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Youth Culture

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The post-war improvements in medical care, welfare, food and housing meant most young people were healthier than ever before.
New domestic labour-saving devices meant that parents were less inclined to require their children to help with chores in their spare time. There were many job opportunities to supplement their pocket money. Unskilled and semi-skilled labour was in demand with hourly rated increasing faster for young workers than those for adults.
Previously handed over their earnings, the rising affluence changed attitudes. Young wage-earners continued to live at home and enjoy life with no financial commitments. No longer had National Service after November 1960.
Middle-class youngsters stayed at school until 16 and increasing numbers continued their education at universities or in other further education institutions. Between 1961 and 1969, the number of students in full-time further education rose from 200,000 to 390,000
Mark Abrams' research showed Young people had around £830 million to spend. This amounted to £8 a week. Teenagers spend just under half their income on entertainment. They were responsible for 40% of the record and record player market. 1/3 of all bikes and motorbikes and 1/3 of all cosmetics.
A gap between the 1960s youth and their parents was marked by a development in their values and styles and ways of behaviour among young people.
The new youth culture was spread by the media. Newspapers included articles on pop music and teen fashions, published chart lists and interviewed "celebrities". New female magaziones included "Honey" (1960), "Jackie" and "Fabulous" (1964)
Money gave young people a greater degree of independence, and a means of asserting themselves and, in turn, a greater degree of confidence in challenging the world around them.
Teenage boys showed their rebellious tendencies by growing their hair rong (no National Service meant no need for a military crew cut), while girls horrified their mothers by wearing mini skirts.
Religious teachings and "unwritten" rules, such as sex before marriage was wrong, were being questioned. With earlier sexual maturation due to healthier living and better methods of contraception meant a more liberal sexual relations. Cannabis was popularied by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. According to a survey in 1969, young people spent more time listening to music that at youth clubs or rock festivals. Michel Schofield's study in 1965 found that most were still virgins at 19.
By 1967, 50% of women's clothes manufactured in Britain were sold to people in the 15-19 years age group. The fashion trends often began with celebrities, models and pop stars and new styles were disseminated at a speed previously unknown. By the mid-1960s 30,000 people were employed in the fashion industry and there was 2000 boutiques in London alone. Fashion of the 1960s was literally "up to the minute"; to be enjoyed then disposed of.
Traditional rules were abandoned. It became acceptable to wear the same outfit for work and for evening. Women might equally well appear in trousers, as a skirt. Changing fashions helped override some of the old social divisions, both between sexes and between classes.
The first generation of 1960s fashion, led by Quant, created the "minimalist" look - clothes that were childlike and easy to wear, yet daring, rebellious and provocative. Modelled by Twiggy with pale faces, big staring eyes, suggesting childish innocence.
Fashion and science were entwined with the use of white plastic for boots and brightly coloured PVC for raincoats and skirts. Strong geometric shaped were popular, and this included the Mary Quant "bob".
The second wave of designers included John Bates, Ossie Clark of Quaorum, Barbra Hulanicki of Biba and Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin who founded a studio on Carnaby Street. They created bright, fun dresses, skirts and tops, and were among the first to experiment with making women's trousers into flattering, sexy garments.
John Stephen was the "King of Carnaby Street". He designed cheap but flamboyant clothes for men, and was famous for his cravats, tight red corduroy trousers and fitted black shirts.