a-england British Subcultures: My Picks Swatch & Review


I have had my swatches of this collection sitting around, collecting dust for months. This post was supposed to go up before all the OPI madness, but I predictably fell behind. Luckily, a-england fans on Instagram chose this collection as one of two a-england collections featured this month. I thought finally getting this post up would be the perfect way to participate. The British Subcultures collection is based on a variety of youth movements/fashions in recent British history. I highly recommend reading about the inspiration/story behind each polish on a-england’s website (especially for polish #2 in this post, you will see why). I will link to each polish descriptor as we go through the colors. I pulled out my faux leather jacket for all the direct lighting photos. Leather jackets seem to fit into the styling of a number of these subcultures! This collection is mostly made of flaming holos, though they did sneak one of their usual ethereal holos in too. I will be honest with you all: I freaking love this collection, so there is going to be some serious gushing. a-england polishes always make me go a little crazy, they are just so perfect for me.

All swatches today were done over รœnt Ready for Takeoff peel-off base coat and were topped with Seche Vite where noted.


a-england Mod, 1 coat plus top coat

We are starting off this post with a photo editing mistake! You know we always keep it classy here at Short Nail Swatcher. This picture should be bigger, yes. Anyhoo, Mod is our first beauty and is described as a “dark army green.” It is one of the flaming holos in the collection. These are so holo that the holo even shows up in my light box, which is rare. I’ll be honest, I can barely tell this is green. It is a very murky dark green. I adore it! This is definitely the kind of shade I am into during winter.


a-england Mod, 1 coat

Mod is an astonishing one coat. The formula is smooth and silky and paints on with complete control. You guys know I do thin coats, so it’s pretty incredible when I can get a polish opaque in one!


a-england Mod, 1 coat in direct lighting

Ooo la la, look at that holo! I love a-england’s usual holo formula, but they pull off this flaming holo look with such perfection that I cannot help but love it too.


a-england Skinhead, 1 coat plus top coat

If you’re from the US like me, your eyes probably almost popped out of your head when you saw the name of this indigo. Before getting angry, I beg you to search “skinhead” on Wikipedia and be amazed that the current white supremacist POSs completely subverted a style whose origins were pretty much the complete opposite of skinheads in our current understanding. That aside, Skinhead also is a flaming holo and is guaranteed to get “Take the Skinheads Bowling” stuck in my head every dang time I see this polish.


a-england Skinhead, 1 coat

Alright folks, Skinhead (not gonna lie, can’t help but feel a little gross every time I type that, thanks racists) is your second one-coater of the day! It goes on so smooth even with a thin coat, no skipping or dragging.


a-england Skinhead, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

The holo is, of course, very strong with Skinhead. This is one of my top picks, the color is sublime and the formula is even more so.


a-england Punk, 2 coats plus top coat

The lovely Punk is my favorite of the collection for a million reasons. a-england simply calls it a “bright green” and I guess I would call it a shamrock green. It is another flaming holo. The punk subculture is hands down my favorite, I love punk music of various origins/sub-genres (London, New York, LA, Celtic, etc.) and the punk style is something I have a lot of reverence for, not being brave enough to rock a mohawk myself. This green reminds me of the green on the cover of London Calling (one of the greatest albums ever, has The Guns of Brixton which is probably my favorite Clash song), which I hope was the point.


a-england Punk, 1 coat

Punk was super close to being a one-coater for me. I really could not ask for a smoother formula and it actually does look fairly opaque here. I spy a little nail line, so I will go in for a second coat. I am not going to complain about spending more time with this glorious green, that’s for sure!


a-england Punk, 2 coats

With a second coat, any lighter spots you may have had with coat one disappear. It is just as easy to apply during the second coat.


a-england Punk, 2 coats plus top coats

Look at that holo! Flaming holo is a very appropriate name for the finish, it does feel more intense than your usual linear holo. What I love is that the base color of these is still so saturated while being so holographic. Perfectly formulated.


a-england New Romantic, 1 coat plus top coat

New Romantic looks a lot like Skinhead in the bottle, but on the nail it is very obviously purple. New Romantic is also a flaming holo, which looks so delicious in the purple base.


a-england New Romantic, 1 coat

New Romantic is OCW number 3, if you’re keeping track! I think I am running out of ways to describe these formulas. Smooth, flawless, and almost buttery.


