It started like anything else. Elvis Presley, the boy from Memphis first shimmied his way on stage in a way that was never seen before. Fashion and music quickly became connected, with everyone waiting to see their idols walk on stage in their latest look. A look that they would go on to replicate the very next day - but after Elvis, rock stars would then become the biggest influence on what people - more specifically, young people - would wear for the next half a century.
But, it wasn’t just Presley’s charisma that made music the primary channel for influencing youth identity. The rock and roll mentality as a whole (well, the marketable version of it) exploded into life in the 50s. Kids suddenly found themselves with leisure time, but with money. They spent money on music, and then the clothes that they saw their icons wearing. This continued chain reaction of music, clothes, music, clothes had kids locked in back then. You were no longer rich, poor, upper-class or working-class… You were what you wore, and you told people what you listened to by the look of your wardrobe.
Now, at BODA HQ, we love music. Our unorthodox jukebox in the office is one way of being able to tell that, but we have come to realise that our connection to rock music is bigger than we thought. We’re against the grain, we’re rouge, and we like doing it our way. This took us onto the idea that you’re reading right now - how has rock music defined fashion?
Life In The 1950s
Following Elvis Presley’s dominance during the 50s, the following decade arrived with mop fringes and The Beatles. Now, of course, this band is one of, if not the greatest band of all time, but their social influence on the world, out of the streets of Liverpool is something that can’t be ignored. As the streets began to see more and more of the classic hair ‘flick’, bell-bottoms and skinny shirts were the in-thing. This was the time that the hippie’s embraced flower power and free love - The Beatles embraced this, and so did the rest of the world.
When life welcomed the 70s, fashion began to diversity as sub-genres and created fans that identified with certain groups. After the passing of Jimi Hendrix (one of the greatest guitar players to ever live), fashion moved on into an era of glam-rock. David Bowie was seen strutting in glitter makeup and shiny outfits, but it wasn’t all Glitz ‘n Glam. Bob Marley, although not a rocker, was one person to keep things simple, rocking the M-65 jacket into a military-stolen item that is still sported by Military forces today.
Back To The 80s
Moving into the 80s now, this is the time in which the hairdressing industry may as well have gone out of business. Queue the Bon Jovi records… This band was one of the leaders during this time and they influenced fashion like never before. Spandex, distressed denim, bare chests. As the music became more honest, and arguably darker in some aspects, so did the fashion. The bright pops of the 70s had vanished and the shades of grey really began to pick up pace, just in time for the 90s.
Then The 90s... And Oasis Happened
Now, as a proud, Mancunian brand, this is one era that we love. Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel, took Oasis to the pinnacle of global success when the band formed in 1991, and it’s fair to say that they did the same for fashion, too. Manchester took on the world, and it knew about it. When you immediately think of Oasis, you must think, khaki parkas, baggy shirts and Lennon-esque glasses. But, one major part of the Oasis look was the revival of 1960s’ Mod - which they spearheaded amazingly. Smart casual was now the ‘in’, with lightweight, waist-length harrington jackets being partnered with messy haircuts and slim fit (never skinny) jeans.
But, where are we now? Rock ‘n Roll fashions of the last decades have been mixed and matched, seeing the birth of the so-called ‘hipster’ trend. Combinations of elements from the ‘90s, ‘30s and ‘40s that focus heavily on vintage styles are now dominating the streets, with themes of recycling and repurposing being one of the sole influencers picking clothes.
However, when all is said and done, Rock ‘n Roll will always play an integral part in fashion whether future generations are aware of it or not. There’s a reason why we’re still listening to the popular sounds that were most prominent in previous eras… They’re just so iconic. I guess, what we’re trying to say is, Rock ‘n Roll isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle.