Between 1965 and 1972, political activists around the globe prepared to mount a revolution. While the Vietnam War raged, calls for black power grew louder and liberation movements erupted everywhere from Berkeley, Detroit, and Newark, to Paris, Berlin, Ghana, and Peking.
Rock and soul music fueled the revolutionary movement with anthems and iconic imagery. Soon the musicians themselves, from John Lennon and Bob Dylan to James Brown and Fela Kuti, were being dragged into the fray. From Mick Jagger’s legendary appearance in Grosvenor Square standing on the sidelines and snapping pictures, to the infamous incident during the Woodstock Festival when Pete Townshend kicked yippie Abbie Hoffman off the stage while he tried to make a speech about an imprisoned comrade.
The Sixties was also an important decade for fashion because it was the first time in history that clothing was geared toward the youth market. Previously, fashion houses designed for the mature and elite members of society; however, during the enormous social and political revolution that transpired in the mid-Sixties, the power of the teenage and young adult was too great to ignore. The music scene was the voice of this generation and heavily influenced the iconic fashions that were created during this decade.
“Why do you wear those outlandish clothes?” That was the provocative question asked of Bob Dylan during his 1966 Australian tour. “I look very normal where I live,” was his reply.
During the second half of the Sixties, the infamous Woodstock festival and artists like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin influenced the “Hippie” movement that originated in San Francisco, Calif. The prevalence of free love, recreational drugs and psychedelic music became apparent in fashion. Clothes for men and women became loose and relaxed, with brightly colored prints and patterns influenced by other cultures.