How punk history has influenced fashion today


Kevin Thomas

A pair of Doc Martens, a staple shoe for the punk scene.

Punk fashion was a revolution for the world. It was a reset for society and a new beginning.

Punk fashion came to life in 1976 as a protest and rebellious act against the hippie movement that was happening at the time. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood were the fire starters for punk themes in the fashion world.

Punk or emo fashion has been considered the rebellious side of fashion because it isn’t as “glamorous” or “polished” as society is used to. For some people, the punk scene was a way to express their true feelings through their clothes or use it as a protest.

While America was in its era of hippie patterns, long hair and sandals to protest the war, England was onto something else. They had coined the usage of Dr. Martens, jean jackets and dark clothing.

Messages of rebellion, freedom of speech and the freedom to wear and do what you want were strong motivations behind the punk scene. It was a moment for future trailblazers.

The punk clothing was so captivating to designers that it was catapulted onto runways. Designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Thiery Mugler and even the one believed to start it all, Vivienne Westwood. Punk on the runway was very opposing compared to the streets.

Runway punk was catered by different elements and used more examples of patterns and textures. Patterns of plaid were prevalent on the runway with fringed hems and asymmetrical designs.

Street punk often had a meaning of political beliefs, from colored laces that often had different meanings or patches sewn to jackets that were symbols of rebellion. Street punks were also inspired by the musicians of the time such as the Ramones, who are believed to have popularized Levi’s 505 jeans.

Both runway and street catered to the message that punk was trying to create or establish because they were often so politically motivated.

Many of that time’s fashion trends are still popular and being worn to this day.

Dr. Martens are a great example of this. These shoes made a comeback into the fashion world in 2018. The sleek yet grungy look was so captivating to the world that they came back into style. The shoe is so diverse allowing you to dress outfits up or down, but the brand also provides different and newer styles.

Band tees have been around for some time, but the punk scene was a big influence on this. It carried into the ‘90s and ‘00s, when rappers had their faces and names plastered onto shirts. The bands that once inspired the late ‘70s now have their shirts being sold everywhere and being worn by everyone.

The punk culture was a turn for the fashion industry, but also a political movement for the people who felt unheard or neglected.