Let’s start with the most basic question:
What (who) is a rudeboy/girl?
The term rudeboy (the shortened, familiar version is “rudie,’” “rudi” or “rudy”) originated in 1960’s Jamaican where is was used to describe the discontented, violent youths of the poorer neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica. The soundtrack that accompanied the street culture was Ska, a forerunner of Reggae.
Rudeboys are considered to be the first youth subculture of Jamaica. They wanted to live the big life and aspired to the finer things, so they dressed in fine suits, thin ties, sunglasses, and pork pie or Trilby hats. The fashion was almost of mirror image of American Jazz-Age musicians and gangsters. And like jazz musicians and gangsters, rudies weren’t shy about contesting the police.
About ten years later, England put its spin on rudeboy culture with a new musical genre called 2Tone, which was becoming popular thanks to bands like The Specials, The Selecter and Madness. 2Tone was a sort of Ska revival, and with the revival of Ska music came the revival of rudeboy fashion.
Both Ska music and rudie fashion redefined street culture of their respective countires and generations, inspiring fashion and music for years to come. Ska went on to permeate various musical genres — including punk rock, another musical and cultural movement that sprung from disaffected youths:
Rudeboy fashion has become a permanent staple of street fashion, encompassing a wide range of styles that boil down to a few common denominators: hats, suits and stylish shoes. The suit in particular has been given their own unique twist. Trousers are often cropped, flashy brooches may be used in place of pocket squares, and there is NO cookie-cutter fashion. The objective of the modern rudeboy fashion movement is to exalt individual style, and that is probably its best legacy yet.