly. Sometimes all about the 1960s, other times avoiding it completely. One to keep an eye on season to season, especially in terms of knitwear. Of course, designs like the Type III trucker jacket are timeless classics. All on the Levi’s website.

Lee
See above really. Skip the fashion stuff and focus on its classic, especially the 101 range. Personally I love Lee’s denim and the denim and cord jackets that drop in and out of the range. Sales are a good time to buy here, so keep an eye on the Lee website.

Bass Weejuns
Classic and timeless loafers loved on both the mod and ivy league scenes. Well made, always stylish, but often expensive. There are sales on the GH Bass site, but these often appear on the TK Maxx website at heavily discounted prices.

Tootal
They do a lot of things, but at the end of the day they produce those scarves that have been worn for decades. There is a lot of competition on that front now and the Tootal scarves don’t come cheap. But they are still up there. See them at the Tootal website.

Uniqlo
Again, not a mod label, but a retailer than does classics at knockdown prices, throwing in some decent quality too. Button-downs, cord trucker jackets, Harringtons, polo shirts and more have all come and gone in recent months, so if you are on a budget, it’s worth regularly dropping by to visiting the Uniqlo website.

If you still think something is missing, please do get in touch with any suggestions or comment below. Happy to update the article/listing over time.

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