“Punk is not dead” scratched into stainless steel (in the ladies’ room at the Tate Modern) seems the perfect image for 2008 in England, where punk was born and has achieved an everlasting adolescence. However in this latest manifestation punk has gone mainstream—-not in London as much as the outlying cities such as Canterbury, where you’ll see flocks of 10-year-old girls on the High Street sporting cellophaned hair, skinny black jeans and studded belts. It could be the healthiest of trends in that it doesn’t require a Hollywood-ready face or shape, is hardly about labels or the consumption of designer items—just the opposite—and allows for a wide range of DIY self-expression. Plus, given the emphasis on recycled clothing, it can even be considered green. The students at the University College for the Creative Arts in Rochester have taken it up in a big way:
However the beauteous Abbie, a photography student, has gone even more retro—at least on the days I saw her—the question “what’s Abbie wearing today?” being one of general interest in an art college where students and teachers of fashion, architecture, and visual art share (in my mind, to creative advantage) the same physical workspace.
But as with the hip hop kids with their droopy, oversize pants (a style I wouldn’t miss if it disappeared forever) I think it’s fascinating that kids are wearing the clothes their parents might have worn and playing the music their parents might have listened to. Aretha-meets-Britney incarnation Amy Winehouse, whose music is everywhere and her misadventures in every tabloid, appeals to both generations, thereby completing the circle.