Monday, November 12, 2007
Normally subcultures in Australia are taken from other countries and just reproduced here. Sharps or sharpies are an Australian specific subculture, developed in Australian specific conditions.
Though influenced by the skinhead subculture, at face value they really look quite different. Their fashion while in some ways was similiar to Skinhead dress, in other ways it was not.
The most obvious point of difference, is the cardigan. Sharps wore cardigans. Possibly one of the few group of people that wore cardigans in any sort of aggressive tone, Sharps got cardigans especially made for them. They were made with certain colours, and patterns. They were generally made really tight so that when worn, they looked pretty macho/aggressive.
Sharps also had slightly longer hair, often short, back and sides. Sometimes possible with a tail, in effect....a mullet
Through our modern eyes, we may find someone wearing a cardigan as not particularly threatening, however Sharps were fairly violent.... in a similiar wat that English Skinheads.
They also had much of the subcultural aspects that you find in gang culture
Like skinheads, sharps wore clothes that extenuated their macho image, and made them look tough. Tight shirts, tight jeans. Sometimes the t-shirts would have the name of a particular gang on it. Sharps wore a particular type of leather shoe, which they could only buy from two show shops in the North of Melbourne. There were also only two shops that would sell their cardigans.
Sharps were biggest in Melbourne 1972 - 1977. Skinheads had evolved from "hard mods" in the late 1960's., a lot of Brits coming into England transferred aspects of the skinhead culture to Australia. Like skinheads, they fought each other and were picked upon by the police as obvious troublemakers.
All photo's copyright Larry Jenkins