Thursday, January 2, 2014

We stare at them because they dare to be different.  Are they really different though?  Sure they got wild hair colors and torn mix matched clothes probably tattoos and piercings , but are they all that different on the inside?  Why do they get so angry if you stop to stare at them when they seem to want to be different and want to be noticed? We even call them punk rockers and place them in a different category of people.
I never knew that these fashion statements were the fabrication of one woman till recently.  Her name is Vivian Westwood. The punk movement began in the 1970’s with her creations. Punk represents the rebels yelling in music and in fashion.  Pretty normal stuff now but over the past 40 years , it was pretty different.  We all missed it this past summer when the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum celebrated Punk’s legacy.  We have to admit the wacky cloths has created a new style in fashion attributed to this generation so I guess it should be honored in a Museum as part of history.

She is from London and says she never meant to be outrageous or to shock people.  She just wanted to confront British society and thought the best way to do that was to be as obscene as possible and she was.  The look was designed to create urban gorillas.  A kind of crusade to challenge the status quo.  She would take pants and add bondage straps to look like a warped army costume. Most of the clothes are made up of ripped fabric , safety pins, and S & M gear. For many years the press told her she was crazy and her creations were unfashionable.  As with any artist, super different is never accepted at first.
Actress Gwyneth Paltro and Meryl Streep wear her clothes.  In the 2008 film, Sex In The City, the character Terry Bradshaw played by Sara Jessica Parker picks a Vivian Westwood bridal gown to wear for her wedding.  So now this punk icon is all of a sudden a main stream designer.  Vivian started out as a grade school teacher and says that she never wanted to be a fashion designer.  She made clothes to help her boyfriend at the time make money.  He was Malcolm McLearen,  the manager of the young punk rock band The Sex Pistols.
Together they opened a clothes shop on London’s Kings Road and their motto on the door said “Clothes for Hero's.”  40 years later Westwood still owns her own company.  She now has 126 stores where her styles are still different and unconventional.  She tells people to stop buying clothes.  She would rather see you wearing torn well worn stuff that mirrors the shape of your body.  So should I sleep and shower wearing my clothes for it to conform to my shape?

Maybe the punk mystique has done more for kids self-esteem than we know. It is a statement a kind of weird uniform that tells society that they do not want to fit in anywhere. A punk person wants to be unique and a one of a memorable kind but they do not want to be exploited so don’t stare at the tongue ring that goes to a chain attached to their nipple that extends to their pocket, torn of course.  And although their bodies look like colorful canvases from all the tattoos, don’t ask them to donate blood.  They will say they hate needles. Really?  Just move on. 

The former teacher has taught us to expect the unexpected.  

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