Streetwear brands and mass retailers like Urban Outfitters are using metal music iconography and band logos on their clothes and it’s a bit problematic (and awesome). Let me start off by presenting my personal history with the subject, if you may. I’ve been into metal and heavy music since I was nine years old and I’ve written for many publications and academic journals that deal with the music and culture. Actually metal is what connected me to fashion with COMME des GARÇONS’ music director Frédéric Sanchez using Sunn O))), Om and Earth’s music on Spring/Summer couture runway. Weird how worlds collide, people who know me personally know my never ending rants on the subject. It fascinates me how cultures collide, who would have thought this patch wearing metalhead would be so intrigued by fashion? And that’s exactly the point of this article. Since I’ve seen this phenomena first hand from both perspectives.
Where it all began and the metalheads
Patches, the black rectangular or squared or whatever you desire began in punk culture during the 1970s within the punk rock community. Many of the punk community had their own vest which was filled with DIY patches sewed on by them or their mothers. You’d see how everyone had a jacket that was never washed (rule number one of owning a patch jacket) and dominantly black.
The metalheads also have this trend usually attributing their jackets to sub metal music genres like doom metal, speed metal, thrash metal etc. Although I must give it to the thrashers for using strictly denim as a background for the patches. Patches have their own culture of trading, making and wearing like every fashion accessory.
The essence of this phenomena is that DIY fashion was behind all this to support the DIY scene and leftist slogans by well, punks and not a couture wearing crowd, it’s fashion against fashion in an unintentional sense.
Who’s your favorite post-punk band?
If you’d ask the ladder question to *insert 18 year old music blogger* she’d probably have no idea who Joy Division are and that she’s wearing their ‘Unknown Pleasures’ album artwork on her ripped over sized tank top. There’s no problem in that, but I think if you buy a product do a little research on it and maybe buy it if you like the message behind the visual representation you are buying. Nowadays brands like Urban Outfitters and H&M sell merchandise stock Metallica, Slayer and Def Leppard merchandise, who would have thought the stinking metalhead at the back of the bus who eons more fashion conscious than the JNCO wearing bros.
Cultures have always had effects on one or the other but this relationship is intense. As of today even the couture of streetwear, Supreme, released a Black Sabbath collaboration which looks a-ok.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you own a patch jacket?