Punk Music and Fashion: An Overview
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Published: Mon, 22 May 2017
Chapter 4: Finding and Analysis
The first discussion of this dissertation in this chapter is how “punk” initially is just music. This is followed by how “punkers” dress up as a reflection to their music. This costume soon became a part of world fashion due to its uniqueness and emphasising on something that is really different that global fashion does not have.
This costume is easily attracting the youth around the world especially in the United Kingdom and United States where punk was firstly known. Even many fashion designers and high street stores are adopting a hint of punk costume to their design thus has given punk fashion a place in a youth lifestyle.
Hence the Author will reveal the finding from the music before moving to costume, fashion, and lifestyle. A DIY (Do It Yourself) concept will be brought as final discussion as it changes the nature of punk in all aspects.
As mentioned previously that punk was born because of the dissatisfaction of a community of youth about social and political situation globally and narrowly in each nation. These policies and situation particularly affecting the life of people who are very depending to the politicians and the condition they create. Therefore a community of youth had decided to rebel with music as a media. This music is what people know as a punk music which commonly full of anger and complaints.
There are many kinds of punk music. Each kind has its own characteristic that gives them identity to their music. The differentiations are coming from the music they play, costume they wear, and the manner and attitude they carry out
Anarcho punk is the hardest punk in punk community because the violence appears to have become part of their lives. Beside that they are very idealist with the ideology which they bring, the ideologies are Anti Authoritarianism and Anti Capitalist. Conflict, Crass, Flux of Pink Indians are the bands for Anarcho Punk
There is another community which claims they self as the most brutal punk, they are Crust Punk. They took Crust from definition of Crustiest. The Crustiest are often doing a variety of rebellion in their day-today. They play Heavy metal, similar with Anarcho Punk and most of Crust Punk is anti-social, they just want to socialize with other crustiest only.
Mostly the members of this community are artists who often expressed their life in their daily life with works of art. They are people who take everything calm and relax; they do not like conflict with other people.
This community play music with a feel of the beat-beat so make they music quickly becomes their obligation. Hard core Punk was born in the 1980s, a little bit late that the other community, but the spirit of rebellion is very thick in their life, day by day, even sometimes, their members are often thorny.
Nazi Punk was beginning developing in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. “A nazi punk is a neo-nazi who us part of the punk subculture. The term also describes a type of music associated with them” (Wallace 2007: 186). Usually they having a lyric that express hatred for blacks, Jews, homosexuals, anarchists and other perceived enemies. This is show that they different from early punks who are thought to have incorporate nazi imaginary such as Swastikas for shock or comedy value.
The Oi usually consist of the Hooligan, who often makes damage everywhere, especially in the football match. Sometime they called them self as Skinheads. The Skinheads itself adopted the principles of hard work are mandatory, so even though they often create a fracas, they are still thinking about their capability. In addition, The Skinheads is often problematic same with Crust Punk and Anarcho Punk.
This is the special of punk community because they consist of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual. Somehow they could be danger if there is a dare disrupt them; moreover they are not close with other punk communities.
This community consist of woman who is out of the Hard Core Punk that began form in 1991. They are not want to interact with other woman, it is seem similar with queer core who want interact with other communities because they think they were special, different from others.
Scum punk is the only one community who is qualified to be follow. Many member of Scum Punk are clean, good health, comfortable and moral, in addition they did not consume substances that can damage the body of their own. They called them self as Straight Edge Scene.
Ska punk was popular around 1990s because they are very interesting merger between punk music with reggae and common origin of Jamaica. They also have special dance called Skanking Pogo, an energetic dance, which according to the music of Ska Punk that has a very fast beat.
This community is the general punk who people know. Punk rock was born between 1974 to 1976 in United Kingdom then quick developed to United States and Australia. They have fast and hard-edged music, typically with short songs, striped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk rock embrace a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) concept, with many bands self-producing their recordings and distributing them through informal channels.
