Punk style: origins in England and the USA

The Punk style  makes its way in the mid-1970s in England and the United States. It develops as a youth movement, a symbol of rupture and rebellion: provocative and very critical of society.

The influence of Punk is present in many art forms, such as: literature, visual art, music and fashion.

It all began with Music …

It all began with the New York and London music scene of those years. It was 1976: the music became deafening, rough (hence the name punk, which literally means “poor quality”) with bands like Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash. The compositions had fast rhythms, hard sounds, generally of short duration, essential instrumentation and texts with violent and provocative contents, often with a strong political connotation.

Fashion and Punk Clothes

Aesthetically, perhaps it was one of the movements that most of all adopted single forms and codes, as opposed to everything that was and has been there. Clothing, hairstyles, make-up are a way to mark one’s identity and communicate a clear message of discomfort. “Bourgeois” clothes, such as a jacket and tie, in the hands of punks get “DIRTY” and filled with pins and studs.

With the Punk style the fashion of piercing was born : safety pins and razor blades are used to pierce the skin. They manifest their contestation through pain and masochism. Everything, from music to art, has as its only denominator a deep anger that cyclically re-explodes and manifests itself against the social and economic situation of the world.

Other elements of punk clothing are leather jackets , in particular the “nail”, sometimes decorated with spray writing, pins and bondage clothes. As footwear, punks wear brothel creeper, converse, winklepicker and Dr. Martens.

The entry of Punk into Fashion

In the initial idea,  the Punk style had to be characterized as a rejection of the canons of fashion itself. But in fact, it was anything but so …

The consecration of Punk in fashion is due to Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren with the opening of their clothing store in London in the 70s: the creations were extravagant and provocative.

Westwood shows her models for the first time in London in 1981, with the Pirate collection. These no longer find inspiration only from street fashion and the world of youth, but also from tradition and technique.

Her search for this style has explored all eras: she was the first contemporary designer to re-propose, modernizing them, the corset and the faux-cul , tailoring elements that now seemed buried.

After them there were many stylists who in the following years drew on the Punk style, often ending up by neglecting its symbolic value and its original “power”, favoring the pure aesthetic code, often making it glamorous, or the negation of the message initial.

The first in Italy to resume Punk and Gianni Versace, transforming it in a sexy and hyper feminine way.

The last to be inspired by the Punk world and get it on the catwalk was Desigual with its new Autumn – Winter Extraordinary collection , presented at  New York Fashion Week .

The brand pays tribute to the individuality and independence of women: visible underwear, industrial jewelery, animal prints , stripes, checks and tartans with a slim and slender fit, like the essential leggings. The protagonist was the bright red and the underground music  of those years.

The oversize of coats and dresses is combined with a feminine design with miniskirts and minidresses.

In short, the punk style is present in many realities and currents of thought and it is for this reason that fashion continues to adopt it, making it one of its “workhorses”.