Select Page

Punks Tees Fashion Look And Style In The 1970’s

Punk is about D.I.Y. Culture (doing it yourself), sustainable fashion when you use already existing garments is preferred if you want the real punk Tee look. According to sources the T-shirt is originally underwear and credited to the US Navy. The US Navy claims it while other historians say it was the swabs in the British Royal Navy which wore them under their uniforms in World War I, some even suggest it was the French Army.

American soldiers liked the comfortable lightweight cotton undershirt compared to the wool uniforms American soldiers wore and the rest is history. Dada was punk before punk came in 1975 Punk fashion is the clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, jewellery, and body modifications of the punk subculture. Punk fashion varies widely, ranging from customized tee made from cut-up pillow-cases, sleeveless, zippers added, overprinted graphics or stencils applied by Malcolm, while more mainstream styles are used by bands to promote and sell to the fans, for example, The Exploited to pop-based Green Day.

Punk started long before the 1970’s with the Dadaism (Dada began circa 1915, Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde) followed later by the Spanish Dada and surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904-1989) When The Factory in New York was established by Andy Warhol, the modern culture of punk started. Andy’s house band the Velvet Underground became the band that created more musicians than they sold records.

The distinct social dresses of other subcultures and art movements, including glam rock, skinheads, rude boys, greasers, and mods have influenced punk fashion. Punk fashion has, likewise, influenced the styles of these groups, as well as those of popular culture. Punks are today a central part of youth culture but nothing more than just a fashion statement. The clothes or style hardly shocks anybody anymore.

Punk Fashion Lookbooks Tees Style

Tees are pop culture icons

T-shirts the visual history of the pop culture, from military underwear and white tees used as a blank canvas for self-exploring, artistic, stencil art, political, humorous, sarcastic messages and brand logo tees. The T-shirt has become an icon of pop cultures from all decades, tees are denim jeans mirror of the upper body.

In addition, tees can be worn with anything such as suits, wedding dresses, jeans, skirts, school uniforms, by punks, artists, as political slogans, for event marketing, promoting festivals and concerts or bands. Used by the military as underwear and advertising agencies making tees for clients brand marketing.

Unfortunately, I sold a few of my best tees on the Saturday and Sunday market. Among them, some hand-printed and exclusive T-shirts by Malcolm McLaren in the Sex Pistols. Others have been sold as a great The Who signed tee from the 1970s, the unique messages from The The, Bauhaus, Kraftwerk German editions, Dead Kennedy’s early San Francisco band tees and a few well-known street art artists and Galleries from NY, London, and Tokyo to China.

Worn-out Levi’s 501 Big Es, trainers and retro band tees are my favourite style of fashion. The common message is that a tee-shirt has become my closest friend together with a pair of worn-out Levi’s 501 jeans. Two Packs tee from Levi’s was my favourite even not the original tees, but I used to see how long I could wear them, and later I did spray paint one-off as Sonic Youth and my best one for a Fugazi concert in the early 90s.

Punk Fashion Lookbooks And History

Make your own D.I.Y Punk Tee

I used stencils and real car paint to make my first punk tee. A stencil and black car paint did the job, smelly as hell as I had to use my washing machine otherwise a mixture of car paints and beer would knock us all out, in mad-house of a Fugazi punk concert, somewhere in a squatted house in Oslo. I only made 10 tees, and I kept one myself.

To make a D.I.Y punk tee is not difficult if you like the t-shirt worn out, punk streetwise. Please do not buy those made by big chains as they are in bad quality and most environmentally unfriendly ones. However, if you buy a few 2nd hands or find in your back closet some old ones. Or ask your neighbour the metal fan or an aged punk friend; I am sure they will give a few, tees they would have thrown into the garbage a long time ago. How you make a punk tee with street stencil art.

It is possible to over-print almost any textile and tees are easy. Do not add too much washing powder as it does harm to the environment, but makes sure use as little water and temperature as possible and control the flood of water. The water can be used the flush down the toilets or other activities that require water that does not need to be as clean, to begin with. Get some really good books about T-Shirts and Punk culture from your local bookstore.

Sources and Useful Information

  • Ripped T-shirts from the underground edited by Cesar Padilla published by Universe Publishing
  • Vintage T-Shirts Patric and Marc Guetta. Published by Taschen
  • Vintage T-shirts by Lisa Kidner and Sam Knee published by Carlton Press
  • Punk The Definitive Record Of A Revolution by Stephen Colegrave And Chris Sullivan. Published by Thunder’s Mouth Press
%d bloggers like this: