The punk subculture emerged in 1976. Punks were consciously working class, scruffy, earthy, dirty in clothing and language, but at the same time with a sense of parody and steeped in irony. Punk was a culture that reflected consumer based society moving out of affluence into real economic, social and political crisis. The punks intentionally disconnect themselves from the rest of the world, creating a whole new identity for themselves. Their rituals, accents and objects were used to signify that they belong to their working class.
The theme was red – communist red. As the 1980s landed and civil unrest intensified, punk fashion became even more politicised and ‘street punk’ created the image of punk, we now all remember: mohawks, studded chockers, tattooes, Dr Martins boots and tartan. Women donned leather skirts and ripped fishnets and many scrawled slogans and band logos on t-shirts with marker pens.How punk became mainstream –
Fashion designers took the intensity and boldness of punk rock music and bought it to their lines soon, wearing beatu up pairs of converse shoes with controversial shirts, safety pin through ears. Celtic punk, Garage pink, pop punk and hardcore were just some of the strands of the subculture which would grow strongly out of the 1980s and 1990s even though the movements origins were still evident. May fashion designers showed that they have been impacted through punk fashion.
Viviennce Westwood is one of the most influential and inspiring designers of all time, her passion for Punk styles can be seen throughout thr majority of her collections. During 1970s she became famous and synonymous with the rise of the sex pistols – influenced by the shock and impact of punk music at the current time, her design incorporated scottish tartan, influences from BDSM fashion bondage gear, as well as chains, razor blades and dog collars.
Malcom McLauren has been said to be responsible for being the initiator of the punk movement: Managing the Sex pistols, working with the New York Dolls, Owning and operating the famed Bristish boutique SEX with Westwood, McLauren was definitely at the forefront of provoking the conservative and driving trends where he identified them. Through McLaurens relationship with the sex pistols they had made such an impact on the punk movement and its popularity with the youth of Britain and beyond is undeniable.
Other subcultures and their influences
Reggae influenced punk music largely, reggae was alien music that refused to acknowledge ‘Britishness’ and the punks openly identified with black British and Caribbean culture. The style of reggae fashion also influenced punks largely, they took inspiration from: dreadlocks and Ethiopian colours. But at the same time reggae and punk were very different and developed in very different directions. The clothing and hair styles were corresponding with the swearing, spitting, vomiting, amphetamines and crude and chaotic music.