Post Punk is the community who was born after punk rock between 1976-1977. The music were experimental, the sound that tended to be less pop and more dark, abrasive and an anti-establishment. The post-punk band such as Joy Division, The Fall, and Throbbing Gristle.
New age well known as new wave but they are complementary label for the formative scenes and groups also known as punk. The music were broadening their instrumental palette, incorporating dance-oriented rhythms, and working with more polished production was specifically designated new wave. They bring element of punk rock music and fashion into more pop-oriented, likewise they leave punk fashion, which seems aggressive to more fashionable and dandy.
Pop punk was born combined pop-style tunes and lyrical themes with punk’s speed and chaotic edge in the late 1970s. In 1980s many bands pop punk was burn such as NOFX, Green Day and Off Spring who brings pop punk more popular into TV and major records label. Pop punk got many critics as many punk rock community who was born in 1970s claim that pop punk is not punk music, because they feel the song and lyric has change to a sloopy music.
Fashion and identity
There are many type of clothing that identify punk costumes but the identity of the clothing itself will be different because it depends on who is wearing it. Moreover what people wear will be give them a personal identity. “Personal identity could divide into several parts such as height, skin, gender, color of hair and clothing that worn or carried.” (Barnard, 1996: 21). He agreed that clothing nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it.
Somehow a dress that people wear could have some perception about the personality of those who are wearing it. This means clothing always bring a message. Barnes & Eicher point out that”Every clothes carries a strong message about its owner, and every owner has a certain value in it depending on his mindset, desire, or today’s mood. Additionally, the clothing of a person is a mean of communication with the outside world. It is the way of telling people about the “state” and the”status” of it owner” ( 125).
Communication through Fashion as a Sign
Fashion could be a sign of recognition but it cannot be used to express a desire to “have a burger for your lunch”, or to arguing while we have discussion with friends. Nevertheless, we could use fashion for another communication, which better suited such as gesture or words as a purpose, even there are words displayed on your t-shirt.
Clothes and body that people are wearing forms physical presence in the social world where they are participating and have activities in it. Fashion signs an expression of an individual’s social identity. Roach and Eicher had declared tht “fashion and clothing symbolically tie a community together” (1992: 18). This statement suggests that what clothes will be worn by someone will make the social agreement stronger than before. In this case, punk have clothes and accessories which worn by the punkers and put more respect to them as a group or a community.
Punk in United Kingdom
Punk are becoming a role and phenomenal in United Kingdom, not only for the music but also for the fashion. Almost every country in the world got the influence by punk, where it was born in 1960s, and today it still alive while many music and fashion have been starting to show during these eras until a decade ahead.
Punk music and fashion already prove themselves that they are evolving ages by ages with their way that is amazing. According to the in interview in United Kingdom, one of the respondents, Pallawaruka (2009) argues that “punk is phenomenal, and definitely, transformation ages by ages”.
In term of evolution, punk began with punk rock, before altered to post punk, then new age and new wave or well known as electro clash. With their alteration, the root, the idealist, the concept is still punk, and its strong enough. Therefore, it is shown that punk fashion is timeless and will continue to make punk stronger, exist, and well known every year.
In United Kingdom itself, many people are influenced by the idea for their style from punk, as well in additionally in Indonesia. Many people have put on tattoos, piercings on their body, wearing Doc. Martens (a characterized boots for punkers), stud metal or the new style. Almost every man that is found on street has a Mohawk hairstyle regardless their background or jobs. This is happening also in celebrity world. For instance, as the one of the UK born role model, trend setter, and a soccer player in the world, David Beckham also influence by Mohawk hairstyle. (picture) This case shown that fashion punk is to be loved by everyone and get easily adopted by either the people in punk community or not. That is why; most of people believe fashion punk has a strong chemistry to make people more confidence because somehow people could be a public attention from their environment.
Punk in Indonesia
The expansion of punk had reach Indonesia unavoidably. Indonesia is a liberal country and is very open to the world. Therefore what is being the trend globally can be easily followed by the Indonesian.
