Punk- celebrating rebellion through anti-establishment clothing
Known for its anti-establishment theme, punk is not merely a fashion style, but is also representative of a philosophy. This philosophy rejects the “system” and rages against cruelty, racism, and socially-constructed perspectives of beauty and belonging. The 80's, already a time of great technological advances, brought forward a unique brand of rebellion through clothing and accessories which directly challenged notions of gender based ensembles. Notable among the female punk fashion followers, was music artiste Madonna, whose cut-off gloves, cross pendants, stockings and multi-patterned layered clothing resulted in a still-popular brand of punk fashion which is worn by women and men of all ages, who feel the need to wear their feelings on their sleeves, literally!
The 2013 Met Ball in New York City was themed around the punk fashion industry, and paid tribute to designers such as Vivienne Westwood, who championed rebellious, loud punk philosophy through their clothing collections. The event also served as a promotion for an exhibition titled “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, which was held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A number of designers showcased their individual tributes to the punk era, classic and modern; notable among them were Balenciaga, Givenchy, Fendi and Jean Paul Gaultier. Following the quintessential punk style, which juxtaposed Tartan, Leather, Graffiti influenced patterns and mesh, the outfits carried trademark slogans which promoted individual rebellion and style.
A common element in punk fashion is the color black, which is either worn by itself in the form of all-black attire such as black jeans with a black t-shirt and a black leather jacket with multiple rivets; or combined with signature neon colors and multiple accessories, usually metal chains and bracelets or cuffs with bright checked detailing.
Punk fashion promotes androgyny, and is a rare movement which goes against stereotypical “soft and pretty” look for women or typically “macho-looking” fashion for men. Both male and female followers of the punk era, then and now, have the benefit of mixing and matching outfits and accessories which could range from flashy and loud statement pieces [for example, Madonna’s large cross pendants], or go for lace, leather or metal studded gloves as worn by bands such as Good Charlotte. Leather is another popular punk and rock fashion element, and has been revamped for the punk fashion genre via the addition of metal chains, multiple buttons, and safety pins.
While not religious in its affiliation, punk fashion has made the wearing of religious motifs and prints fashionable, and at times, creates controversy. However, that appears to be the point of punk fashion, and punk fashion followers wear their crosses and t-shirts with images of various Gods with pride.
No punk fashion outfit is complete without essential, typically-punk accessories, and makeup. A punk outfit must be complemented with the right shoes; Doc Marten boots are preferable among classic punk followers, while the more modern generation might prefer thigh-high lace up boots. The recent inclusion of punk-influenced fashion by mainstream couture designers has ensured a punk influence on runways around the world, and it is currently fashionable to pair studded chokers with evening gowns, and to wear a leather jacket in lieu of a dinner jacket. Colored or streaked hair, dark eye makeup, and over-sized accessories make punk fashion what it is; loud, rebellious and individualistic.