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  • Place of origin:

    New York (manufactured)

  • Date:

    mid-1980s (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Button Up (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    laminated paper, cardboard, metal.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Michael Costiff

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

These badges were worn by style icon, designer and club promoter Michael Costiff. Costiff was at the helm of the London club scene in the 1980s, running the Kinky Gerlinky nightclub with his wife Gerlinde. Their smiley faces are evocative of the late 1980s club scene and associated Rave culture, and one of the badges was produced from a flyer for a London night club of the time.

The smiley face icon has a history within subcultures since the 1970s, when it was associated with the anti-Vietnam hippie culture. Its peak in the British popular consciousness came later, when Rave culture developed in the late 1980s. This was a subculture that adopted the image as symbolic of the euphoria associated with the dance music, clubs and parties and their associated drug Ecstasy. It was recognised as emblematic of this scene in wider society through the symbol’s use in tabloid newspaper headlines, warning of the dangers of raves and drug taking.

Physical description

Large circular pin badge with a "Smiley Face" printed on fluorescent pink ground; laminated paper, cardboard, metal

Place of Origin

New York (manufactured)


mid-1980s (manufactured)


Button Up (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

laminated paper, cardboard, metal.


Diameter: 15 cm

Descriptive line

Large circular pin badge with a "Smiley Face" printed on fluorescent pink ground; laminated paper, cardboard, metal, by Button Up, New York, 1980s


Metal; Paper; Ink; Laminate


Printing; Laminating



Production Type

Mass produced


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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