There are few fashion tribes more niche than the fast-growing global network known as Geovictedwardians, a group of trans-generational fashionistas taking the best of British, bringing it up to date and bringing it forward

Taking their style cues from the Georgians, the Victorians and the Edwardians, this underground network of dandy highwaymen is spearheaded by the ex-barrister Alex Betts, who prefers to go under the nomenclature Albion Geovictedwardian. We caught up with him in a Soho basement to find out why the future is always a product of the past.

Topman GENERATION: What exactly is Geovictwardianism?
Albion Geovictwardian: Geovictwardiansim is about taking the best of the past, bringing it up to date and bringing it forward.  It poaches from the Georgians, the Victorians and the Edwardians, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be fixed in the period of 1740 to 1914, you’re just taking on all the philosophies from that era. The Georgians had a degree of hedonism, the Victorians had the attitude that anything is possible, and the Edwardians kind of fused that together; they went anywhere, did anything, and they had a really good time doing it.

Topman GENERATION: What does a Geovictwardian wear?
Albion Geovictwardian: It’s essential you have your own idiosyncratic package. It’s very popular to talk about vintage when it comes to Geovictwardianism, but really, it’s all about the now – everything that I wear is bought new, none of it's second-hand. What is important is the individual. The Geovictwardian man would wear moleskin trousers, for example, rather than jeans because although jeans were once a symbol of rebellion, they have been so universally adopted that they have become a leveller down. It’s like bad days of the Russian empire – you can have any colour you want as long as it's red. Now you can have any trousers you want as long as they’re blue denim.

"It’s like bad days of the Russian empire – you can have any colour you want as long as it's red. Now you can have any trousers you want as long as they’re blue denim”

Topman GENERATION: To some degree, is it about class?
Albion Geovictwardian: People have asked me about that in the past. No. It’s not some sort of upper class idea or lifestyle. It is essentially classless, which means ‘outside the normal stratification of society’. That’s what Geovictwardianism is meant to be. I have to explain it to people when they see me wearing a bowler hat that it was only latterly it was associated with people in the city, although no one in the city now wears them, and it was originally invented as a practical piece of headgear, like a modern builder’s hard-hat. Later, people in the city adopted it, but I try and remind people of its roots. That’s partly the message of Geovictwardianism, you’re always looking at where things come from to know where they’re going to go.

Topman GENERATION: Do you ever get any hassle because of the way you look?
Albion Geovictwardian: Sometimes I get comments but they are always with a smile. ‘Oi! Sherlock!’ – that kind of thing. I'm not the only one that gets that on this scene, but it’s never been anything nasty or malicious. Now, what does that tell you about these young people? That they’d like to do it! I was coming back from someone’s wedding on the central line and a group of hooded lads got on, who were up to no good. I was wearing black gaiters with a helmet, and white trousers tucked into the gaiters, maybe a double-breasted jacket and, of course, the mutton chops. I thought it could go either way because they were making a lot of noise disturbing other passengers, and they went to me, ‘Cor! Where have you been, mate? Been to a wedding?’

Funnily enough, I had, so I took that as an opportunity to strike up a conversation with them, and one of them, who was a bit more vocal than the others, looked over and pointed at the black gaiters, ‘I really like them!’ he said. I said, ‘Well, they’re quite expensive, but you might consider getting a pair.' He said to me, ‘Nah mate, if I wore those on my estate I’d get beaten up!’ So I looked him in the eyes and said, ‘You realise, don’t you, that if you wear gaiters it takes courage to wear what you want and stand out from the masses.' The rest of it was fine and at the end of the journey they were all waving goodbye and saying good luck… as they no doubt went off to conduct more mischief.

John-Paul Pryor is editor of Topman GENERATION, contributing arts editor at AnOther Magazine, editor-at-large for PORT magazine and regularly writes for Dazed & Confused, TANK and Sabotage Times