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Mess and experiments

Monday, November 14, 2011

Punk subculture emerged in mid 1970’s in the north eastern United States. Later it formed in United Kingdom and Australia. Firstly, it was a lot about music and expressing ideologies through it. Punk related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti- establishment views like not selling out, anti- authoritarianism, DIY ethic (do it yourself), nonconformity. Politic views include anarchism, nihilism, socialism, anti- militarism, anti- capitalism, anti- racism, anti- sexism, anti- nationalism, anti- homophobia, environmentalism, vegetarianism, veganism and animal rights. To sum up, it is evident that it is basically being against mainstream, boredom, general rules and some bad effects in our society.

Therefore, punks were trying to draw attention in many ways: using music, attitude, DIY, zines , design and fashion. (Some interviews with zine-sters – The Paper Trail Interview Series) The easiest and most visible way to express yourself and show your individuality in thinking is using your appearance. In this case Punk is not difficult to recognize. (at least it was in in early 80’s). Punk seeks to outrage others with highly theatrical, anti-materialistic use of clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, tattoos, jewelry and body modification. Today everyone knows what Punk fashion is, but in 1970 it didn’t exist so, it is quite interesting how things like that are being formed.
Look at this film Death Is Their Destiny (1978) by amateur filmmaker Phil Munnoch, aka ‘Captain Zip

Punk youth took old clothing and deconstructed them into new forms, destroyed fabrics, made new outfits to attract attention. They often torn fabrics, frayed the edges made prints which are now normal,but in the 1970s it shocked many people. Safety pins and chains held bits of fabric together. Neck chains were made from padlocks and chain and even razor blades were seed as pendants. They often even did not wash their clothing until it was impossible to wear them.

Furthermore, Punk hair. They spiked it as high as possible into a Mohican hairstyle by a variety of means including sugar and water solutions, soaping gelatin, pva glue, hair sprays, hair gel, egg whites. Often colored in intensive colors like green, blue, red, pink… It intended to attract attention and shock people. They were shaving areas of the scalp. Both sexes did this. They also,tend to have body piercings in at that time not common places.


I was thinking how I could relate myself with Punk. I remember when I was a young teenager I used to listen to some of the Punk music and wear punkish clothing together with face piercing which I even did myself. Moreover, I was vegetarian and I had been trying to get deeper into some ideologies, but I just stopped at a time and of course, now I’m not like that although, I feel that some ideas stayed with me. It was just trying to find out who I am. When I think about this now, it seems quite silly, but fun. I could claim that many teenagers now or before tried to be a ‘Punk’ even though they don’t really get what it was all about. For them it is more about appearance which I consider a normal thing.
Accordingly, I’ve decided to try how it feels to wear a Punk ‘Mohawk’ hairstyle which today entered mainstream fashion, but still for me is quite extreme. However, the Mohawk tribe never actually wore the Mohawk hairstyle traditionally.The association with the so-called “Mohawk” hairstyle and the Mohawk tribe came from Hollywood and more specifically from the 1936 movie, “Drums Along The Mohawk”. So, I decided not to shave the sides of my scalp, but only to try to do my hair up with egg as I found this recipe while doing my research.

First, I combed my hair and when decided to put on some hair wax. Secondly, I beat two eggs and applied them to the hair. Later, I put my head on the cardboard and formed the style. I used some strong hair fixing spray and the hair dryer. So, I lied on that cardboard for quite a while waiting for everything to dry. Unfortunately, when I decided to stand up ,I felt that my crest is falling down. I did not even get a chance to do the same procedure with the other side of my head. The most exciting thing is that you can see how the hair changes you although, it could be more fun if I had used some colors also. So, in conclusion, my experiment wasn’t very successful, but now I know how difficult it is to make such thing and what kind of strong products you have to use which are definitely not good for your hair and for the environment?!

In my opinion, Punk clothing and hairstyles really make you feel more powerful, rebel and free. Although, I think you can easily hide yourself in it and loose a bit of individuality if you seek the same style of clothing, same details and same set ideologies. It might sometimes confront with the inner person. Of course, some other slightly different Punk directions emerged later with different ideas…

Something which was rare, different and strange later always becomes something acceptable, normal or even fashionable. Punk fashion was really commercialized and many well-established fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier have used Punk elements in their production. Although, Punk clothing was initially hand made it became mass produced. I see that it happens in every aspect of life. Therefore, Punk movement gave a lot to our society. It made many people broaden their minds, let some of them feel more independent which I think, created some good ideas and it had a good influence in developing our society and art while making an inspiring mess.

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