Friday, March 1, 2024

“Return of the Rudeboy” Exhibition Showcases Rudie Style at Somerset House

Until 25th August, London’s Somerset House presents Return of the Rudeboy – an exhibition curated by music and fashion’s favourites, Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott, which delves into ‘Rudeboy’ culture by way of portraits, installations and set pieces.

60 memorably-dressed individuals from the UK – each chosen for their sartorial abilities in representing the essence of the Rudeboy, or “Rudie” as they are also known – were photographed for the exhibition, which works to document the style and attitude of the urban group, oft mistaken for youths in hoodies, kicks and track pants, fond of mobile phones and street-lingering. Said streets in this exhibition’s case, are Shoreditch or Savile Row, where many of the unique images of true Rudeboys – a group originating from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1950s – were captured.


But it’s not all image-based – there’s sights and sounds to behold, with visitors exposed to each showcased Rudeboy’s personal ‘signature’ playlist, as well as tracks chosen by the curators, with an aim of completing the trip into Rudie culture with a soundtrack that embodies its spirit.

British producer Rashad Smith (who has worked Hiphop greats like The Notorious B.I.G, Busta Rhymes and Nas), the Art Comes First creative collective (which was founded by top tailors Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh), the founding member of Big Audio Dynamite, and Grammy award-winning filmmaker and international DJ Don Letts (who is also punk and reggae scene-legend), have all been enlisted for input too, making this a truly great experience for anyone interested in what it is to be a Rudie.

f1726c38-2f60-4847-bf39-cb3c4b87e787And there’s more: Thursdays and Saturdays will host a pop-up ‘grooming station’ where guests can book hair cut or beard trim with a top Rudie barber, and there’s real live fashion to gawp at, too, with artisan box maker Kitty Farrow and luggage genius Alstermo in the mix to provide bespoke briefcases, hat boxes and luggage sets that reflect Rudeboy members’ special consideration of detail in their dressing.

And still, more reasons to head down to Somerset House for this pivotal and free exhibition: there will be film screenings and sartorial workshops, as well as photographs, set pieces, posters, postcards and a selection of Rudeboy inspired books to buy.


The exhibition is open daily (10am till 6pm – last entry at 5.30pm), free to attend and held at Terrace Rooms, South Wing, in Somerset House (WC2R 1LA).

Come well-dressed (or as you are but with the expectation to leave thinking about your style) and ready to submerge yourself in the world of the ‘Rudie.’

The tailor Sam Lambert shows off his rude boy style.


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