why is fashion so fascinated with teenage boys?

The fashionable cast and crew of Lou Stoppard’s exhibition Mad About The Boy, opening today, fill us in on the styles and sounds of their teenage years.

by Charlotte Gush
11 January 2016, 10:52am

Lead-Foto: Gosha Rubchinskiy, Youth Hotel

Mad About the Boy, an exhibition focusing on fashion's obsession with teenage boys, launched last night at Fashion Space Gallery with a recreation of Meadham Kirchhoff's spring/summer 13 menswear show: beautiful, grungy boys lounging about in their messy bedroom wearing a mix of sportswear, chiffons and florals.

As the show opens to the public this morning, i-D caught up with featured designers Christopher Shannon and Sibling, exhibition maker Tony Hornecker, photographer Jason Evans and curator Lou Stoppard to get the inside story on the sounds and styles of their teenage years.

Describe your style as a teenage boy?
Christopher Shannon: I was quite faddy, going through sportswear then a bit checked shirts and DMs, then I started going to clubs so anything ridiculous. I'd come to London when I was 14 to go to GAP and H&M and a store called Flip. It was hard to track down stuff in Liverpool, and I steal my brothers clothes too.

I think I'm 15 here so mid 90s, maybe 95. I can't remember, I was probably stoned. I'm in my older brothers room which I'd invade at every opportunity if he was out so we had access to his decks as we were too young to get into clubs. Everyone older was going to Cream note the poster. I'm wearing Puma classic suedes which I was very into for a time, black jeans and a T-shirt I got a magazine launch, probably the first magazine launch I went to, not actually sure I've been to one since. Some black jeans, cant remember where from oddly.
Sibling Cozette: Funnily enough my style is often described as this now! It's not changed much since I was a teen: check shirt unbuttoned way to low (for a girl), black Lee jeans, black with white toes Converse high tops, brother's football socks, ever changing hair colour erring to pastel pink or crimson via blue. Sometimes crew cut. Safety pin and Mickey Mouse earring.
Tony Hornecker: I had an older sister, so would go clubbing with her from a young age, to acid house clubs. We'd come up to Camden shopping on Sundays. Early teens it was all the boy band Bros and denim with American flag patches, Brown Brogues. Later I was pure rave, my curly locks waxed back into a slipknot that would slowly disengage as the night wore on. Bucket Hat, Harry Potter Sunglasses, Kicker Boots, flares and oversized De la Soul T-Shirts. Acieeedd!!

This picture was taken on my first ever Pride march in London. I was 17, hadn't slept with excitement. It was 1991, the world was was my oyster and bright and very pink. I was wearing pale orange 501 Jeans, Nike Trainers, an Emerald Green T-shirt and black Ray Bans.
Jason Evans: Experimenting.
Lou Stoppard: Well, I'm a girl! If I saw by 17 year old self now, I'd probably call her a hipster. I was deeply into terrible indie music and wore a lot of babydoll dresses. I also went through an Edie Sedgwick phase and had a very very very short pixie crop. I used to wear massive earrings and fancy boys that looked like Carl Barat. It was tragic.

Who were your teenage fashion icons?
Christopher Shannon: Mine was probably Bjork, the boys weren't dressing up a lot in the mid 90s apart from Britpop which I always thought was a bit shit. Bjork was wearing Comme Des Garcons and Margiela. I think Judy Blame in a odd way was my teen fashion icon as it was his images that made the most sense to me, him and Mondino and all the videos and music imagery they made. Liverpool was quite Westwood/Armani/Versace and I liked rougher things. I liked labels like Felix Blow and 6876 which were the start of modern sportswear crossover I suppose, they were way out of my teenage budget though.
Tony Hornecker: James Dean I guess as the ultimate. Which would tie-in with my Bros fascination. I loved all that 50's white tie T's and jeans. My Dad was in the US Airforce, so we used to get to shop on the base. In suburban England I was always the envy with Nike's and Levi's that you couldn't get over here, or were beyond most people's reach. So yeah, 50's American teen all the way.
Jason Evans: Other boys.

Photographie Patrick Robyn. Walter Van Beirendonck, Bad Baby Boys, automne/hiver 1986

What was the soundtrack to your teenage years?

Sibling Sid: Transvision Vamp - I Don't Care. Simply Red - (too busy laughing at himself to list one). Prefab Sprout - King Of Rock n Roll. Suzanne Vega - Luka.
Christopher Shannon: Oh I went through everything I was very into music much more than fashion, it's a seven year period isn't it so quite hard to surmise.
Tony Hornecker: I was and never have been much of a music follower. Friends will tell you about my 3 CD's, one of which remains from my teen years, Tracy Chapman. Still on repeat now. That and rave music of the time, which lead onto Indie, The Stone Roses, Candy Flip etc.
Jason Evans: John Peel.
Lou Stoppard: Bloc Party - The Prayer. Plain White Ts - Hey There Delilah. Anything by Babyshambles.

What is so fascinating about teenage boys in a fashion context?
Tony Hornecker: 
Teenage boys are pretty. Let's face it! And it's fleeting, with the teenage boys unaware of the moment but those whose hour has passed often bitterly envious. Plus there is a constant fresh supply. New faces each year. The girls hang on longer. Working on this was interesting, looking back at all these boys that came and went. They are often like muses to designers. Whole collections can revolve around a particular boy one season. We've all succumbed to one or two of their charms all along the way!

Mad About The Boy is free and open to the public at the Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion 8 January -- 2 April 2016.

Photographie Alasdair McLellan The Perfect Kiss (12 Inch Version)


Text Charlotte Gush
Lead image Gosha Rubchinskiy, Youth Hotel

Christopher Shannon
Jason Evans
fashion interviews
Lou Stoppard
Mad About The Boy
lcf fashion space