In addition of having a great influence by punk because it is highly interesting to follow, The Author argues that sometimes punk community is still has a negative point of view from older or other young people. Punk community is still become minorities but the style seemingly big than the community.
Similar in other country, many people who are not listening to punk music or not in the circle of punk community, they follow fashion punk for their life style. According to the in interview in Indonesia, one of the respondents, Permana (2009) argues that “punk as life style than just a fashion or music”. Therefore, it is shown that punk gives big influence to social relations, choice of fashion, entertainment and behaviour.
The Cuts, as one of the band that had genre electro clash punk since 1994 from Indonesia has declared that at the beginning of punk born, the youth want to attract many people because they want to make an alteration at the present time. There many youth comfort with the style of fashion punk itself. That is why punk is remain strong enough to be a reflection of their identity in the different way, different signature which it could grasp the desire of youth.
Punk Fashion is interesting to find out increasingly. How to ascertain this type fashion becomes self-actualization of identity a person. There is an interesting fact that fashion punk is still to be loved with its revolution ages by ages at the moment and how the awareness of young people nowadays who like music electro clash realize that their music has same roots with punk. Interestingly many interviewees said that they do not know about it, according to one interviewee in Indonesia. One of the respondents, Sadevi (2009) argues that she did not think that electro clash has same roots with punk. Therefore, it is shown that there are people who do not exactly know what punk is it and where electro clash come from, they just listening the music and dress like electro class community because they like it.
In addition, punk is the most theatrical youth culture movement as well in Indonesia. With it is rooted in the underground movement, punk becomes a big issue of young people from a cross section of classes, punk dress code, music, and lifestyle.
Around1990s, almost majority of young people in Indonesia adopted the whole ideology and concept from United Kingdom or United States punks. They wore studded jacket, gravity-defying hairstyles, and pants patched with angry slogans. Mulvagh (1999) points out that “Punk is a state of mind, and was a fashion. It had the greatest impact on western popular culture – from music to fashion, from graphic design to politics – of any youth movement since the hippies in the 1960s.” (1999: 83).
“Punk is about making a statement (…..). Mohawk hairstyle, leather jacket, stud metal, safety pins, and boots are only sign to make a statement to the public because they want alteration of poverty and illiteracy. These visual statements emerged to deride of respectable social life. Moreover, this is a reaction to conservative government, which did not give youth a freedom to develop their skills. Indonesia punk has a similar story about this. Young people in Indonesia who have been involved in the scene for almost a decade through that parading punk fashion could demonstrate a rebellious visual at social norms.
However, punk in Indonesia has own developing nowadays, which is show, a good side for the young people. They took DIY (Do-It-Yourself) concept to develop their skill and expand their business in fashion and music.
The analysis will deliver the discussion about punk attitude and culture in term of lifestyle. Although it was already touched in the previous sub chapter, this one will go in deeper. Emphasizes on this discussion are about punk attitude and culture in relation with the fashion.
Analysis of Punk
Public has made common view about punk and define punk as a trouble maker because their attitude somehow bothering other people such as, gather around on the corner of the street, drink a lot of alcohols and try to make noises by throw the empty bottles. This was experienced as well by the author while still in the circle of punk in Indonesia. That is some picture of punkers in Indonesia who gives punk a bad name and image. They are doing it by making damages, that many of them roam the streets and perform a variety of criminal acts such as taking drugs so that make people worry and feel agitated.
Punk is recognizable from their fashion and their behaviour. Loads of them wearing boots, chain and spike, leather jacket, tight jeans, Mohawk hairstyle, heavy drinking, anti-social, so many people who think people with those styles referred as a punker (……). As Daugherty defines, that, “Punk fashion pertains to the style of clothing for members of the punk community. As soon as punk music was initially, find in the 1970s, punk fashion became unruly, rebellious and scandalous. While the style of the 70s was at odds with the look of punk at present, during that point in time it was viewed as obviously aggressive”. (2002).
