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Punk grew out of a time when conformity was everywhere, and when failure in a society run entirely by a few empowered individuals was the norm. Against the backdrop of a country incredibly desperate for control and uniformity, punk rejected all notions of control, of the self or outside agencies, for a radical attitude that was almost laissez-faire. It started from the assumption that control and subjugation of one's environment was impossible, and that one might as well enjoy the inevitable chaos.

 
So what's this got to do with the infamous dangerboy Style section? (You may well ask) No, we're not advising you to get yourself a tattered leather jacket held together with safety pins, with an anarchy symbol on the back. Far more interesting than this garb, which eventually became a uniform for these people who rejected the concept of uniforms, is the concept that originally lay behind the punk look. Johnny Rotten (our star model for this page) explained it well in the recent Sex Pistols biopic 'The Filth and the Fury'. Basically, the essence of punk was simply to dress in a creative way; To recognise that with a bit of thought and effort people could wear anything. Expensive designer labels and slavish fasion trends really weren't necessary. Anything that stood out was great. Hence the 'noticeable from a distance' haircuts, the metal fastenings the shint materials, and the cobbled-together styles. Clothing was being assembled from loads of sources, all of them cheap, and worn with a sense of style, rather than a programmed sense of fashion.

 

The outfits shown here give a good example of what we mean. The top picture is the classic punk look - all cut-up leather and safety pins. Look number two is heavily influenced by teddy-boy style, yet is worn with a sense of style. The loose-weave jumper look of picture three is more akin to what we now associate with a goth on casual day, or an embittered indie kid from the dark side. During his Sex Pistols day, Rotten's look was never constant. His hair changed colour constantly, and his outifts veered from the simple (jeans and t-shirt) to elaborate, almost victorian affairs of billowing shirts and constricting waistcoats. He spent his time as a one man fancy dress party, as it were.

Malcolm McClaren once described the look he was trying to perfect as like a 'peacock'. It's this sort of ostentation, and most of all, thinking about style in depth, in a creative way, that really typified punk.

 

So what are the take home messages?

Be creative

Don't be afraid of anything people don't think you should wear (or even of things that most people don't think is clothing)

Stand out

Realise that if you are proud of what you are wearing, you will always look good

We like to think that the DIY punk ethos infiltrates most things we do, so why not show it in big letters by the way we look (unless one is dressing to blend in for infiltration reasons - but that's another story altogether).