As Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren stared the fashion that was associated with punk rock there were plenty of other designers who were willing to embrace this new concept and evolve it further. The punk scene was a divide those groups were more than happy to take advantage of the commercial spin offs associated with the music and those who just wanted to play their music.
A band who tried to stand by their political ideals and basically ignored the fashion aspect were the Clash. They were commonly seen as the political voice of punk and some band members shied away from the commercial aspect of the music. However, even they had a band member who made the most of the fashion angle, in bass guitarist Paul Simonon. Barely able to play a note on his guitar Simonon certainly looked the part. Dressed in bondage trousers and resplendent with his blonde spikey highlights he always was prominent in the bands photo shoots.
Adam and the Ants started out as a punk band but soon tempered their music to new wave. They led the way in fashion stakes with the lead singer’s outfits often resembled him looking like a pirate. His clothes were designed for him by Westwood once the brief Sex Pistols project had come to an end.
This in the early 1980s was the start of the New Romantic movement and Alternative Rock Bands. The colours now were less colourful as the mode of the music became darker. However, this did not stop acts like Boy George emerging who was as colourful as any artiste. There was now even greater emphasis on performers wearing extreme make-up. The music industry became even closer to the fashion industry as it became more important for the groups how they looked, as opposed just to the quality of their music.
Suddenly the music industry’s relationship with the fashion industry was taken to new levels as MTV was created, and every band needed to produce a high-class video if their single was going to be a success. Bands, such as Duran Duran started to contain members who as well as playing their instrument happened to look like models.
Fashion houses were now dressing the group members as the videos were seen as a free opportunity to advertise, it wasn’t just about the clothes. Car companies, the alcohol industry and the new mobile phones were some of the businesses that were keen to take advantage of the opportunities that these videos were offering to them.
This has been more apparent with the rap artists, such as Eminem, Jay-Z and Tupac Shakur leading the way. Their clothing reflects the “street-wear” fashion that is worn all around the world in urban areas. The big accessory of the modern-day performers seems to be their earrings and neck wear. Most of the rap and hip-hop artistes all possess massive chains and helps to maintain their “gangster look”. However, there are so many new acts doing exactly the same thing the questioned must be asked whether they are setting the fashion or just following it? The same questions are being asked in 2018 that were being asked in the early 1970s.