Sub-Culture styles are only genuine when they are first created. If you were a “Punk” in the late seventies, you meant business. If you dressed “Hip-Hop” in the late eighties, you meant business. Ever since the nineties however, with the arrival of mass-production and mass-marketing; Sub-Culture fashion has become a part of Big Business. Forget all the time and effort it took to create a rugged look, in the late eighties and early nineties you could buy “pre-ripped” jeans or “distressed” jackets. By the time the noughties arrived, almost every “underground look” could easily be achieved by purchasing commercialised clothing and accessories from any store in any mall.
The genesis of any Sub-Culture style begins in the streets, and it slowly begins to represent the lifestyle and opinions of a small sub-section of people. This minority of people work hard to achieve a different look, they hand pick and hand craft unique items of clothing; more often than not as a form of rebellion to the status quo. But as soon as any of the associated arts (such as Punk Rock music) is seen to be profitable, the aesthetics get borrowed by the mainstream machine and slowly the style itself becomes a part of popular culture. This is what eventually destroys the look, style, and the art itself.
Gangsta Rap for example formed its own unique look in the late eighties and early nineties. However once Hip-Hop (and by extension Gangsta Rap) became a mainstream controlled commodity, everything about the style became contrived and meaningless. In the late nineties, a rolled-up trouser leg stopped representing gang affiliation, a shaved line in the eyebrow stopped representing rank, and a tear tatt on the cheek stopped representing the tally of kills. These days, Hip-Hop fashion is as hollow as the music genre itself.
In the present day when every item of clothing seems to be a throwback to yesteryear, we see the rise of a strange Post-Modernist style; a mixture of Punk and Hip-Hop. The problem with this is that although both these genres began as underground art-forms, the present day versions are now representative of all things Pop. Middle-class Gangsta Punk, is an amalgamation of all things which used to be counter-culture from Hip-Hop, Graffiti to Punk all mashed together by the fists of a money-hungry businessman. The end result is a safe commercial attempt at sub-culture fashion and style.
Take a look at any lame celebrity, and at some point you will see them dressed in a leather jacket covered with metal studs, a faux Mohawk, making the “sign of the horns” with their fingers, trying to look subversive. Then they go on stage and sing some of the most bubblegum, safe, nauseatingly dire Pop muzak known to man. This fake look is now so far from the “art” it’s almost ironic. Just because these celebrities have shaved the sides of their heads, or rock black eyeliner, it doesn’t make their shitty music any harder. Miley Cyrus is not punk, Chris Brown is not cool, Sia is not alternative, A$AP Rocky is not a Thug, Noel Fielding and Russell Brand are not goths. Look past these people’s façade, and you will see that their exterior is a distraction from their lack of talent.
These days, a celebrities’ artistic output never matches their choice of fashion. Overrated lames like the singer Lorde, are described as goths just because they wear dark lipstick. Lorde in reality is neither introverted or interesting, and most importantly her music is soulless. Just like Lana Del Rey a few years back, these mainstream hacks are described by journalists as if they’re underground, but take a look at their music video or listen to their album and you will realise that their fake-depressed personality is a construct to add pathos to the hollow art they produce. I mean if BBC Radio 2 is playing their record, it is automatically some middle-aged, middle-class shit, and they’re the antithesis of cool as soon as some fucker on E! comments on their look.
We’ve now got to a point when people buy albums retrospectively just because they are seen to be classic by the masses. Both fans and celebrities get meaningless tattoos on an entire limb in one sitting, they pierce their body even though they hate pain; all to achieve a look and style which is neither representative of their emotions or representative of their opinions. Then the media keeps reinforcing the credibility of these lame dicks and like some kind of mass-hypnosis; the public then believe the hype and more products get sold. In reality none of these fucks are underground or remotely credible.
Any aspect of fashion which may have once been counter-culture such as tattoos, or gold teeth, are now only worn by wannabes and fakes. Tattoos don’t represent anything any more, they do not hold any narrative. Gold teeth are now gaudy and tacky thanks to these false celebrities. These bunch of fuckboys who love pretending to be street, who relish masquerading as dangerous; are in reality as weak as their album, as fake as their look, and as counterfeit as their retro screen printed tees.
These wannabe Punks are just some punk motherfuckers.