a-england New Romantic, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

I particularly love the flaming holo in this purple. It looks molten and glowy.


a-england Goth, 1 coat plus top coat

Goth is the one polish in the collection that is not a flaming holo, but it does still have some holo! a-england calls this shade a “twilight black with a red nuance”. You can definitely see the red glow, probably best in my direct lighting shot.


a-england Goth, 1 coat

Goth may not be a flaming holo, but it is yet another one-coater. Wow, just. Wow! The color is just so deep that all you need is one thin coat and you are good to go.


a-england Goth, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

I think that the red element to Goth is most obvious here. I’m not sure if there’s a red shimmer or if the base is somehow a red-black? However they did it, it’s gorgeous.


a-england Swinging London, 1 coat plus top coat

Swinging London is coming at you next with more flaming holo goodness. This time, it is a “pale olive green with golden undertones.” I would reverse that description because my eyes are seeing gold with murky undertones, but I did not mix the polish so don’t listen to me.


a-england Swinging London, 1 coat

Okay, how is a color this light opaque in one coat? Seriously, a-england, what are you doing that other polishes are not??? I repeat, Swinging London only needs one coat. This was the first polish I swatched for this collection and it blew my mind. The formula is downright velvet-y and so opaque. I achieved this in just three swipes per nail. Stunning.


a-england Swinging London, 1 coat plus top coat

I think the picture speaks for itself. How do you see those rainbows and not want this on your nails STAT?


a-england Pride Without Prejudice, 2 coats plus top coat

The last polish we are going to discuss today is Pride Without Prejudice, which has my favorite name of the collection and really sums it up, I think. Pride Without Prejudice is a flaming holo in a “light sky blue” base. It is both delicate and in your face. Ethereal and intense.


a-england Pride Without Prejudice, 1 coat

Pride Without Prejudice is actually really opaque for being the lightest color in the collection. The formula is, you guessed it, smooth and easy to work with. I saw a few light spots I wanted to cover, although I am struggling to see them in the picture.


a-england Pride Without Prejudice, 2 coats

Pride Without Prejudice looks best in two coats. Any light spots are covered up and you end up with 100% icy, flaming holo.


a-england Pride Without Prejudice, 2 coats plus top coat under direct lighting

Damn, this is such a great photo to end with. Look at those flames of rainbows!

By my count, five of these polishes were one-coaters. Five out of the seven that I picked up. And it’s not like it’s a collection of black polishes or dark jewel tones. I really just have to bow down to a-england, I am not worthy of such perfection. The variety of base colors is much appreciated, you could wear these polishes all year round, and the inspiration behind them is a great mini-history lesson. The one color I did not pick up is London Calling. It is a great companion to Punk, but I am personally not a fan of pinks. I think this collection really encapsulates why I keep coming back to a-england: gorgeous colors, consistently quality formulas, and stories behind the colors that fascinate me. Little bottles of art and history for your nails. I hope this was not too painful for any of you to read through and I hope it came off as genuine, because for real I want everyone to love and appreciate this collection as much as I do!

What are your favorite a-england shades? Any on your wish list?

xx, Ashley

I bought my bottles from Color4Nails. Remember to get your 10% off from the code in their Instagram bio if you ever order anything from them! If you are in the US and order four or more items, you get free shipping (I am in no way affiliated with Color4Nails, I just think they are awesome and were the first place I ever made an indie polish order).


9 thoughts on “a-england British Subcultures: My Picks Swatch & Review”

  1. These are all gorgeous! I must confess, I have all the aEngland polishes :-O Probably why I am so poor. Waiting on my arrival of the two new sets. Poe’s Tales and Tales from the Tower, so once these arrive, I will have all them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had started collecting a-england sooner, one of the few polishes that it is worth having them all! I’m super excited about the new collections, love love love the inspiration for them.


  2. Mod is spectacular! So is Goth – what an interesting red glow. I love holos against dark bases
    Swinging London is totally a me colour… how impressive that it’s a one coater. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still trying to figure out what is giving Goth that reddish glow… it must be a super fine shimmer or something! Swinging London blew me out of the water, I had sat down expecting to swatch only half the collection, but after that formula I realized I could probably get them all done quickly! Just incredible!


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