Sub-culture Style: Punk

Sara Macauley investigates the trend-defying movement of the seventies, explaining why we should all get punked up

Sara Macauley
23rd November 2015

If you’re asked to imagine ‘punk fashion,’ I’d bet my last penny that you’re dreaming up images of leather trouser rocking, clumpy new rock wearing, spiked haired smoky-bar dwellers. With its origins in New York City nightlife, it was said that the notorious Punk movement which was set to rebel against the late sixties ‘summer of love’ found a home in the infamous dive bar CBGB’s. Punk veterans Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and The Ramones were just a few of the star studded crowd to grace the beer stained carpet of this anti-establishment hub.

Across the pond, you might be a bit more surprised to learn that the Kings Road, an area now saturated with Made in Chelsea-like socialites, was actually at the forefront of the rebel- fashion movement when it all began. In the late seventies, the now prestigious area of Chelsea which prides itself on style and finesse was once the British heart of the archaic punk fashion phase. You were far more likely to hear the thumping vibrations of rock and roll music than the click clack of stilettos.

“As a lifelong advocate of all black fashion and a lover of leather, I’m more than a bit pleased that the punk trend isn’t dead”

The Queen of rebellion and famed anarchist that is Vivienne Westwood was of course at the centre of punk-mania, not least because of her ties to Sex Pistol’s manager Malcolm McLaren.

The Punk power couple were figure heads for one of fashion’s most defiant trends, and their shop, appropriately named ‘Sex,’ stocked the staples which attracted Punks from all over the country.

Carbon black leather jackets, slashed slogan tee’s and skin tight jeans lined the walls, and the shop was staffed by none other than Glen Matlock, bass player of the Sex Pistols and Chrissie Hynde, front woman of The Pretenders. Rubber outfits, zips and bondage outfits were bought en mass, and sex was selling like never before.

Today, punk fashion has been distilled into mainstream fashion and influences of the rebellion could be found in Louis Vuitton’s SS16 catwalk collection which featured bubblegum pink leather jackets edged with black duct tape, and creeper shoes clumpier than any Clarks school range.  Netted mesh tops featuring cold shoulders were worn by raven haired models, and denim boilersuits were punked up with spiked handbags and shoes which could cause serious damage.

Thankfully, the good old British High Street is currently offering some less-fear inducing items in the form of eyelet punched bodycon dresses from Topshop and tassled leather skirts from H&M. Online, you can always count on  Motel Rocks to pack a punch.

If you fancy giving the punk trend a try, I’d vote pairing a retro band tee with your leather of choice (a tassle skirt, skin tight trousers or a fierce jacket are all good options) and finishing the look off with a pair of old classics – Doc Martens. As a lifelong advocate of all black fashion and a lover of leather, I’m more than a bit pleased that the punk trend isn’t dead. If you’re after a sartorial shake up this winter , going punk is guaranteed to boost your confidence. Release your inner rebel and get punked up.

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