The UK punk fashion scene in the 1980s was a reaction to mainstream society. It was a time when people were looking for something different, something they could call their own. Punk fashion gave them this opportunity by rejecting traditional styles and creating their own unique look. The movement had an impact on the fashion industry that's still felt today, with many designers drawing inspiration from its bold designs and bright colours.
The Rise of Punk Fashion
The rise of punk fashion in the UK can be traced back to a few key figures and events. In 1976, Vivienne Westwood opened her boutique SEX on King's Road in London with partner Malcolm McLaren, who was also instrumental in bringing punk music and culture to mainstream attention. The store quickly became known as one of the most influential fashion retailers in the world, selling clothing that reflected their own anti-establishment views and values.
In 1977, The Sex Pistols released their first single "Anarchy In The U K" which helped them gain widespread popularity among young people across Britain - particularly those who were dissatisfied with society at large. This led to many other bands releasing similar songs; some even had lyrics specifically referencing Vivienne Westwood's designs!
Punk Fashion Staples
Punk fashion was defined by its bold colours and patterns, as well as its use of leather. The style also incorporated safety pins, studs and other metal ornaments to create a bold look.
The most iconic piece of punk fashion is the leather jacket. Designers like Vivienne Westwood made them for her husband Malcolm McLaren's band Sex Pistols in 1977 and they were seen everywhere on stage at their concerts. The jackets were usually black but could also come in other colours such as red or blue depending on what type you wanted to wear with your outfit. If you didn't want to spend money buying one off the rack at a store then there were plenty of DIY ways to create your own. Buying second-hand and creating your own unique clothing was a big part of the scene, incorporating everyday objects for aesthetic effect. Still today there are tutorials online where people share how they make their own version from scratch using materials like denim jeans instead!
British punks also used fashion as a means to criticize the monarchy; Westwood's "God Save the Queen" shirt featured an image of Queen Elizabeth alongside text reading "She ain't no human being", taken directly from the Sex Pistols single of the same name. Despite the bands denial that the single was produced specifically in reaction to the Queen's Silver Jubilee, the song and Westwood's design were viewed as an affront to British values of patriotism and the monarchy.
- Vivian Westwood
- Sex Pistols
- Johnny Rotten
- Sid Vicious
- Patti Smith
- Sex Pistols
- The Clash
- The Damned