I've posted about the movement of Teddy Girls in my old blog several years ago, but I thought it would be interesting to repost it here for those who never read my old blog. The post was made a while ago anyway, and its always neat to revisit old interests. The website I got all this info from has since disappeared, so I have no place to point you to for further information or for footnotes. Here is the post as it appeared in my old blog, minus the links to the dead website:
A sub culture rose in the post-war. These newly deemed "teenagers" knew nothing but war and famine and craved for a simpler time. This desire reflected in an Edwardian-style fashion which was popular with working class boys in south London by 1953. Although this fashion also spread to the girls, not many photos were taken of Teddy Girls as they were considered less interesting than the boys.
Some features of the Ted style were suits featuring long jackets with velvet collars and narrow trousers, shoe-string ties or elaborate bow-ties and hair set in a high pompadour. Teddy Girls were rarely seen without and umbrella which was rumored they never open even in pouring rain.
In 1955 Ken Russell was introduced to a Teddy Girl, Josie Buchan, she in turn introduced Russell to some of her friends. Russell photographed them, and also photographed another group of Teddy Girls near his home in Notting Hill. In June 1955 the photos were published in Picture Post magazine.
There was already a public notion of the Teddy Girls being dumb, illiterate & passive, but Russell's photo essay of them smashed this thought. Russell said of Teddy Girls "They were great. They were quite flattered to do the shoot, but they weren't a pushover. They were proud, they knew their worth. They just wore what they wore, and I thought up these little scenes."
As taken directly from the essay:
"These photos were taken in January 1955 in Walthamstow, Poplar and North Kensington: solidly working class areas of London. The girls photographed embody three of the great issues of the time; class, gender and youth. They are rejecting the drab costumes of class conformity and post-war austerity. They are pioneers for women looking beyond home for a place to be valued. They are young girls blazing a trail that will be followed by youth cultures for decades to come. But somehow Teddy Girls as a group remain historically almost invisible."