Punk has been growing as a frustration feeling of the low class people through music, and at that time, alongside they have to speak up to their government they also felt disappointed with the music industry where at that time dominated by well-established rock musicians, such as Rolling stone and The Beatles. They bored with love songs that touch the heart because they play songs cry like protest against the sadistic demonstrators of the world. Punk song lyrics expressed anger, tired and frustration of the rules, low education, unemployment, rough work, and government and the figure of a leader towards the citizen. It could be say that in music industry punk not often get an opportunity to sell their music, they do not have any place because many recording companies are refusing to cooperate with them.
Analysis of Punk fashion History
Now everyone knows what punk fashion is, but in the early 1970s there was an appearance around the year which many people do not know this because in the early birth punk was born in London as an anarchic and aggressive movement. Approximately 200 young people recognize themselves as anti-fashion with a stream of loud, angry music and aggressive (……)
Punker has an interesting dress or costume, such as a torn t-shirt with leather jackets and leather pants to be one of them; sometimes they are also wearing jeans that are tight and combined with t-shirt with the names of the band or their criticism against the government. For the style of hair, usually Mohawk style or spike became their main style. For this style, the hair of many regular people follows because it is very interesting, but sometimes even lead to the impression responsibility. Besides that, they wear body piercing chains, bracelet spike, and regular sneakers like Converse or Doc. Martens for the shoes.
Few of people imitate punk style even they are not in the community of punk or even listening to the music. Punk fashion got its way to the people because sometimes punkers mix the punk fashion with the style of this era, that eventually even damaging the image of the punkers itself. That is not a big deal for them as they still have an identity from what they wearing. Winter agreed that “Punk fashion makes statement to the person who wears it.Tthe style of clothing entirely relies upon the individual who is wearing it; hence, it becomes an expression of how s/he views herself/himself, which gave rise to the concept of ‘individual identity'” (Winter 2004: 19)
The beginning of Punk fashion (1970s)
Punk fashion was first born when punk rock emerged in the middle of the music industry circa 1970s in United Kingdom. Punk fashion was known for its rebellious, wild and shocking while at that time the fashion was looking very different. Hence punk fashion was practically a huge break and somewhat sensational and confrontational at the time in global fashion.
Proceeded by Malcolm McLaren as manager of punk band called ‘Sex Pistol’ which is used to study as a student at St.Martens collage which was well known for its fashion study, making clothes for a member of the Sex Pistols. McLaren working with his partner at the time, Vivienne Westwood, a famous designer, was finally catching the perfect time to give great influence to the punk fashion of the time to enter the global fashion world. Torn T-shirts, offensive clothing, and Anarchy symbols were very popular with the punk subculture during the 70’s. Additionally, controversial images, patches, and studded or plain leather jackets were the staples of the punk style and remain prevalent today.
In favour of footwear, punk also has their unique motorcycle style through sneakers to boots like Chuck Taylors and Doc.Marteens brands. Leather pants, leather jackets, tapered jeans; metal studs dominated the punk clothing scene as well.
Conversely there were also times where people began stand up to appear in bright colours, lengths, and extreme short hairstyle. This time was only the beginning of what would become even more controversial in the world of fashion.
Hardcore Punk Fashion (1980s)
After the shocking rebellion of the 1970s, the punk fashion scene has been starting to go into a different revolution and more focus to the function of punk fashion itself than a means to make punk that is more controversial. In this era, Doc.Martens and combat boots brands are so chosen by the followers of the punk.
Usually the punkers bought their t-shirt and other clothing from thrift stores then their design the new one such as put on their band names or controversial slogan on them with markers. Flannel shirts also popular during this time, and stud metal with leather rocker jacket finally met their match during 1980s.
