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Baggy was a British dance-oriented rock music genre popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


The scene was heavily influenced by Madchester,[1] although it was not geographically confined to the city of Manchester. Many Madchester bands could also be described as baggy, and vice versa. Baggy was characterised by psychedelia and acid house-influenced guitar music, often with a "funky drummer" beat, similar to the work of the Happy Mondays, Northside and The Stone Roses. The scene was named after the loose-fitting clothing worn by the bands and fans.

Some bands, such as The Mock Turtles and The Soup Dragons, reinvented their sound and image to fit in with the new scene. This led some critics[who?] to accuse baggy bands of bandwagon-jumping and derivative songwriting. There was also a crossover between dance and indie, and vice versa.

Bands in the alternative dance era of pop music can be divided into two camps; the acts who could be described as baggy (usually the Madchester acts and a few others such as Flowered Up from London), and those who can be described as alternative dance (i.e. Jesus Jones and The Shamen, who were more techno inspired). The Shamen would begin as a psychedelic indie rock band, sharing some of the characteristics of early shoegaze bands, but their style would morph between psychedelic indie rock and acid house, before absorbing more elements of techno.


Alongside the music, a way of dressing emerged that gave baggy its name. Baggy jeans (often flared) alongside brightly coloured or tie-dye casual tops and general '60s style became fashionable first in Manchester and then across the country - frequently topped off with a fishing hat in the style sported by the Stone Roses' drummer Reni. The overall look was part rave, part retro or part hippie, part football casual. Many Madchester bands had football casual fans and a number of bands even wore football shirts. Eaitisham Ahmed's[2] Manchester-based Joe Bloggs fashion label specialised in catering for the scene, making him a multi-millionaire.[3]

It is also generally accepted that French stylists Marithé et François Girbaud were one of the first designers to integrate baggy in fashion industry.[4]


Some baggy bands evolved into indie rock or Britpop bands who remained popular throughout the 1990s. The Charlatans retained their popularity, although little trace of the baggy sound and look remained.

The baggy style was eclipsed by the grunge and Britpop genres. Apart from tribute acts, the style has been absent from the indie arena, with acts like the 2001 Manchester band Waterfall failing to interest record companies with their revival sound.

Another wave of bands in the style of the past baggy Madchester sound is currently[when?] in process. Bands such as Kasabian, Reverend and the Makers, The Ruling Class, Sulk, The Bavarian Druglords, and Working For A Nuclear Free City have brought back aspects of the style in various forms and have garnered comparisons to The Stone Roses and the Madchester sound. Clothes wise the flares may not be in fashion but the designer names and sport casual look can still be seen in the Baggymod look.


  1. ^ "Madchester". allmusic. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ "Millionaire founder of Joe Bloggs jeans empire declared bankrupt after blowing millions on spread-betting". Mail Online.[deprecated source?]
  3. ^ Malik, Kenan (19 June 1994). "All mouth and trousers - the rise of Joe Bloggs". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ Figaro, Madame (13 April 2017). "Le baggy des années 1990 revient au goût du jour". Madame Figaro.

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