Old School | Funky 1970s Fashion from Pop Tops

September 11, 2019 1 Comment

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'I blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top; cut my heel, had to cruise on back home'. - Jimmy Buffet, Margaritaville

Immortalized in song, the 1970s old aluminum pop-top came completely off cans, littered beaches all over the world and cut a lot of peoples' feet. But for those of us old enough to remember, you could make a lot of ridiculous things with these old style pop tops.

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The old school pop top opened up a whole world of funky fashion horizons for teenagers growing up back then. It was easy to fold one on top of the other to create a sparkly door curtain, a groovy room divider, or some a silver maxi dress.

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On our blog we often pay homage to eclectic fashion designers who inspire us like Paco Rabanne, the late great Chris March, or pioneering handbag designers. Today we pay homage to our funky 1970s forefathers and mothers and to the man (the legend!) who literally wrote the book on pop topping. This man went by the name of the Pop-Top Terp. His creations are a precursor to our own metallic clothing.chain-mail-for-dogs-70s-pop-top-armor
Photos courtesy of Pop Topping! By Pop-Top Terp and Kenneth Patton, ©1975, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA. The book is out of print but if you must have it, copies can still be found on Amazon.

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1 Response

David Freiman
David Freiman

April 25, 2020

When I was a kid in the early 1970’s, I attended arts workshops at the Cloisters medieval museum in Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan, New York. The first year of workshops they hired fine artists to teach as Masters, teen assistants were called Journeyman and the students were called Apprentices following the old traditions.

I assume it was Pop-Top Terp (I only recall calling him Pop-Top) who taught our armor making workshop. We dutifully collected our pop-tops and scoured the streets and sidewalks for more and under his tutelage created our various chain mail vests, shirts and cowls. I also remembered we visited his gallery and saw the fashion designs like those depicted here. I remember him as a very kind and patient teacher.

The following year, no Pop-Top, and we made our armor out of spare materials and hardware. I also remember that only in the first year had cloisonne, stained glass, and other fine arts workshops. I believe we attended workshops for many summers and the medieval festival for eight consecutive years. Without Pop-Top, it was never the same.

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