The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

NYT Fashion Pub: Skinhead Style is Back

By Casey Sanchez on September 21, 2007 - 8:29 am, Posted in Hate Groups, Racist Skinheads

The New York Times’ Sunday fashion insert doesn’t normally cross paths with Hatewatch. But a headline in the Sunday, Sept. 16, edition caught our attention:  “Skinheads are Moshing Their Way Into the Style Mainstream.”

According to the brief magazine article, big-name designers like Dior Homme and Heidi Slimane are bringing skinhead style back to the runway. For a movement now largely known for its racist violence, that’s quite a comeback.

Skinhead researcher and Portland [Ore.] State University professor Randy Blazak says that while he hasn’t seen a pair of Doc Martens boots in over three years, skinhead style as a mainstream fashion fad isn’t anything new. As a matter of fact, racist skinheads are often angered to see their style co-opted, whether by anti-racist skinheads or trend-seeking teenagers. “It undermines their message when that style is diffused to the mainstream,” said Blazak.

The Times also improbably claims — on the basis of what evidence it’s hard to say — that skinhead style has been not only appropriated, but defanged, by European gay men: “Skinheads went underground until gays, who have disarmed much of the movement’s racism, recently began dragging them out of the closet… .”

Blazak says while researching the skinhead movement in England in the 1980s, he accompanied a skinhead into a bar and found himself surrounded by guys with shaved domes, black boots and suspenders. But the pub wasn’t a hangout for racists or ultranationalists; it was a gay bar. Still, that doesn’t mean that gays had “disarmed” the movement’s racism. Says Blazak: “Just because there are gay skinheads doesn’t mean that racist skinheads are going away.”

  • Phil Lesbirel

    As a skinhead from a nipper, racism never was part of my life. Boneheads or Nazi NSP are not skinheads, they dont even wear the traditional skinhead gear. They are vicious idiots who use the skinhead brotherhood for their own agenda, which is hatred. WP again is the use of the movement for their own ends. A skinhead whether straight or gay are anti-racist. WP and Nazi or NSP are just louts looking for a fight. Get your facts straight before you lump guys with shaved heads into one big bag. Skinheads are skinheads, a lifestyle not a fashion or political statement.

  • Jordan Sharp

    Oi Oi Oi!!! I love the SPLC, I’m your friend on facebook and I always read your stuff, However you continue to have very dated and incorrect views and descriptions of the true skinhead scene which is 100% anti-racist, These boneheads are not representative of the culture especially as I am a skinhead and I’M NOT WHITE!!! I’m native american and pollack jew! There is no such thing as a racist skinhead these are simply neo-nazi douches who shave their head! Skinhead means soul reggae and ska, football (soccer) and beating up racist nazi bastards. PLEASE do some actual research on the subject before you keep bashing us, according to your description I would be a hardcore racist bonehead when I’m a quadracial rudeboy old school skinhead. Otherwise keep up the good work guys!

  • jasonsmith

    Its sad the way people make skinhead out to be now. hell even supposed skinheads. So as a skinhead id like to get this out. Skinhead itself is about the working class. Not fucking national socialism. national socialism is just a political standpoint taken on by many workers who stood against many workers falling to communism. Among a working class movement, your going to have many people taking sides of politics that support workers. Me, I have a strong belief in National Socialism. But my political views are seperate from being skinhead. To me, skinhead is about being a proud working class man, being the backbone of society. Nothing to do with politics. Just cuz someone is christian doesnt mean theyre fucking republican does it? no! so all you boneheads out there who totally fuck being a skinhead AND being a national socialist up for me, learn the difference between the two. Quit making me look bad you fuckin boneheads. Quit putting swastikas in my oi music. I am a national socialist but I dont want it to be my lifestyle. if anything skinhead is my scene to get away from politics and the ways of the world. Thats all i gotta say on that.

  • Phranc

    As a skin for almost 20 years it saddens me every time I read ignorant drivel like this. Either you don’t know what you write about or all those black, asian, latino and semetic skins all hate then selves. At least when I go to Mexico or Thailand or Malaysia I get respected for what I am and not reviled because some ignorant fool only knows what a biased media has spoon fed them. Blazak is a hack and I bet he never really researched anything. If he had his tune would be different. Ignorance can be cured with education, stupid lasts a life time.

