During my middle school days, I donned black jeans, mid-calf black combat boots, a Ramones T-shirt from Hot Topic, and a studded belt. Thanks to the growing fame of Good Charlotte and Green Day coupled with our young, impressionable minds, everyone at my school flocked the racks of Hot Topic (a rock-inspired clothing store) searching for the Punk look.
And as trends go, when a newer, cooler style appeared, we discarded our punk attire and jumped onto the latest bandwagon. But not everyone is as fickle as my classmates or me. For the true punkers, clothing and music are the mediums through which they express their individual freedom and anti-establishments views. Although punk is meant to break away from the mainstream system, the mainstream fashion industry has swallowed their style and transformed it into couture.
I wonder how punkers feel when they see their style emulated by the masses or when it’s emulated by Versace. I wonder how Sid Vicious, the man who wore a Swastika T-shirt, insulted Freddie Mercury, and carved “Gimme a fix” into his chest, would react if he knew he inspired Chanel.
I admit it; I’m guilty of stealing the punk style simply because it was cool and edgy. Although I dressed like a little punker and listened to punk music like The Ramones, Sex Pistols, and Billy Idol, I never had anti-establishment ideals. I mean, I was twelve; I still so timid to say a bad word, let alone have strong social opinions. I was no punker, just a poser.
The exhibit Punk: Chaos to Couture currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York explores the role punk culture plays in the fashion industry. The exhibit will be running until 14th August. And while we’re on the subject of fads and fashions entering the mainstream, why not take a look at Eric Shanes’ Andy Warhol, and revisit the man whose whole artistic career was dedicated to dissecting and celebrating today’s mass consumer culture.