I am not convinced that couture is punk. Rather than inject into their garments raw rebellion or authentic profanity, the likes of Alexander McQueen assault their pieces with time, money, and a deliberate definition of punk rock. The studs and spikes, rips and tears sell out their spontaneity and their sincerity to an industry that is a slave to opinion. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: punk was made to be heard, not to be liked. The fashion was a visual attitude, an addiction to provocation. Fashion was an artful destruction strangled by unabashed obscenity. That being said, I concur with PUNK: Chaos to Couture‘s eloquence in ramming the DIY aesthetic right down your throat. “This is a chord. This is another. This is a third. Now form a band.” And don’t go and buy the damn clothes–DO IT YOURSELF.
In terms of implementation and implication, punk fashion boils down to four categories, at least according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Hardware: the combined influence of fetish wear and asylum couture; manipulating studs, spikes, safety pins, padlocks, chains, and zippers to inject the punk aesthetic with a provocative, yet distinctly proletarian nihilism.
Bricolage: the exploitation of expendable materials, i.e. garbage bags; seizing outbreaks of urban decay–the infamous garbage strike of 1978–to mutiny against consumer culture and flaunt a doggedly undefined style.
“Because of the rubbish strikes in London, there were garbage bags piled twenty high on every street corner. You’d just cut a hole for your head and your arms and put a belt on and you looked stunning.” – John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten)
Graffiti and Agitprop: the unabashed expression of punk archetypes through imagery and graffiti; interlacing pornography with an incendiary fusion of political propaganda, i.e. the swastika, the Union Jack, and Queen Elizabeth herself.
Destroy: the necessary counterpart to do-it yourself, undo-it-yourself; punks ripping, tearing, and slashing their clothing in the same way they were the fabric of society.