Punk Fashion History – The Origin & Impact

Punk Fashion History – The Origin & Impact

In the 70s, punk was a revolution that crawled from the street into our homes. It was a grimy, loud, raw, and intense type of music. Punk was unfiltered and not affected by the common music industry restrictions. It signified the start of something new. Like most cultural movements today, Punk fashion history started with sounds, expressions, and images. Punk rock was a response to a concept outdated. It was an antidote to an overly produced progressive rock error. Although it never emerged as an entire movement, punk’s passion helped it find an audience amongst the misunderstood.

While metal and disco music continued to flood the screen, many people turned to punk to search for a personality they resonated with. Music lovers wanted something unique and meant something. It was with this that the movement started to grow. Punk made a significant impact in the world we live in today, such that there are very many people that continue to identify with the punk style. Although there is less grungy punk in nightclubs, it is undeniable that the spirit of punk lives on. The punk mindset also transformed the branding environment. Most punk musicians sneered at the idea of being linked with something commercial. However, punk changed the world we live in from fashion to marketing. In this article, we’ll explore punk fashion history and its impact on the fashion industry; let’s take a look. 

Punk Fashion History: What is Punk and Punk Culture

Punk started as an artistic movement. It was an expression of anger and emotion. People were tired of how the government painted the day’s problems over. They were tired of the world’s commercialism and wanted to offer society the reality of raw human life through music, fashion, and hairstyle. By the 11990s, punk became popular with Chemical Romance, Punk Goes Pop, Green Day, and other punk bands becoming household names. There were often arguments on what was real punk rock. However, it was clear that if anything went against the status quo and stood for reality, it was punk. 

However, Punk history remains largely unwritten. There are books out there that try to conceptualize the meaning of punk and make it clean and easy to understand. However, the fundamental nature of the punk movement makes that impossible. Punk culture is quite messy whether you’re discussing punk and the disorderly brands of the day or simply punk fashion history. One thing is clear; punk rock started somewhere in the United States. The idea that people could make noise regardless of their technical skill and people would listen to this gave birth to this music genre. Once punk rock bands emerged in New York, they moved to London to transform the street.

Punk started with the passion of achieving something real. It reached out to society and made it pay attention using insane hairstyles, bright colors, and crude remains. Punk rock’s pioneers changed the world. They didn’t just create a new musical scene; they also impacted fashion in many ways. Few revolutions were ever as successful as punk rock. 

Punk Fashion History – How Punk Design Changed Our Look

Like we mentioned above, punk history covers more than music. The punk movement in the 70s launched an evolution in high street fashion. It also covered makeup, media, politics, and hairstyles. Wherever punk culture went, it always left an imprint behind. Like other fashion items, punk fashion history was born as a reaction. The style was a rebellion against capitalism, conformity, and the establishment. Punk hair rebelled against the hippie movement and the shine of disco. Although America took a while to let go of its long hair and cotton clothing, England quickly found meaning in tight jeans, Doc Martens, and dark colors.

From a punk fashion perspective, the movement’s origin returned to King’s Road, where Vivienne Westwood, a school teacher turned fashion designer, opened her boutique. The boutique was called ‘Sex,’ and she launched it with her boyfriend, Malcolm McLaren. Vivienne Westwood became the era’s aesthetic with erotic images and provocative clothing. From this moment, punk fashion history continued to evolve and has changed somewhat. Many young fashion enthusiasts believe that an ear gauge classifies them as punk. Although Vivienne Westwood created the first punk fashion icon in Punk fashion history, punk isn’t a commercial concept. It isn’t something you can purchase from a store. Punk hairstyles like the Mohawk or colored spikes weren’t something you picked from a hair catalog. 

Even punk makeup was unique to everyone who wore it. Punk is like a chameleon that continually changes to adapt to the need of everyone who embraces it. There is no primary definition of punk. However, different images define punk. If you can prove that your clothing makes a statement or stands up to the establishment, then you’re punk. 

Top Punk Fashion Brands

There are top punk fashion brands that sell items that furthered the concept of punk. Below are the top fashion brands that shaped punk fashion history.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne is a part of punk history as she pioneered its entry into the British space. It is a luxury fashion label that sells punk accessories and merchandising on a large scale. Vivienne started as a fashion designer in 1971 when she made clothing with her boyfriend, Malcolm Marie. They opened a story together and sold zips, biker clothing, and leather. After launch, the due rebranded the store as ‘Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die’ and added a skull to their storefront. In 1974, they named their store ‘Sex’ and sold fetishist clothing with straps, black leather, and zip. They were prosecuted for their provocative t-shirt, but they only rebranded to produce more hardcore clothing.

