Punk is Back
Punk is back and more visible than ever with fashion arguably in one of its most self-aware periods in recent memory. As designers react to global events and world politics, the results are both explicit and surprising. Everyone is making their voices heard, both on the internet and on social media, and now you can also let your clothes do all the talking for you. From Dior to Raf Simons, Landlord and Bobby Abley, here are a few of the most vocal designers rocking punk this season.
Landlord never fails to turn heads, and this fall designer Ryohei Kawanishi mined hard-core British punk in a major way. Kawanishi derived inspiration from 70’s and 80’s noise punk bands like the The Sex Pistols, and The Clash. Plaids and tartans, along with clashing prints played a central role in the collection; after all, prints practically defined the punk movement. Alongside the loud prints were many over-the-top elements like diamante bras worn over slashed t-shirts, spikes and studs, and even fringe. The hair and makeup was deliberately styled off-kilter, often times haphazardly, but worn with an ultra cool “IDGAF” attitude.
Raf Simons honed in 70’s Berlin drug culture, referencing the film Christiane F. for its dark exploration of drugs and addiction in youth culture. Simons put a romantic spin on the seedy side of punk by injecting stills from the film with other bold, drug-related printed graphics like Drugs, LSD, XTC on t-shirts, hoodies and patches at the knees. The clothing itself was masterful and instantly recognizable as Simons’ work: broad-shouldered jackets, iconic tees, chunky knit oversized sweaters, and off-kilter trench coats.
Dior alluded to punk in an altogether different way, riffing on anti-conformity with tattoo culture, breaking down formal elements into more casual alternatives. There was some serious 90s nostalgia ranging from tattooed shirts sand polos, to color contrasting jackets. The shy boy long trench coats, tinted glasses, and undone shoelaces screamed “I’m too cool to give a damn”.
Who says punk can’t be sexy? Sanchez-Kane skin-baring pieces riffed on Mexican punk and a counter-culture symbols of same-sex love. There was fetish-inspired jewelry and accessories, along with outrageous combinations of school uniforms, clubwear and suiting. All the elements of political defiance were also there, pushing the collection to the top of the most rebellious, outspoken shows at NYFW.
Diesel Black Gold
Diesel Black Gold pulled out all the stops for their heaviest punk-infused collection yet. Complete with tough studded leather, facial tattoos, braided mohawks, and a vast array of multi-cultural influences, Diesel brought the edge to Milan.
Marcelo Burlon County of Milan
Milan cult street label Marcelo Burlon focused on a gritty, non-filtered aesthetics this time around. Reinterpreting the punk scene for the street. The designer paired edgy graphic t-shirts with hardcore jewelry, sharp buzz cuts, and a plethora of tattoos. Must-have athleisure pieces such as drawstring joggers and matching hoodies were layered with grungy flannels, distressed denim, and dark graphics on t-shirts. If it’s angst you’re looking for, Marcelo Burlon is your man.
Bobby Abley collaborated with Warner Brothers merging Looney Tunes characters with edgy punk styling for an unexpected take on the trend. Many of the runway looks were decidedly streetwear inspired, with pieces including slouchy jeans, hoodies, and bomber jackets that read as tough and anarchistic. A bit disorderly and defiant, Abley chose an ironic path to illustrate punk this season.
Of course, we have to talk about the Queen of Punk herself, Dame Vivienne Westwood. Rather than stage a traditional fashion show, Westwood produced a video for her Fall collection with street cast models staging riots and protests, and a military theme. With all the shredded tartans, Union Jacks and outlandish parings, it just doesn’t get more punk than this.