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I’m including this in my History of the Trend series, but honestly this is more of a subculture. And I’m going to do a few more subcultures in my “History of the Trend’ series because I feel like it just fits in. As I remember Punk being a “trend” when I was in Junior/Senior High school, at least for fashion. And I wanted to be part of this in the worst way, but my mom wouldn’t let me. So at the moment I’m kind of trying to live out my dreams of years past with the red hair as it’s something I always wanted growing up. And slowly but surely, I’m trying to switch the mass majority of my wardrobe over to things of this variety, as it seriously just screams my style. Now not everything is going to be switched as I need to have professional/business outfits for work.
What is Punk Sub-Culture?
This sub-culture that the fashion comes from is all about anti-establishment and the promotion of individual freedom. And is largely centered around a sub-category of rock called punk rock which is more “aggressive.”
This is my favorite type of music and I wish more of it would come into style like the ye ole Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance days. Not that there aren’t still bands making that type of music.
Other characteristics of the punk sub-culture/ideology is anti-authoritarianism, DIY ethic, non-conformity, direct action, and not selling out.
What is Punk Fashion?
Now the area we’re going to be mainly focusing on for this blog post is around the fashion of the punk sub-culture. But before we go into the history of the punk fashion trend, we need to define what makes up the fashion of punk.
A wide range of the clothing is made up of offensive T-shirts, leather jackets, Doc Marten boots, skater shoes, Converse sneakers, and/or beanies. Often times with band logos, pins, patches, buttons, metal studs and/or spikes.
For hair, it’s brightly colored hair and mohawks.
Other characteristics include, tattoos, facial piercings, and body modification.
History of Punk
This sub-culture/fashion trend first emerged in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia in the mid-1970s. Through various garage bands that were gaining popularity and there were posters in New York City that defined the term with phrases such as “PUNK IS COMING! WATCH OUT!” And throughout the years the genre of music split into various sub-genres such as: pop punk, indie, alternative, Gothic rock, death rock, and college rock. Each with slight variations in fashion style and classification for music style.
Some bands that would be classified in the punk genre (or those sub-genres I mentioned earlier): The Seeds, The Sonics, Panic at the Disco, 3 Days Grace, MC5, The Ramones, Blondie, Sex Pistols, Blink 182, Simple Plan, and Good Charlotte. Just to name a few but there are way more than just these.
However, bands like Green Day, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, etc. are not considered “true punk” since they managed to break into the mainstream which many would argue is buying into the establishment and thus breaking the ideology. However, these are some of the bands that got me into the genre and their music does follow the trope of punk. So take with that as you will.
The fashion as it’s known today, overall just came out of wearing band shirts and the anti-culture grunge era of the 1990s. But similar fashion was also seen the 1980s when the sub-culture was born. That and Hot Topic which was founded in 1989.
Punk fashion is not dead. It’s just not as mainstream as it was in the 2000s when Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance were at their height. Punk fashion today is more just diverse in the various sub-categories that have emerged over the years. But the main pieces that stick out for today are the following: skinny jeans, Converse sneakers, leather/faux-leather jackets, flannel shirts, plaid skirt, dark tights, beanie, solid black shirt, studded jewelry, and of course tattoos/facial piercings if you have or want to have those. Personally, I want to get an entire tattoo sleeve and change my earrings from being standard size to being real gauges instead of the fake ones that I wear daily. And lastly, colored hair always helps to achieve this look. What style do you tend to lean towards? Or what style did you want at one point but never did it to the full extent?