I’ve always been fascinated by obscure subcultures and micro-genres; Jangle-Pop, Sopisto-Pop, Shoegaze, C86, Grebo, Suedeheads, The NY Punk-Prep connection, Ghettotech and the subject of today’s post, Buffalo.
Buffalo was the brainchild of 80s UK stylist Ray Petri. Primarily a fashion movement, it was ushered in by the matte-black design era and is one of the earliest examples of the now ubiquitous Promethean trend of bringing urban/street culture to ‘high’ fashion. Signature looks included; Ray’s own uniform – the MA-1 Flight Jacket (AKA Bomber) with baggy jeans and chunky black shoes, baggy italian suits with padded shoulders and bolero hats, the MA-1 again paired with biker shorts, zip-up mock turletneck, and combat boots, all of which resulting in a very top heavy look which was worn in equal parts by both men and women. All of this would eventually be exported to America, albeit in a predictably water downed fashion via a True Blue-era Madonna (who went as far as roping in for her videos Buffalo’s most iconic model, the juvenile Felix Howard) and in yet another sub-genre, the late 80s-early 90s hip-hop/r&b crossover movement New Jack Swing.
While the Buffalo look would be catalyzed in print on a monthly basis in UK style rags like I.D., Arena and the sorely missed (at least in this house) The Face, it would eventually be immortalized by Neneh Cherry in her 1986 hip hop classic Buffalo Stance. Fast forwarding to today, we have Portugese Electro/Kuduro/dancehall act Buraka Som Sistema immortalizing Neneh with their rendition of Buffalo.
Buraka Som Sistema – Buffalo Stance
PS I’d like to end this with a ‘somebody should really bring that style back’, but if you can believe it in true fashion fashion, we collectively winked and it’s already come and gone.