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03-01-2005
  1
flaunt the imperfection
 
softgrey's Avatar
 
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Chav Culture
well...it's finally come across the pond...from the NY times...
chav's love burberry...

The Good, the Plaid and the Ugly
By ROB WALKER

Published: January 2, 2005

the "Chav" Hat

In Elizabethan England, there were sumptuary laws to prevent members of the rabble from dressing above their station. This was never really effective, but to understand how truly futile it is these days for the upper classes to try keeping the masses in their sartorial place, you need to know what a chav is. ''Chav'' -- the champion buzzword of 2004 in Britain, according to one language maven there -- refers to something between a subculture and a social class. Experts disagree about the slang term's origins, but the unofficial definition sounds rather condescending or even cruel: a clueless suburbanite with appalling taste and a tendency toward track suits and loud jewelry. Still, as with ''redneck'' in America, a term that is imposed as a marker of scorn can be embraced as a marker of pride; at the very least, a certain humor and irony lace many of the discussions about chavs on Web sites and in books like ''Chav! A User's Guide to Britain's New Ruling Class.''
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In any case, there's one aspect of chavness that almost every description mentions right away: Chavs love Burberry. The recognizable plaid pattern that Burberry, the venerable English luxury brand, used to tuck away as the discreet lining of its famous raincoats has long since broken free to serve as a status signifier. Presumably it is status that chavs are looking for when they snap up anything and everything emblazoned with the plaid. The most popular element of the chav uniform is the Burberry plaid cap.

Of course, when a huge and decidedly not upper-crust class embraces such a signifier, its meaning is completely altered. In Britain, business-school professors and marketing professionals have debated the tarnishing of Burberry exclusivity. ''The amusing thing and the entertaining thing for many people is that because chavs are new money, they're kind of faintly ridiculous, spending their money on tawdry baubles,'' observes Lucian James of the San Francisco branding agency Agenda Inc., which has consulted for various luxury brands. James, who is English, points to David Beckham and his wife, Victoria (the former Posh Spice), as the reigning monarchs of celebrity chavdom, although when bad-taste transculturalist Britney Spears bought a Burberry-style plaid bed for her dog, the British tabloid press took note.

Sounding thoroughly unamused, Stacey Cartwright, a Burberry executive, argues that this chav business is just a trivial tabloid story. The international brand continues to thrive in chav-free North America and Asia, she says. Responding to reports that Burberry discontinued one of its plaid caps in the U.K., she says that the ''small'' British market was slow anyway. ''The chav issue won't have helped, but it's on top of what was already quite a sluggish market,'' she says. Besides, she continues, ''the caps that the so-called chavs wear are actually counterfeit products; they're not our products.'' Burberry still offers, for example, a $200 cashmere plaid cap in Britain. ''That's out of the price range of most of these individuals,'' Cartwright says.

It certainly seems that chav gear is often counterfeit, as Burberry plaid is both distinct and easy to copy. It's the distinctness, actually, that helps make it such a ripe target for adoption by someone other than the classic swells that Burberry apparently prefers -- after all, in the United States, Burberry is one of many luxury brands popular among rap artists. All of which shows how fluid brand meaning has become since the days of sumptuary laws, and how it's ultimately consumers who decide what that meaning is.

Chavs are also reported to have a fondness for Gucci, Nokia phones and Stella Artois beer, among others. Oakley Thump sunglasses (with a built-in MP3 player) were recently named ''chaviest gadget'' at an alternative tech-awards ceremony. Interestingly, James, the branding consultant, suggests that in some ways chav culture has parallels to punk culture. ''It's the same kind of slightly disenfranchised suburban kids,'' he says, but this time, instead of building a subculture around, say, anger and intoxicants, they've built one around consumerism. ''In the same way in the 70's they would sort of do glue, now they're all just sitting at McDonald's wearing Burberry hats.'' In chav culture, then, Burberry may be -- to tweak the slogan that CBS Records used to sell the Clash, long ago -- the only brand that matters.
:p

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03-01-2005
  2
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this is actually a REAL person.....not a joke
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File Type: jpg chav..jpg (89.8 KB, 282 views)

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03-01-2005
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WAAAAAA you are gonna LOVE this
this is a prime example of people who cheapen high fashion labels
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03-01-2005
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could this be the real life VICKY POLLARD!
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03-01-2005
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Can anyone find that picture of English ex-soap junkie Daniella Westbrook in the "that" Burberry photo. I'm trying my hardest to find it with not a lot of luck. It truely terrible, she's clad head to to in Burberry Chav-check...and so is her baby...and the push chair...
What a classy lassy!

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03-01-2005
  6
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^ 'i didn't do nuffin so shuutuuup'

ah gotta love the 'chavs' where i'm from we call them charva's though, big hollow gold hoop earrings, berghaus coats (with waist pulled in), rockport boots with socks pulled up and tracky pants tucked in at the top, bad fringes (think: curling round a hairspray can) most are pregnant at the age of 15 (these are authentic chavs by the way, not chavy dressers like the beckhams), and they all like to ask
'ha' u got a lend of a tab?' (could i please have one of your cigarrettes kind stranger) and u say 'no, sorry dont smoke' to which they usually follow with slurs or 'dont f***in lie to me' (at this point u laugh in their face and skip off)

the boy charvas are fond of their fred perry/teddy smith stripey jumpers. If anyone knows who the boyband 'blazin squad' are, they pretty much define them. :p

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03-01-2005
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03-01-2005
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oooh yeah i remember that picture fashion puss (after much trying to block it from my memory)

http://www.chavscum.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=3116

the layout of this chavscum forum is v similar!!!

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03-01-2005
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Herd the lot into chav-camps if you ask me...but then who would be here for us to mock?

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03-01-2005
  10
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Stella Artois? They must be joking. Stella Artois is practically bourgeois. White Lightning is a real charva drink. Whoever wrote that article has obviously never had to go to school with these utter morons otherwise they'd be finding it rather less amusing.

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03-01-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrinceOfCats
Stella Artois? They must be joking. Stella Artois is practically bourgeois. White Lightning is a real charva drink. Whoever wrote that article has obviously never had to go to school with these utter morons otherwise they'd be finding it rather less amusing.
oh and also that drink called lambrini i dont even know what that is?
is it some sort of cheap wine or champagne?

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03-01-2005
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Stella Artois has always been the Chav's "posh" drink A chav on an office night out will order Stella.....

It was inevitable Burberry's relaunch was going to descend into Chavdom. The only people who wore it during it's first bout of mass popularity were football hooligans, so it was a hard image to shake, depsite all the money they spent trying to get us to think otherwise.

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03-01-2005
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at the moment the cool chav hangouts seem to be by the escalators at the UGC cinema at Troccodero on shaftesbury ave

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03-01-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid
oh and also that drink called lambrini i dont even know what that is?
is it some sort of cheap wine or champagne?
Yeah, it's sparkling wine. It's like a trashy (er) version of Babycham. The girls get drunk on this p*ss while the boys are glugging cheap cider.

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03-01-2005
  15
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OMG it is vicky pollard - gotta send that in to richard and judy!

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