wittily and angrily how they did not agree with the status quo, and thus wanted todestroy it. (“I wanna be anarchy! The only way to be!...I wanna be an anarchist.Oh what a name. Get pissed, destroy!”)Allegedly pushing for individual freedom by expressing discontent through shockand rebellion, the punk movement not only screamed, kicked, and smashed outits frustration; it donned its attitude while doing so.The main ethic of punk fashion is do-it-yourself (DIY), in the pursuit of rejectingcommercial and societal standards of dress. Punk fashion in the 1970s wasoriginally used to challenge conformity as a counterculture, expressingaggression and rebellion, for which individuality was highly valued. The fashioncovers not only clothing, but also jewelry,
hairstyles, cosmetics, and even bodymodifications. The wardrobe catalogue is endless: from torn shirts to vestsand tartans, from military and motorcycle boots to Chuck Taylors, fromskinny leather pants to leopard tights, from messy hairstyles to Mohawks,from spiked and studded jewelry to swastikas, and from powder to heavyeyeliner. The dress largely depended on the subgroup of punk:
pop punk,cyberpunk, skater punk, industrial punk, emo, grunge, metal, gothic, plus othersmore.
Supposedly anti-fashion, the DIY ethic produced unique t-shirts screen-printed, stenciled, and painted with one’s own personal views andpersonality, complete with hand-made tears and tatters, and tailored usingsafety pins. But over the years, personal touches gave way to run-of-the-millshirts with band logos. As the appeal of the music and the fashionbroadened and reached a wider audience, the kick of originality gave way toonly minor deviations to a few typical standards.The culture that was meant to counter the status quo rose to prominence,though sanitized and simplified, and was embraced by the mainstream.Surely, the proponents and diehard followers of punk gagged at thesacrilege. But as far as trends went, it was easy to say that commercialismand mass production killed the cat, but maybe the genuine punk movement,by its very premise, was meant to be impermanent, as it could never stayisolated and untouched as long as it reached more and more people.Struggle as it may, punk was dragged onto the assembly line.
Though argument will always come from the punk “underground”—pockets of communities devoted to keep punk as a counterculture—what they possess, atbest, is only a shadow of punk’s former self. Kept in the dark, hidden from greater public participation, and most importantly, divorced from the general frustrationand unease of its original setting, present-day punk only appears as inherited, asa hand-me-down.