The word mod or modernist is a name that describes a type of subculture that originally started in London, England around the late 1950s. While varying from era to era essentially, the people considered to be mods are invariably viewed with a love of fashion, music, and scooters - and this was certainly the case early on. Indeed, due to their sharp looks and air of aloofness, the mod sub culture rapidly gained in popularity and by the mid 1960s the media was using the word mod to describe anything that was popular and fashionable.
Like all fads the mod group slowly lost popularity in the late 1960s, but soon experienced a revival in the United kingdom in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s in North America. There's a great deal of disagreement about where the mod culture started and more to the point, why it started. Taken at face value, and as an abbreviation for the overriding 'modernist' term, the first mods were documented as a stylish youth who enjoyed modern jazz.
The mods that perhaps have become most famous around the world were those in 1970s UK who adored Vespa or Lambretta scooters, sharp clothes and a certain brand of music. That said, and regardless of the era, the most common conception of the mod look focusses on sharp and tailored suits for men, and streamlined dresses and skirts for women.
From the 1950s onwards, and no doubt as a result of being a counter culture, all mod groups were very desirable and dangerous to the average outsider looking in. Seen by many as being cool and sexy, mods partied hard at night and looked great while riding their scooters in the day and the UK press helped to create a conception around the culture that days were for shopping, and nights were for drug fueled partying.
Indeed, it was this partying how the group soon earned its reputation for heavy amphetamine use in the early parts of the 60s. Clubs throughout the UK (particularly in London and the North) became dedicated mod venues and music continued its role at the centre of the sub-culture.
Unsurprisingly, as a group grows in popularity, it will find conflict and outside of the establishment, mods true rivals in the UK in particular were 'the rockers'. With conflicting ideologies, friction grew between the two groups to a level that culminated in a series of riots throughout the south coast of the country.
While rockers already had a fairly negative reputation, mods suffered worse and became a poster child for the UK press to isolate and demonise. Nevertheless, time heals and while not as popular as it once was, the mod culture still lives strong in the UK today.
I'm a big fan of mod style and particularly scooter clothing such as that found at http://armadilloscooterwear.com/ and other websites such as Urban Rider.