A nostalgic music and fashion exhibition is coming to London….
Super Sharp explores the appropriation of luxury Italian designer brands in the underground music scenes of Jungle and UK Garage. Versace, Moschino, Iceberg and D&G are examples of labels that ruled the dance floor in the nineties. Moschino, in particular, became synonymous with the look associated with that era. This exhibition draws from an extensive Moschino archive amassed by DJ and producer Saul Milton, which also forms the core of RTRN II JUNGLE.
The exhibition traces the emergence of the Jungle and UK Garage music scenes and the shift in club culture and style it initiated. Jungle – a form of electronic dance music derived from old school hardcore and heavily influenced by American hip hop and Jamaican sound-system culture – was born out of the Bristol and London underground rave scenes in the early 1990s. Developed through pirate radio it directed its audience to licenced raves in and around London. This club venue environment inspired a new raving style – integrating the colourful look of rave culture with urban combat gear and flashy designer labels.
UK Garage emerged in the mid-90s in South London with hype around the genre reaching its height between 1998-2000. With its roots in the original Garage sound which began in 1980s New York it often incorporated soulful R&B-inflected vocals combined with a distinctive 4×4 percussion rhythm and heavy sub-bass. It brought with it stricter door policies, refusing entry to clubbers wearing caps and trainers. The sound attracted more females, which in turn changed the attitudes within the club. Dancing and posing became even more about flaunting affluence; it was more restricted, classier and sexier.
The title Super Sharp embodies this attitude to dressing, visible in black culture before the emergence of these iconic UK subcultures. It also draws reference from the 1996 DJ Zinc track of the same title.