Music and fashion go hand in hand. From Elvis and the Rat Pack to Madonna and Gaga music is chockfull of artists doing their best to define trends and make their own signature fashions. Here are five of music’s most legendary fashion statements.
Originally introduced in the early 19th century by the United States Navy, bell bottoms came roaring back thanks to Sonny and Cher and became iconic by the mid 1970’s with the meteoric rise of disco and the Studio 54 generation. Most often worn with clogs, Chelsea boots or platforms, bell bottoms were a smash with both guys and gals. Although the disco fad waned as quickly as it waxed, bell bottoms have remained a popular fashion item among women today.
When Nirvana’s landmark album ‘Nevermind’ booted Micheal Jackson out of Billboard’s top album spot in January 1992, everyone expected big changes; no one expected the effect the explosion of this new brand of Seattle-bred music would have on fashion. The defining characteristic of alternative music fashion was flannel, which was sought and bought just as much as the records of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. The flannel fad really hit home when kingpin designers such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein began flaunting the fashion on runways in the early 1990’s. As fast as grunge came and went, so did flannel, though it has recently made a soft-spoken comeback in recent years.
In the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, generation X’ers and millennials began flocking to an up-and-coming mall hotspot known as Hot Topic to get their hands on jeans made by Los Angeles based brand JNCO. These ultra-wide denim went hand in hand with the popular rock music of the time, a genre collectively known as nu metal. The style, like the records of the time by bands like Korn, were a hit, popular with both men and women. When nu metal began to simmer in the mid 2000’s, so did the JNCO fad, though recently the brand has been revived to much pomp and circumstance.
In the early 1980’s, an African immigrant known as Dapper Dan began to circulate a buzz within the African-American communities in New York City thanks to his store on 125th Street. What made this fashionista so notorious was his craft of taking expensive designer labels and creating authentic looking replicas for a bargain price. His famous faux designs included vests, shirts, coats, pants, shoes, and even tire covers. Dap D’s work was so legit that it became further popularized by early hip hop artists like Eric B. and Rakim, Salt ’n Pepa, and LL Cool J. Dapper Dan made it possible for those with limited means to achieve platinum status in both music and, especially, fashion.
Not long after the fall of JNCO’s wide-legged pants came the rise of skinny jeans, spearheaded by the emo and hardcore genre’s monumental records such as Atreyu’s ‘The Curse’ and Norma Jean’s ‘O’ God The Aftermath’. At the time, stores like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters were nothing more than hotspots for those in the know of underground trends; with the skinny jeans blast, these stores became everyman shopping locations. These days, skinny jeans are most popular in indie music culture.