Fashion History

Punk Influence: 70s To Now

Punk has influenced a whole range of subcultures. We quite often see it today with eboys and egirls. They seem to be the new wave of modern punk. Of course, traditional punks still exist, but you can definitely see a more filtered down approach with other fashion movements. Over the past couple of decades, we have seen emos and scene kids which definitely take some influence from the punks of the 70s.

Bikini Kill

The riot grrrl movement of the 90s was the female revolution within punk. These women brought a whole new meaning to the word. Their fashion was a lot more feminine but still carried the punk values. Riot Grrrls were protesting the lack of equality within the punk culture. Punk was a revolution, a big middle finger to societal norms, the riot grrrls were giving their own middle finger to the lack of diversity. Women were treated differently at shows and often assaulted and attacked. So these women decided enough is enough. They became the musicians and advocated for mainly women audiences as a safe space away from predators. They dressed femininely in dresses and ponytails as a way to say ‘hey we’re girls and so what’. Often they couldn’t even play instruments, they just decided to stick it to the man and it became its own movement.

Courtney Love

The riot grrrl and the grunge scene have a lot of similarities. If you look at Courtney Love from the band Hole, you can see she often dresses feminine, just like the riot grrrl women, yet she was considered grunge. Was it mainly due to the music she made? It was punk but it wasn’t quite the same as the revolutionary music coming from bands like Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Love was different. Maybe the company she kept encouraged her to be seen in a certain light? Courtney Love was the wife of Kurt Cobain, an icon of the grunge scene. As a running theme, you’ll notice that grunge, too, is a response to societal norms. Grunge music was described as a punk and metal hybrid. Starting in Seattle, USA. Grunge became an anti-consumerist movement. Clothing was often secondhand and thrifted, the cheaper your clothes the more popular you were. The more ‘unkept’ you looked the cooler you were. Messy hair, messy clothes, and messy make up we’re the primary ingredients to make a grunge kid.

During the 2000s scene and emo kids started popping up. A distinct difference between the two. Emo kids were visibly more influenced by punks, and scene kids by goths. Emos were not so different from the grunge kids of the 90s except you started to see original 70s punk sneaking its way back in with checkered trousers and chains. Their make up consisted of dark eyeshadow (sometimes red) and sometimes a dark lip, not too different from grunge. Big emo influencers were the band ‘My Chemical Romance’ and Hayley Williams from ‘Paramore’. The makeup of the original punks could be seen more in the scene movement. Punks and goths were not so different in the 70s and 80s, their make up was interchangeable, so you could say that scene kids were influenced by either of the two subcultures, but they more closely resemble goths.

My Chemical Romance

More modern interpretations of punk can be seen in the relatively new eboys and egirls. This style is heavily influenced by social media. Back in 2014, a new wave of fashion came over the world with ‘Tumblr grunge’. These kids had a specific monochrome style. Tennis skirts, over knee socks, turtlenecks, and band tees. Not so different from grunge, just more put together and the complete opposite of anti-consumerism. Eboys and egirls have certainly taken this style and evolved it. You can see more of the original punk influence now with the lock and chain commonly seen on Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols. Chains have been included and makeup has got heavier. The ‘Tumblr grunge’ style consisted of very plain clothing and with that, plain hair. Not anymore. Just like the punks of the 70s, ekids have bright and colourful hair, often including a pop of colour somewhere.

I don’t know what will come next, but I love that punk has been a continuous style that has evolved with the times. I can’t see it dying out any time soon.



(10) Comments

  1. I’m not a punk (at all) but I really appreciate this aesthetic – individual, bold, edgy and artistic. Great post

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Really interesting look at punk through the ages! I used to wear huge flared trousers back in the early 00’s, watch Kerrang and smoke weed to Nirvana and fancied myself a bit of a punk. My how I’ve changed, haha.

    1. Thank you! Haha, we’re not that different, except I’m still in my punk phase!

  3. nortoncharity says:

    Its so interesting to see how punk has changed throughout the years! This was such a fun post to read!

    1. I agree! Thank you

  4. Curt says:

    You go from SidVicious to Courtney Love, wtf?

    1. What?

  5. Enjoyed how your article was written. Interesting point of view. from Tobe Damit

    1. Thank you!

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