Punk is more than a style of music! It’s a way of existing, and the rock rebels preferred to live with their own style. But what is the origin of the punk style? What’s his story?
Young rock star, welcome to skull world! We’re passionate about rock, punk, as well as punk rock, and in this article we’re delving into the history of the punk rock style ! 🤘
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Punk fashion ideology
Loud, fast and easy – punk saved rock ‘n’ roll from choking on its own excesses and gave the genre a razor-sharp edge not seen since its inception. The rebellious spirit and willingness to challenge traditional conventions – such as the notion that you had to know how to play an instrument before you could start a band – would find its place in almost every major musical revolution that followed: von Hip hop to rock to techno. 🎶
But music was always just one facet of punk’s identity . It’s more than just a style of music, it’s a whole way of life, a philosophy, an attitude and above all: a look!
Features of the punk style
The sonic foundation of punk was laid in New York by the same people who established the early days of punk: artists like Lou Reed, the Ramones , Suicide and the New York Dolls , who wanted to shed the rock of the era and make it heavier. While Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones responded to their arena-filling ambitions with equally lavish velvet and sequin costumes, the new rock rebels favored T-shirts and Levi’s jeans. 👖.
The Ramones created a style of tattered Levi’s 505 jeans and black leather jackets . In the mid ’70s, the New York sound and style was made popular by Blondie, among other things. Singer Debbie Harry pioneered high-flow Levi’s blends with designer pieces. Bands like Television and Blondie had an impact on the music and style of the time. ‘ Back then it was a shame to walk around with holes in your jeans and the Ramones replied, ‘That’s who we are! And we are willing to impose our style on the whole world for it to be accepted. « They didn’t think they could express themselves so well…
Punk- und Glam-Rock-Look
« We emerged from the glamor scene by introducing the punk look, » says photographer Paul Zone, author of Playground: Growing Up in the New York Underground. « As glam rock began to fade in 1974, half the people who had embraced that style would get involved in what would later become the punk scene and the look that went with it. «
In the glamor era, the dolls wore little boys’ Levi’s jackets, which were so small they could barely put their arms inside. » This clothing ideology would later give way to a more masculine and less aloof style. However, without not imposing his own style, thanks in particular to the Levi ‘s brand, which greatly contributed to the rise of the punk look of the time.
Ripped jeans and ripped shirts
In the mid-1970s, the music and the new look of punk caught on, largely thanks to the Ramones, as we’ve seen. But thanks also to Television, whose guitarist Richard Hell was one of the first performers to perform rock music with ruffled hair and torn T-shirts held together with safety pins…
« They didn’t have any money, » recalls photographer Jenny Lens. ‘ The holes in Joey’s knees were the result of wear and tear. That wasn’t the fashion. I have photos of Dee Dee Ramone wearing a leather jacket, on the wrists because it’s so worn out. As mentioned above, back then it was a shame to show yourself with holes in your jeans. Still, the guys have a dress codel who would conquer the whole planet! 🌍
Arrival of punk fashion in Europe
By the time people started calling it punk, the revolution had already started to spread across the world. Malcolm McLaren managed the New York Dolls before returning to London, where he opened a boutique called Sex with his partner Vivienne Westwood. Inspired by what he had seen in New York, he combined the Dolls’ over-the-top style with Richard Hell’s deconstructed style to create a quintessentially British style of punk fashion, and rebranded his new clients, the Sex Pistols to advertise for them. 🇬🇧
« McLaren returned to England and mimicked the look by spicing it up a bit. In particular, by coloring the hair for a » trastier » look« explains Zone (then journalist). At the same time, other London punks like X-Ray Spex were embracing the punk movement’s « DIY clothing philosophy » and began making simple items such as B. jeans and leather jackets like blank decorative canvases, which are decorated with needles, paint and pins. 🎨
Description of the punk style
If you had to describe the origins of the punk look in one word, you would say: « do-it-yourself »! Let’s see why:
Almost simultaneously with crossing the ocean to the UK (from New York), punk was spreading in Los Angeles. where fans of the Ramones and Blondie adapted their distinctive look to the city’s unique identity. « What we did in LA had to do with many factors, one of which was the climate. We don’t have the rain, snow and cold that you have in London or New York. Our clothing style will be very different here! But the spirit is still present. We were very into DIY (just like in Europe). Having a punk style is knowing how to reuse clothes. Cutting them out, painting them, sewing them… It’s being an artist in a way. ✍️
Connected by the punk rock fashion
The punk bands were very different. From pop bands like the Go-Go’s to the anti-commercial approach of the Germs to bands like the legendary « X » somewhere in between, everything was there… But one thing always connected them and created this wonderful community punk rock : the punk -fashion ! 👔
« The fashion was very free, » says Lens. « There were no stylists for this fashion. We were all stylists just like we were musicians. Everyone would go to stores or flea markets together and share each other’s clothes. It was truly an opportunity to dress up, express yourself and be an artist every day . You could be an artist expressing yourself through your clothes if you wanted to. And I think that’s what the audience at the time liked. People could express themselves by creating their own style ».
All of LA’s punk style shines through in one of the most iconic photos of the era. Where the singer Exene Cervenka and set designer Pleasant Gehman pose in the shower of a loft where seminal fanzine Slash threw a party for Devo. Pleasant bleached his jeans and wrote « Slash » for Slash magazine, » she explains. « No one had bleached their jeans back then. We have done many things that others have not done ». She is one of the definitions of the punk look . 🕶
influence of fashion
Forty years after punk’s beginnings , the music continues to resonate, not only in the punk scenes that have sprung up in cities around the world, but also in the independent and alternative movements that punk has inspired. 🤘
In the field of fashion, his influence has spread even further. You can find the classic combination of jeans and t-shirt almost everywhere in the world and among all generations. And in the music world, personalizing leather and denim jackets with the names of artists or groups has become almost systematic… Especially for rap stars.
Punk’s most enduring legacy can’t be reduced to a single piece of clothing, not even the popularity of holey jeans and brightly colored hair. Rather, it’s the idea of being authentic, the fact that if you do your own thing and dress your way, you can literally change the world. To sum up, punk style influences fashion. And fashion never influences punk!
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