Punk Fashion Essay
What Was Punk Fashion in the Early Days of the 1970s? Today everyone knows what punk fashion is, but in 1970 it didn’t exist. Punk first emerged in the mid 1970s in London as an anarchic and aggressive movement. About 200 young people defined themselves as an anti-fashion urban youth street culture. Closely aligned was a music movement that took the name punk. Anti Fashion – Torn Fashion Becomes Punk Fashion The clothes suited the lifestyle of those with limited cash due to unemployment and the general low income school leavers or students often experience.
Punks cut up old clothes from charity and thrift shops, destroyed the fabric and refashioned outfits in a manner then thought a crude construction technique, making garments designed to attract attention. It deconstructed garments into new forms. Whilst torn fabrics, frayed edges and defaced prints are now considered normal in the 21st century, in the 1970s it shocked many people, because it had never been seen before. Until then fabric had been treated as a material to keep as pristine, new looking and beautiful as possible.
Trousers were deliberately torn to reveal laddered tights and dirty legs. They were worn with heavy Doc Martens footwear, a utilitarian, practical traffic meter maid type of footwear in that era, not seen on many young women until then. Safety pins and chains held bits of fabric together. Neck chains were made from padlocks and chain and even razor blades were used as pendants. The latter emerged as a mainstream fashion status symbols a few years later when worked in gold. Self Mutilation and Body Piercings
Body piercing was done in parts other than the usual accepted placement in the ear lobe. The placement of studs and pins in facial body parts such as eyebrows and cheeks, noses or lips for the masses was then quite unusual even after the freedom of the 1960s. Although it is known that Edwardian ladies used to have rings inserted into their nipples to make their breasts stands up more pertly, this was not a usual practice among the masses of the 1960s and 70s. Self-mutilation, rejection of prettiness and body piercing was not a norm then.
The chosen placement of body jewellery and tattoos of the new punks was deliberately intended to offend the more conventional members of society. The fashion was also unisex and men began to sport facial jewellery. What we take as a normal strand of fashion today was all quite unusual then. Body piercing seems everyday now in the 21st century. It entered mainstream fashion quite rapidly, beginning with the three stud earlobe, progressing to the whole ear outline embedded with ear studs.
This was followed by Goths sporting nose studs in the early 80s. Then in the 1990s belly, tongue and genital piercings all gathered a following among the masses. Twenty five or thirty years ago it was true anti fashion and anti establishment, but now it is so everyday that not even great grandmothers titter. Thirty years after Punk emerged as a rebellious youth oriented fashion many grandmothers and great grandmothers sport a tattoo or piercing somewhere on their body. » Bondage in Early Punk Fashion
Black leather, studs, chains, mufti fabrics, greyed sweated out black T shirts, bondage animal print bum flaps and leg straps epitomise some of the looks that immediately spring to mind when thinking of the early punks. What was then thought to be blatant and obvious sexual references in written form, on dyed and destroyed vests have again become a norm and the masses happily don Tshirts emblazoned with fcuk or crave a graffiti print covered Louis Vuitton bag, both fashions very much accepted because of the path set by the early punk movement.
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren Open Seditionaries Shop Punk as a style succeeded even more when Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren formerly Malcolm Edwards, publicized the ideas through their joint design ventures. McLaren launched the ‘Sex Pistols’ Punk music group. The punk group wore clothes from a shop called ‘Sex’ that Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren opened on the Kings Road, London. They sold leather and rubber fetish goods, especially bondage trousers. Later the shop was renamed Seditionaries. Not long after, Westwood launched alone renaming the same shop as ‘World’s End’.
Westwood was soon translating her ideas into the fresher Pirate and Romantic looks. The collections were innovative, but were spoken of as unwearable, yet so often other designers picked up on ideas she had instigated and soon started another new trend. In later years as her talent developed, her moods and methods changed. She mastered tailoring techniques combined with flair, frivolity and sexuality creating new looks that others copied. With a long stream of firsts behind her, Vivienne Westwood is now considered to be one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.