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Youth Culture and Fashion


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Frequently Asked Questions
Youth Culture and Fashion

1. Are young people in Britain influenced much by American youth culture?

Few people would deny that American influences seem to be present everywhere - from Piła to Peterborough! To get an accurate answer to this question we'd really have to ask all the young people in Britain, but on the whole young people in Britain seem to be less influenced by American culture than young people in other countries. This is perhaps because Britain has for many years had its own music, fashions and cinema. In the Fifties we were very influenced by American culture, particularly music and the cinema though American fashion has never particularly attracted us. Only the toys, the soap operas and the gimmicks have got through to us. Like everyone else we have Macdonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the other chain eateries, but fashions change very quickly and we now have sandwich bars like Pret a Manger which are just as popular.

Many observers comment that there has recently been something of a regeneration in UK youth culture and nowadays we are more likely to be influenced by city trends - what's happening in Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin, etc. - and by what young people are listening to, wearing and doing in the big European cities. London is now widely regarded as one of the world's "coolest" cultural hotspots.

For more information about UK youth culture click on this link:

2. How old are young Brits when they move away from home?

It depends. Patterns vary of course across the many cultural groups in Britain. Young people from Asian families may be inclined to stay at home longer and leave only to marry or study in another city. Young people from Afro-Caribbean families are more likely to move into their own accommodation though the family link usually remains strong. In large cities like London, you will probably find a higher number of young single people living far from home and on their own.

Until fairly recently young people wishing to continue studying after school often left home at about the age of 18 or 19, to study at colleges and universities in cities and towns other than their home towns, but there has been a recent trend noted that more young people are now staying at home longer, often for financial reasons and this particularly affects potential students who are now faced with fees as well as living costs. Some students now choose a local college or university so they can stay at home and save money.

3. At what age can young people in Britain get married?

The short answer is 16 years old. However, until young people reach the age of 18 they still require parental consent if they wish to marry. Therefore, 18 is known as ‘the age of consent’. In the past, parental consent was required until the age of 21 in England and Wales, but not in Scotland where it was 18. This led to a number of young lovers eloping to just over the border, to a small Scottish town called Gretna Green where they could marry legally without their parents consent. Gretna Green became associated with young love and some people still choose to go there to get married just for the sake of romance, even though 18 is now the age of consent for both England and Scotland.

However, new trends are emerging and certainly in large cities, young people are more likely to live together than marry, and women particularly are now focussing more on establishing careers before families.

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