A significant portion of Northern soul’s original audience consisted of individuals who belonged to the mod subculture of the 1960s. As the late 1960s rolled in, some mods began incorporating freakbeat and psychedelic rock into their musical tastes. Nevertheless, Northern England’s mods adhered to the original mod soundtrack of soul and Blue Beat. This resulted in two separate groups: the skinheads and the Northern soul scene.

The fashion in the early days of Northern soul had a strong resemblance to classic mod style. The button-down Ben Sherman shirts, blazers with centre vents, and unorthodox numbers of buttons, as well as trickers and brogue shoes, were prevalent. Even some non-mod items like bowling shirts were quite popular. As the Northern soul dancers started to dance more frequently, they gravitated towards light and loose-fitting clothing. This was mainly because of practicality reasons. High-waisted, baggy Oxford bags and sports vests were the popular choice, which were adorned with sew-on badges representing soul club memberships.

The clenched raised fist symbol, which is now synonymous with the Northern soul movement, originated from the Black Power movement of the United States in the 1960s. During his visit to the Twisted Wheel in 1971, Dave Godin recollected that “…very many young fellows wore black ‘right on now’ racing gloves … between records one would hear the occasional cry of ‘right on now!’ or see a clenched gloved fist rise over the tops of the heads of the dancers.”