Punk fashion is very popular among young adults and teenager. Although there are many types of fashion style, punk fashion trends are constantly changing and evolving. There are also variations of the punk subcultures and each variation seems to follow its own fashion trends. Haydyn reminded that Punk was not dead, just 20 years old, the ideal age for revolution. “But Punk is respectable now.” (Pretty in punk:19)
While in the year 1970s people began to dare more experimental with their hairs, in the 1980s the style was even more radical than the 1970s. Mohawks hairstyle and skips can be find everywhere because almost all young children have this hairstyle. Tattoos and piercings became popular during this growing time, even piercing shops and tattoo began to swell in every the corners in the city of London.
Contemporary Punk Fashion
With the birth of much variety of factions within the punk subculture fashion, there are also some contemporary elements of various styles among the various groups. If we know standard of punk fashion was a leather jacket, spikes, and torn t-shirt, then, is this era we will discover something different such as jeans, hoodie and t-shirts simple. This style is very different from the commercialisation of punk clothing.
There are many different types of punk fashion since the beginning of the original look in the 1970s. Since that time clothing, store and even fashion designers took the concept of punk fashion as something new and deserves to be ogled a big influence.
Punk fashion is from the initial expression of nonconformity and resistance to mainstream culture and cons of living hippie. Punk fashion was show frequent rebellion and individualism. Even some of the members of this punk clothes or tattoos that was reveal the social messages and political. Punk can be regarded as a visual art, which often includes the kinds of messages in it.(…..). That is why some of them design their own wearing clothes instead of buy the clothes in the stores, because it is a question of anti-consumerist. This is characterized the contemporary punk fashion.
Analyses of Punk Band fashion
The style of this community is an evolution of the original punk fashion. The main characteristic of this punk fashion style is heavy work pants, torn band T-shirt or hoodies that cover pants. Studded black vest and denim jackets are often worn with bullets belt and some jewellery made from hemp or bum flaps. Usually some of them make their own clothes from cheap materials they buy, and add baseball caps with patches sewn to add them more cool style.
Fashion style of this community is usually wearing tight pants, band T-shirts, and boots. Mohawks and liberty spikes rarely seen but some of them still like to wear leather jackets and even rarely used because of their claim that some who vegans believes that leather jacket will killing the animals, so they usually wear imitation leather or clothes that have the same design with leather products. The characteristics of this community are always wearing black, which is a symbol of anarchist.
Gothic Rock Punk
As the name implies clear black colour is the choice for punk rock gothic style. Nevertheless, for the affairs of their faces one swore like a thick makeup to look more fierce and cruel. Usually they are often paint bands name in their T-shirts or jacket to have a different look from the others but somehow this ideology of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is very strong visible because they are confident that what they make and wear is good. Furthermore, Mohawk or spikes are very much visible in this community.
Pop punk community of the most wore simple clothes among other community like band T-shirts with ties or scarves, jacket, dickies pants, or short jeans, studded belt and converse shoes. Style is what ultimately still exist until the year 2009 because not too many changes and preferred because simple but still look good without trying hard to dress the hair and face.
Punk fashion in Movie Industry
Punk fashion does not only impact on designers and young people but affect the film industry. There are some films that obtain the inspiration from punk, one of which is the movie “This is England” which tells the punk style in the early 1980s. Almost all the features and code from punks are interpreted in this movie. Even all the actors and actresses this film do not bother to colour their hair to get the punk characters looking because they had been included in one group of the punk movement very extreme in style and also their attitude. This film shows how punk portrait of community life. In the end, this time punk fashion has changed from fashion style into lifestyle. Everything is about how to think than how to dress. The way they dress determines their social status.
Analyses and Discussion about the Revolution of Punk Fashion
Punk Fashion in 2009
Punk movement including its music and fashion has already passed three decades now and still has the charisma of the best style ever. Fashion, style and taste might be change as many variables in fashion keeps coming in but this do not apply to punk fashion. In a fact, in 2009 punk fashion becomes the favourite by the public and especially the youth.
