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  • Writer's pictureLauren Harris

History of Fashion: Punk

In this segment, I will be talking about the history of fashion! Not only the history of clothes, but how it ties to the music associated with it and the culture.

This week is all about Punk Culture! With Halloween being next Monday, I thought there was no better time than now to explore all that is Punk!

Punk is, and was, a protest against the mainstream culture and media. Starting around the 1970s, the punk aesthetic was dirty, unkept and anti-materialistic. While much at this time was bright and flashy (think Austin Powers and disco), much of punk was ripped jeans, messy hair and work boots, such as Dr. Martins. This movement was started by many lower-class individuals who couldn’t afford, and then protested, that which was considered mainstream and popular.

A large part of punk is also shock factor. While not good and often very offensive, in the 70s especially there were lots of brands selling items with nazi swastikas as well as gory imagery and other… negative messaging. The shirts, pants and jackets that may have contained this offensive imagery were also then torn, as popular in punk fashion. These images and symbols were not worn for the actual message, but more to get a reaction out of others. Still not good to be wearing items like this at all though.

Similar, though much less… offensive, BDSM wear and lingerie has also been a large factor in punk trends/style! Items such as fishnets or harnesses are very popular within the punk community. Mismatching is/was a large thing too; such as wearing a tutu with heavy combat boots. Lots of mixing (specifically in women’s fashion) delicate and stereotypically feminine things with hyper-masculine accessories. 

Heavy piercings and accessories were also a must. With clothes being held together by safety pins, and even having safety pins for piercings!! Anything and everything was a means of identity and individualism.

Hair underwent many changes — from choppy, purposefully messy cuts to colorful and bright looks, and then to mohawks, mullets, shaved heads and more.

Honestly, even though punks look a bit scary, they (the majority of the time) are some of the sweetest people. The values that come with being punk (minus Skin Heads, but we don’t like them) is to cause change in society. There are a lot of anti-racist morals, as well as socialist ideals, and lots of people in the punk community are queer too. So basically, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Some of my favorites/most well-known include:

G*ps*-Punk/Dark Cabernet

Think burlesque, but much rougher and dirtier. The music for this genre was actually a mix of traditional Romani music and punk rock. The look of this group is very interesting as it can mix fetish wear, burlesque and in the case of G*ps* punk, traditional Romani dress, such as shawls.


This group can often overlap with skater punk, but it is largely the music that separates the two, even when the fashion is similar. Think peak 2010s, listening to Panic! at the Disco or 21 Pilots. Black skinny jeans, band hoodies or t-shirts, chunky belts, thin ties and chunky shoes.


Mainly in the 70s, Glam Punk was big into glitter, androgyny and bright colors. While still having the same clothing pieces as other categories in punk, (ie. fetish wear, leather, ripped clothing, etc) it was usually not black, and they added more dramatic pieces, such as ruffled blouses, and far more corsets.

Famous punk designers—

Some very well-known designers either started punk or have always drawn that community towards them, examples being:

Vivian Westwood

Thierry Mugler

Jean Paul Gaultier

Steven Sprouse

Anna Sui

I don’t know about you but when I heard about some of these having origins in Punk, I was absolutely blown away!!

Thank you so much for reading I hope you found this interesting and enjoyable!! Until next week! Have a great Halloween!!!!


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