In 1981, McLaren and Westwood shared their first runway collection with inspiration from the Third World, historical fashion, and pirates plundering. Westwood went on her own after 1984 and continued to reinvent herself collection after collection. She drew inspiration from Peruvian women, witches, Greek gods, and more. At this point, she developed a trademark rectangle that created a unique aesthetic and dynamic with her body. 

She drew attention to the brand when she started parodying the upper class in the 80s. she also turned to English and French topics that furthered her designs. Over the years, Westwood continued to show different cultural items like kilts, tartans, and corsets while she campaigned for worthy causes for 40 years. Her social activism remains a crucial factor in her collections with climate change, nuclear disbarments, and civil rights. 


This brand was originally American and sold basketball shoes. However, Converse is known as a critical retro sneaker brand today. In addition to footwear, this brand sells accessories, sportswear, and apparel. In the 70s and beyond, Converse was a huge staple for punk rock bands in the music scene. Due to the alternative music scenes where top musicians like Sex Pistols and the Ramones wore Converse to their concerts, the style became popular among punk rock fans. The brand offered versatile shoes in punk fashion history that quickly adapt to your style. People could personalize it with add-ons, drawings, and many more. 

Dr. Martens

Another fashion designer that featured in punk fashion history is Dr. Martens. This brand achieved cult status worldwide, especially in the UK and US. Additionally, this brand sells clothing, shoe care, and bags. Their products feature air-cushioned soled, yellow stitching, and welted construction. The brand was famous amongst factory workers and many other workers. However, when the anti-establishment and underground subcultures came, they adopted the boot and made it their own. They were able to add to the spirit of rebellion that the brand symbolized. 


This lifestyle brand is famous for selling footwear, rocker clothing, prints, and accessories. It originated from Manchester in 1981 and features a love of renegade style. Underground’s vibe is one of provocative, edgy fashion. The brand also shunned fast fashion in favor of authentic and valuable products. The brand maintains its punk spirit as it considers it a mission to propagate Britain’s rebellious style. The brand offers a platform for alternative sub-culture. They also pride themselves in having a hold on their origins and stories. 

Tripp NYC

This is an American streetwear fashion brand founded in New York City by Daan Goodman. The brand is famous for using innovative fabrics. Their signature items are bondage pants, hand studding, and a take on streetwear that’s quite dark and subversive. Additionally, the brand was influenced by the downtown art scene and alternative music. The goal of Tripp NYC is to provide fashion items that are ideal for everyone, including rebellious teenagers, rap artists, rock stars, and even celebrities. The brand continues to evolve and reinvent itself to remain original and avant-garde.


This brand is based in East London and is a part of punk fashion history. It sells clothes and accessories from women and men. Their origin comes from the old Camden Town, and their styles include nu-rave trends, gothic, Victorian, punk, and many punks. They also offer an emo vibe that mixes with pop-punk and state punk. Jawbreaker has different collections which belong to diverse styles. The collection that symbolizes punk is the Edge collection. This collection has many great clothing items like leather pains, cutout pants, striped tops, animal printed see-through, and long plaid jackets with a waist belt.

Punk Design

Another brand that makes punk fashion history is PunkDesign. It was launched in 2017 and offers customers gothic, punk, grunge, and steampunk outfits. The brand’s unique style allows customers to mix and match to find their perfect style without limiting their personality. The brand’s focus is offering customers a chance to create looks that stand out from the crowd. They want their consumers to unleash their imagination and try different styles to test the acceptable boundaries of society.

Final Thoughts

At the end of it all, punk goes beyond music or fashion. Its influence defies set guidelines as it represents cultural ideologies and concepts. Some people perceive punk wrongly for their anger and rage. However, others embrace the hope it offers to drive them toward their dream. Prime emerged as a vein that links everything in the modern world, including politics, fashion, and culture. Punk fashion history showcases how punk changed the way people think and dress. The word punk itself means rebellion and subversion in many forms. It’s unclear if there’ll ever be another music genre that offers punk’s pervasive nature. 

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Punk Fashion History – The Origin & Impact Punk fashion is a trend that crawled its way into our living rooms. Keep reading to learn more about punk fashion history and its impact.
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