By fashion, we understand the sense of style, that can change in a decade or in a century but it always has in the center of attention the sense of beauty. Each important era of fashion can be completely different or keep elements from the previous trend but fashion is always associated with two commune elements in every single fashion trend: elegance and luxury. This constant probably comes from Ancient Egypt, which has a strong connection with the history of fashion; a lot of people think that in the history of Egypt, the roots of fashion can be found, and even though it is a contested theory is still an important statement that we cannot just ignore. And punk fashion style is a great example of that.
Every fashion style must inspire force, and attitude and give you the feeling of uniqueness. Starting from this statement it is quite obvious why punk fashion was one of the most influential dress code movements from when it appeared until nowadays.
What is punk?
The punk subculture is a movement that appeared in the mid 70’s and it was very popular for about a decade but even today we can still find its mark all around us. It centers on punk rock music but it also incorporates a large variety of ideologies and different forms of expression, just like visual arts, literature, movies, or even dance. Even though the subculture is catalogued to have only anti-establishment views it also promotes the freedom of the individual. The most popular type of music in those times was punk rock-a very aggressive type of rock that contains a lot of soul ad passion. For a long time, punk was thought to be a left-wing politic form, but in fact, it covers the whole political spectrum. Punk ideology encourages the masses to take their lives into their own hands and it promotes the DIY ethic and the non-conformity.
Punk fashion was also following the rules of non-conformity in comparison with the status quo. It often inspires aggression, individualism, and freedom and some punkers were having tattoos (many of them with a socio-political message) and the main part of their wardrobe was bought from second-hand shops, showing a new type of revolution against the consumerist statement.
Punk fashion style includes clothing, the most popular hairstyle, make-up, and jewelry (including the ones that are directly applied to the body). Punk fashion has different shades and oscillations depending on the designer. For example, Vivienne Westwood, who designed the outfits for punk bands such as The Exploited or Sex Pistols, had a different way to see this type of clothes compared to jean Paul Gautier, but this is quite obvious thing to happen in a fashion trend where the only rule is that there are no rules. Punk clothing was initially handmade but soon enough they became mass-produced and they have been commercialized in a lot of stores worldwide.
The punk fashion took elements from many other fashion trends but the main starter point was BDSM. That’s why girls wore ripped fishnet stockings matched with spike bands or other jewelry that contained spikes. The piercings and the silver bracelets were commune choices for a casual outfit for both men and women. About the make-up, we can say that black was the favorite color, girls, and boys (YES! Boys wore make-up too) usually using a lot of black eyeliner. Girls would basically want to look more masculine but they also wanted to keep their delicacy and this is how a new outfit was born: ballet tutu combined with big massive army boots.
To point out the “I don’t care” look the true punkers would very often rip out their clothes or they would add everyday objects to their outfit and all these elements were kept together by safety pins or even tape. The most abusive form of this kind of fashion was when the garbage bags became dresses or other clothing items (T-shirts, skirts, etc) and the chains or leather was present in all the apparel and was having a strong connection with the BDSM culture.
A wise motto says: “Punk is not dead” which can’t be truer! We can still find punk elements in almost every outfit that teenagers wear these days. If you are courageous enough to try this fashion style and, why not, this lifestyle you have to keep in mind that people might judge you but if you can cross this line of prejudice you will find the true freedom that punk people were promoting in the 70’s and 80’s all over the world.