1883 Magazine

A kaleidoscope of colour, the work of Milton and Turk explores the brash and bold fashion choices donned by the Jungle and Garage ravers of the 1990s.

Super Sharp is a celebration of the music, style and culture which emerged from the Jungle and Garage scene. Both developing in the early 1990s as part of the growing UK rave environment, the eclectic genres were characterised by their use of electronic dance music intertwined with breakbeats, rolling rhythms and soulful vocals. This underground movement launched a stylistic appropriation of luxury Italian fashion brands, in which labels such as Moschino, Gucci and Versace became a colourful emblem of an extravagant lifestyle. The exhibition is a nostalgic cultural collection created by independent curator Tory Turk and Chase & Status’s Saul Milton. The chorus of voices accompanying the pieces sheds personal memories and experiences onto the collection, and explores the movement’s energetic drama and “sonic-swirling sexuality”.

1883 had a chat with the curators to discuss their artwork and influences. 


Why did you want to showcase this musical movement and create a physical space for the pieces to inhabit?

Tory Turk: In 2014 I curated an exhibition called ‘A Street style Journey’. I asked key influencers to style mannequins for particular subcultures. Saul styled the jungle mannequin. It was then that Saul told me about his now 1,500+ Moschino Collection, and that he’d love to discuss an exhibition that explored the jungle style further. So Saul’s passion for the music and style of the time was definitely the catalyst, we have been working on the exhibition concept ever since. It’s great that Saul has not only built such an impressive and important archive but that he can also guide the musical story that is so obviously integral to the jungle and garage style. My role is to make this story more accessible for a broader audience.

Saul Milton: The exhibition looks at the ties between street, style and culture appropriation of high-end Italian fashion in the 90’s and how, 20 years later - the youth are doing the same. Super Sharp is the satellite exhibition housing 16 doubles, it gives us an insight into what the clothes ‘meant’ and how important it was to look good when you went out; from the explosion of ‘Off Key Mosch’ to how specific footwear was so important.

How do you think this cultural movement inspired future ravers and the current underground music scene?

TT: Currently there is a huge surge of interest in the 90s. The jungle and garage scenes are subcultures that happened before the internet’s meteoric rise. Today, there is a special nostalgia for these pre-social media pockets in history. Millennials have been referencing the style for quite a few years now and it’s great to be able to put together an exhibition that explores the origins of jungle and garage style. 

Why do you think there’s been a revival of interest in the music and style of the time in contemporary culture?

SM: I think we’re in a very similar climate to the 90s - uncertainty, unrest and a feeling that change is in the air. In these times people always turn to music and fashion, and that’s usually when the most ground breaking subcultures of music are made. The kids today look back at the 90s and want to experienceit’ themselves and it’s great to see them put their own twist on it. They see the style and they make it their own.  Everything’s come back around.

Do you think any of your personal artistic projects have been inspired by the jungle and garage movement? Do you have any specific examples?

SM: In 2013 when we [Chase & Status] were writing our third album and I wanted to get back into a creative headspace, I think back to when I was just 18, decked out head to toe in Moschino. I dug out my old clothes, rekindled my love for the brand, and the next thing I knew I had 1,500 pieces of men’s and women’s Moschino. 2018 marks 15 years of Chase & Status and this is the year we return to our roots. The next instalment is the RTRN II JUNGLE exhibition which carries on where Super Sharp left off, and will delve deeper into the ties between street, style and culture. It will also house my entire 1,500 piece vintage Moschino collection...We also have DJ tours, documentaries and music being released all under the RTRN II JUNGLE banner. 

Do you think the dichotomy between masculine bravado and luxurious femininity created any divisions in the clubs?

TT: There is a section in the exhibition called ‘Bravado’. This section includes around 50 photographs taken by Tristan O’Neil in the mid to late 90s. The large display of club photos show the energy in the jungle rave – men and women dancing, posing and peacocking head-to-toe in designer garments. You can see from the photos that the jungle girls also had a bravado-esque attitude. The luxurious fabrics and loud prints that the men wore could definitely be considered as feminine. Ideas of classic femininity and masculinity were definitely disrupted in the jungle rave.

Jungle and garage are inherent to Black British culture. Do you think this aesthetic was appropriated by a wider white public interested in the look associated with the era?

TT: This flashy approach to style is absolutely interwoven into the history of Black British style. The look was associated with the subculture of these two genres, which was played out by urban youths in a club environment- both black and white. Today the look has been re-appropriated by a certain subset of British youth culture and is still a huge part of the history of British black style.

Why did these luxury fashion brands become so intertwined with this musical movement?

SM: I think it was multi-layered. Peacocking and showing your material worth by the designer label on your back was incredibly popular at the time.  Designer labels certainly weren’t the norm for the youth to wear so having Moschino or Versace for all to see was a big statement. The loud, brash colours and patterns were also very much in sync with the music & the vibe of it all.  If you wore certain designers then there was a large chance that you’d be at the rave with the other like-minded people. The labels became our uniform for all to see.

Super Sharp opens at London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery from 1st February – 21st April.

For more ino visit www.fashionspacegallery.com


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