  • johnny random

    here i go again…. JJ.. aside from the “skinhead for dummies” book you read,, your missing the major thing that divided skinheads to begin with… personal choice and the effects of homelife,, situation,, and politics… everyone site the dock worker , northern soul, ska based stuff.. all a major part in the scene,, however!.. life in england for the working class during the war in the faulklands(sp ,, im sorry) and general discord with the govt. IN the united kingdom played more of a part than your “skinhead history” books lead you to believe… bottom line is this,,,,, kids were pissed off,, they were indeed working class,, an most were fed up with politics and war… same as now,, same as it has been,, same as it is… war breeds racism, poverty breeds racism,, injustice breeds racism… and hard times breed skinheads.. personal choice breeds subculture,, and subculture breeds skinheads.

  • JJ

    If you believe anything that the media spews forth, you are a gullible fool. The Skinhead movement was born when Working Class English kids began to mix socially with West Indian (i.e. Jamaican) immigrants. This is hardly what one would expect from racists. That the neo-nazis and other fascist, extreme right-wing types hijacked the style is simply a very unfortunate fact of history. Traditional Skins embrace multi-ethnic working class nationalism, while rejecting racism and the extremes of both right and left politics. Anyone who claims otherwise, be they neo-nazis OR the Anti-Defamation League, are merely perpetuating media sterotypes and spreading falsehoods about a movement that they fail to understand truthfully.

  • vaughn

    i am once again saddened and disappointed by the ignorance and stupidity of the majority of the people in this the above comments state..true skinheads were not racist, true skinheads listened to traditional reggae and rock steady along with anti racist oi! do your homework people..these stylists are bringing back the ben sherman fred perry look adopted by traditional non racist working class people! not the bonehead swazi sporting ignorant looking style the nazi’s took.. true skins have class.. spirit of 69! forever will live the true skins

  • Cuntley Crisco

    Yeah. I’ve seen skinheads all over the place. At rock concerts, in shopping malls–all over. It’s becoming cool and rebellious to be racist. It makes me feel hurt inside.

  • Traditional Oi Boi

    I’ts funny that you people see Racists and call them skinheads, or even racists that call themselfs racist, 98% of people that become skinheads thinking the cult is racists is because of lies and misinformation like this, maybe you should but your own site on your hatewatch list for creating a misinformed prejudice against skinheads. And to think people read this stuff and point fingers at what you call the badguys,now im going to get herrased for being a racist when im not.

  • Bill

    I am going to side with the last three comments. It seems the only thing these Boneheads have done, is further the ignorance of the original Skinhead ideal and lifestyle. Hatred and ignorance breed the same thing. Let’s do our part to remove the hatred and racist stigmas that accompany the Skinhead culture. Spirit of 69!

    Assume nothing; believe very little, and if need be, actually look into something before you speak of hatred and racism. I don’t look all that sexy with an ear-tag.

    Cheers! 3oi3 Denver

  • Laurie

    Actually the first Skins where Apolitical. They where working class dock workers in England.
    There are many different types of Skinheads(in fact we have a pretty good history on my site of Skin evolution).
    Guys think, we went through this in the 60’s when everyone wanted to dress like a hippie.
    Let them go on and put the clothes on.. Skin is a lifestyle not a fashion statement.
    Laurie..LOL wonder how many girls are going to shave their heads!

  • danny skinhead

    wow how stupid is that a nazi fashon hahaha skinhead aint about racism. i think before you publish bullcrap raed the history first. the first skinheads are anti racist. then stupid boneheads decided to dress like us. get your facts strait

  • Baron von Hund

    This is very ignorant of “Skinhead” culture. Firstly, the original “Skinhead” wasn’t racial in anyway shape or form. Currently around the world there are “Skinheads” that still aren’t racial – in fact, some are “anti-racist” – the S.H.A.R.P.S., etc

    Secondly, these fashion designers aren’t looking at bringing in a re-birth of Ayran Brotherhood styled fashion with swastikas and such in symbolism. They are looking at selling some doc martins, braces and possible getting the “bald” back in fashion to sell razors and head shavers.

    For a so-called “Hatewatch” site, you all sure do a good job of making the hate alive with such ridiculous conclusions as this. You would imply that if Celtic Cross jewelry became all the rage – it would be a epidemic of racism…instead of a re-birth of interest in Celtic Paganism…oh hum