The term "Cool Britannia" became prominent in the media and represented the new political and social climate that was emerging with the advances made by New Labour and Tony Blair. Coming out of a period of 18 years of Conservative government, Tony Blair and New Labour were seen as young, cool and very appealing, a main driving force in making Britain look fashionable again.
Although by no means responsible for the onset of "Cool Britannia", the arrival of the Spice Girls added to the new image and re-branding of Britain, and underlined the growing world popularity of British, rather than U.S., pop music. This was due to the fact that during February 1997, American music at the time were mostly based around R&B and Hip-Hiop and only a few were recording pop records. So when the Spice Girls were introduced into the music scene, they were seen as something new and vibrant during the music scene that was seen with so heavily composed of a genre that had established at the time.
This fact was underlined at the BRIT Awards in 1997. The group won two awards but it was Geri's Union Jack Dress that appeared in media coverage over the world and eventually became a symbol of "Cool Britannia".
"With the Spice Girls it was the first time we had something with really specific character to it that was not provincial in any shape or form.
"They also introduced America to the concept of zigga-zigg-a, for which they no doubt remain grateful." - Q magazine's Paul ReesAlex Needham, deputy editor of music journal NME, had this to comment on their success and the subsequent quick diminishing success they were to have:
"The Spice Girls were such a massive phenomenon, it was hard for anyone anywhere to avoid them.
"But while their UK hits kept coming, they found it hard to replicate the success of Wannabe with subsequent US singles - a problem James Blunt may also face."