My ex American army parka came from an army surplus shop in Carnaby Street, London. The parka was worn by Mods for a few reasons; it kept them warm on scooters and it was big enough to wear smaller jackets underneath. Such as an ex-US army bomber jacket, it kept your clothes clean like an overcoat, but most of all it symbolised that the person who wore it was a Mod and part of the fashionable culture that went hand in hand with the music and the clothes of the day.
Late 70’s and early 80’s Mods were commonly known as the 2nd Generation Mods because the original Mods were around from the early to late 60’s. The 60’s look was adopted by the 70’s Mod revival which included the stone pressed trousers, the red tag levis , the 2-tone suit , the Fred Perry T-Shirts, the Ben Sherman shirts and of course the fishtail parka. This was a very exciting and thrilling time of my life having a scooter, lots of mod friends and a cult which I felt part of.
We would regularly meet most nights Marymead Shops sit about and chat or go for a ride round the town or visit TimeBridge in Chells which used to hold a 60’s disco every Tuesday night. To be seen riding your scooter wearing your fishtail parka was the ultimate especially when there was seven or eight of you at one time riding together. Getting noticed and being looked at was what it was all about and being part of a Mod looking smart and fashionable was the whole idea. The crash helmet went with the scooter I sprayed it the same colour, painted my name on the side and this was all done to get noticed and looked at.
Mods decorated their parka’s to personalise it to make them look different form other Mods parkas. On the back of mine I painted Lambretta in white gloss paint and sewed corporal stripes on the arm and painted a huge spiders web over one of the pockets, also in white gloss paint. This I thought made me stand out from other Mods and made people notice me, which was the whole idea of me wearing the parka as a Mod. My fishtail parka was my number one piece of clothing for symbolising who and what I was.