A subculture widely regarded as dead and gone, punk still remains as one of the most notorious movements in music and fashion history. The core concept that punk offered was a counter-hegemonic and individualistic expression, with a DIY ethos and anti-societal attitude. (Dunn 2008, p. 194)

During it’s inception in the 1970’s, punk was a British underground movement in which individuals alienated themselves from the social norm, establishing themselves as misfits to upset the status quo. (Punk Fashion 2006)
Punks would argue the perception of ugliness in society and reflect it unto themselves to project it back through ant-social behavior, music and fashion. (Roots of Punk BBC Documentary from the early years of PUNK in the UK 2013)

CrustPunksWith a nihilistic and volatile approach, punks would mark them
selves with provocative piercings, tattoos, hairstyles and intentionally deconstructed clothing to counteract the previous disco theme. (Pemela 2010) By taking garments and recreating them through rips, tears and markings, they would reflect their ind
ividual self-destructive flare. With the rise of iconic punk rock bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Ramones and Misfits, the punk movement became it’s own subculture.vivpunk

Following the antics of popular punk rock bands, angsty youths were inspired to reject notions of social order and mimic the new popular trend. The punk scene bloomed, and became ironically fashionable. Punk was not conceived as a trend, it was a rebellious lifestyle with intent on public upset. (Alternative Press 2015)
But it still became a marketable opportunity (Westwood 2011), with retail stores supplying pre-torn clothes for people who wanted to look like a rebel without any of the DIY work. Most notably, the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood took inspiration from punk and further instigated it through her own lines of clothing. These clothes were sold in stores such as SEX, owned by Malcolm McLaren, displaying provocative imagery of hate, blasphemy and political statements.


The punk fashion may be outrageous, but punks empowered themselves with a careless attitude and weren’t afraid to express themselves openly. They had a freedom to be who they wanted, and show it through a grotesque peacock display. Each tear in their clothing was a small window to their bare self, and each printed statement they wore was an insight to their psyche, as realised in the Chaos to Couture Exhibition. (Smith 2013)



Dunn, K 2008, Never Mind the Bollocks: The Punk Rock Politics of Global Communication, viewed 31 August 2015, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20542757?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=punk&searchText=fashion&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dpunk%2Bfashion%26amp%3Bprq%3Dpunk%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone%26amp%3Bacc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bhp%3D25%26amp%3Bso%3Drel%26amp%3Bwc%3Don&seq=2#page_scan_tab_contents&gt;

Punk Fashion 2006, viewed 31 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVG130ieKng&gt;

Roots of Punk BBC Documentary from the early years of PUNK in the UK all rights recognised 2013, viewed 31 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v4yQ1aNkR8&gt;

Vivienne Westwood: ‘Punk was just an excuse for people to run around’ 2011, viewed 31 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT5ssoZ80dQ&gt;

Pamela, P 2010, The Development of Punk Fashion, weblog, n.d., viewed 31 August 2015, <http://www.phlem.org.uk/&gt;

Alternative Media 2014, Punk fashion isn’t dead: 4 ways fashion and music are more connected than you think, media release, 25 February, viewed 31 August 2015, <http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/punk_fashion_isnt_dead_4_ways_fashion_and_music_are_more_connected_than_you&gt;

Vivienne Westwood 2. Some of the greatest punks were fashion innovators, image, n.d., viewed 31 August 2015, <http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/punk_fashion_isnt_dead_4_ways_fashion_and_music_are_more_connected_than_you&gt;

Crust punks (mid-1980s), image, n.d., viewed 31 August 2015, <http://www.papermag.com/2013/05/punk_fashion_outside_the_met.php&gt;

Punk takes over New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – lemag 2013, viewed 31 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4PLX1jXWp8&gt;

Smith, Q 2013, PUNK: Chaos to Couture Exhibition Revealed, weblog, 7 May, viewed 31 August 2015, <https://blogs.nordstrom.com/fashion/punk-chaos-to-couture-exhibition-revealed/&gt;

Chaos to Couture, image, n.d., viewed 31 August 2015, <https://blogs.nordstrom.com/fashion/punk-chaos-to-couture-exhibition-revealed/&gt;