Punk fashion was revolution year-by-year and growing from the original punk fashion to electro clash punk that is quite drastic. Punk fashion initially knows only black and red however, this time its known with many bright and brave colours. (picture) there are many youth like electro clash punk today so that make punk fashion with new transformation likely by youth because it gives more vibrant colours to fashion. The author analysis deeper, the roots of the electro clash punk is pop punk who brings a more simple fashion into the punk community. Pop punk community usually wearing band T-shirt, jeans and converse provides new ideas for youth to develop and give them an expression by adding some accessories in their style such as blazer, hat, polo shirts with any colors.
Brands used by punk community such as Fred Ferry, Ben Sherman is currently providing some new design and changes it to be more acceptable by youth who was born in the era of the millennium. Not only certain brands that have influences from the punk revolution, but almost of designers feel the same way, including Jimmy Choo, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood who was known as the mother of punk fashion because she has important role in the punk movement.
Some people who have been interview in the United Kingdom and Indonesia agreed that punk fashion gives a big enough impact of their style because punk fashion is not only about style anymore but also about its turn become lifestyle.
Punk ideology such as DIY (Do-It-Yourself) provides a good way for youth who still want to look cool without having to spend lots of money for buying designers because this ideology make they more creative in expression and create fashion for their own ideas, moreover this way is acceptable in amid recession present. Youth could buy a cheap material to be transforming into a spectacular fashion that makes them confident about their style.
In 2009 actually was the right moment to show himself or herself that punk still acceptable and exist in public. This is not just about wearing T-shirt held together with safety pins, or about big army boots or, ripped jeans with chains but at this moment punk comes to subvert long-standing garments like the school blazer, the tweed cardigans jacket, the military jacket, the tartan kit, among many other. Punk fashion is about how to make statement, how to show the identity and personality through the clothes s/he wore.
Punk Fashion as an Identity
According to Annaleigh Valiie, fashion is a great communicator. “We share similar aspirations, we believe in the restoration of our crafts. We are that link, taking something that is a hobby and turning it into something that is high fashion. In essence, we are marketing our culture; we cannot be regarding as valuable as Gucci or any other high-end product.” (Annaleigh Vallie. 2007: 11)
We have become a benchmark fashion as an indication of social status and recognise the social group in the environment where the person resides. At the same time, fashion is also a form of social control: people were often required to dress in a certain manner indicated that particular aspects of their social identities.
Initially, punk fashion was not getting good response from many people because it considers only the low social status that follows this style. Can be saw from the torn t-shirt that they wear every day and a pair of tattered jeans that are considered not able to buy good clothes. On the other hand, punk fashions were seeing as a very simple style for not a lot of money.
For punk, fashion is not just a story or a label but can be use to indicate a change. It is a way to use a worldwide power to mobilise and to the impulse change. Punk fashion reminds us that being fashionable it is safe to give effect to our own bodies. Label only have a small space in punk fashion because fashion is depends on who wearing the clothes. The Power of Fashion about Design and Meaning declare that “fashion become crucial in serving as reflection of the inner self, the soul, and the individual personality.” (The Power of Fashion about Design and Meaning: 9)
Although initially this fashion punk look choir, not neat, and occupy a low social status, in the end people recognise that there is an interesting thing that can be followed by many people. A minimalist style and is no longer casually show low social status but turned become distinctive social status, unique even just a few people consider it as something special because they are feel that they are ‘different ‘.
Of this social status is born and developed that fashion was as a person’s identity. Vallie state that “fashion is a great communicator. We share similar aspirations, we believe in the restoration of our crafts. We are that link, taking something that is a hobby and turning it into something that is high fashion.” (Annaleigh Vallie 2007:11) Accordong to Vallie statement fashion will be easily identified how a person’s personality just by looking at how the way he dressed. What is in someone’s body like a shirt, pants, shoes, or even a hairstyle that became identity of someone for that person to introduce them without talking.
Punk Fashion as a Lifestyle
These discussions in the last two sub chapters are about punk attitude and culture in term of life style. Eventually how DIY ideology has put creativity in punk music, fashion and eventually turns into lifestyle will be discussed in the following sub chapter.
At the present, people cannot tell the punk movement in the fashion industry, as something that does not affect it is a mistake
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