The Resurgence of Punk Fashion
What is left of the fashion world without the ones who dare to challenge the rules? All the revolutionaries have challenged the norms and after all, rules are meant to be broken.
Fashion can be an invitation to explore aesthetics and creativity, while engaging with the affairs of the daily life. Those who accept this invitation, have the ability to shape and influence culture and future trends. This is a powerful tool, it can be used to communicate social and cultural concerns, incite curiosity and spark outrage. Those who dare to provoke an emotional response through what they are wearing, can later become style icons of a generation.
We live in a world where fashion has become homogeneous. People walk around wearing the same style, same designer, and the same colours. Celebrity culture has people dressing in uniforms, emulating the style of their favourite celebrity, so it is safe to say that individuality today is in shortage?
Fashion in the end is a commodity, and its main purpose is to dress us for a particular occasion. The power of fashion however is that it challenges us to think about our culture, rules and ourselves. Is it possible to convey your internal thoughts through fashion, without saying a word? Absolutely. That is what Coco Chanel did by challenging the norms of how women were supposed to look like in the twentieth-century and giving them a masculine style that symbolised power at the time. You may not see her as a defiant figure, but she surely was ground-breaking for her time.
The remarkable fashion of the 1970s was part of the “Punk Movement”. The “punk style” was all about challenging order and the establishment. The outfits were made of bondage gear, razor blades, dog collars, chokers, chains, and tartan fabric, with the makeup and hair done in a shocking and outrageous manner.
Vivienne Westwood probably carries the torch when it comes to Punk. She is a British fashion designer who opened the doors of her famous boutique in King’s Road, called SEX, with Malcolm McLaren in 1974.
McLaren became manager of the punk rock band The Sex Pistols, and together with Westwood they became in charge of dressing the band. It is considered that the ability both had of merging fashion with music, shaped the 1970s punk scene in the United Kingdom.
Today, Westwood continues to be a very successful designer. She created and wore outrageous outfits that challenged the system, and also designed merchandised to support her political views such as climate change, civil rights groups and the nuclear disarmament campaign. Images of her S&M leather outfits and bright red hair will forever live on. She inspired recent collections of renowned brands such as Fendi and Versace.
Undoubtedly, Westwood is the woman who brought punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream and contributed to the styles we see today on the high street.
The collections presented during London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2017, and the big trends of today such as chokers and collars, make us believe that the Punk style has made a comeback, but if you think about it, has it ever really left?