Reflecting on Iconic Rock Fashion Through the Decades

If you’ve ever worn platform booties, you probably want to thank David Bowie.

Our generation owes him a debt of gratitude for helping popularize those platforms. In fact, you may have quite a few ‘thank you’s’ to hand out for the trends musical icons like Bowie pioneered.

Many had styles almost as culturally significant and impactful as the music that delivered them to fame. Their looks helped outfit generations and often ended up transcending them. Elements of their styles bled through the paper barriers of the decades and influence runways, chain stores and streetwear to this day.

Much of our modern bohemian style can be credited to the musical artists of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Long, flowing tresses of hair that we take for granted today were once considered sloppy and inappropriate. Yet early advocates of the style, like Janis Joplin and John Lennon, helped normalize the look.

Loose-fitting and bell-sleeved blouses were a hallmark of Jimi Hendrix’s style, at once both a part of and inspired by the free-spirited nature of the counterculture movement. Your cute-but-casual blouses are surely descendants of the volume-heavy tops favored by such artists.

The ease of the time period and its artists starkly contrasted the constructive social and sartorial rules of the preceding generation, and ushered in the new style archetype of the bohemian.

The mid to late ‘70s saw completely new and influential fashion icons emerge, many of whom made lasting impressions of the fashion scene. Genres such as rock, punk and disco each offered up their own unique clothing perspectives.

David Bowie, a master of identity creation and evolution, challenged social norms with his androgynous, non-gender conforming looks and theatrical approach to makeup, hair and accessorizing.

His celestial influences clearly manifest themselves in today’s fashion path makers’ designs. Tom Ford’s return to NYFW was announced with the blasting of Bowie’s “Fame,” and Gucci sent models down the catwalk in sparkling space dust and neon lightning bolts.

Punk groups like the Ramones fed off of and into the subversive normcore culture that their fan base claimed as their own. Leather jackets, choppy haircuts and plain tee shirts were their sartorial calling cards. The ringer tees and distressed mom jeans sported by the Instagram glam-girls of today more than likely have roots in the understated rebellion of punk bands like the Ramones.

A particularly timely decade of music’s love affair with fashion is the ‘80s. We are in the midst of somewhat of an ‘80s revival, with power suits, strong shoulders and experimentally-proportioned pieces dominating the recent fashion weeks.

Prince and Rick James played with such silhouettes, and modern artists such as Lady Gaga have taken inspiration (and shoulder pads) from the decade to new heights.

And who can deny the influence of the ‘90s on our current fashion obsessions? The Spice Girls in their micro-minis and punchy prints echo across the wardrobes of fashion followers and innovators alike.

More subtle styles defined by gritty flannels and hipster aesthetics that pop up on college campuses across the nation can attribute their popularization to grunge rockers like Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan. The fun optimism and dark humor of the almost-millennium is still irresistible only 20 years later, thanks to a handful of innovative and risk-taking artists.

It is often said that fashion is cyclical. To create a fresh and enticing future, fashion often finds itself drawing inspiration from the past. And as it marches on into the unknown, we can take solace in knowing that a few, eternally chic artists have given us a good start.

The Bold Type and Bold Feminism 

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If Intersectional Feminism and Diversity Is What You’re Looking For, “The Bold Type” Could Be Your New Favorite Show
When you decide to watch a new television show about three young women working for a fashion magazine while living in New York , you wouldn’t expect it to cover hard-hitting political and cultural topics. That kind of plot twist is exactly what one will find in watching Freeform’s latest hit show, The Bold Type, amidst all of the more lighthearted stories of forbidden relationships and designer clothes, of course.

The Bold Type focuses on the lives of Kat, Sutton and Jane, all twenty-somethings working for Scarlet magazine. Scarlet is loosely based on Cosmopolitan, as the whole show is supposed to be a representation of the women who work at Cosmopolitan.

With different positions at Scarlet, such as social media director (Kat), fashion assistant (Sutton) and writer (Jane), viewers can get a glimpse into multiple aspects of the type of work that goes into a fashion magazine. Seeing all of the adventures these three face at Scarlet shows the more glamorous Sex and the City-like aspect of the show. However, there is so much more to it than fashion weeks and photo shoots.

Many newer television shows have their token feminist character, but the feminism portrayed is typically very watered down and non-intersectional. On The Bold Type, the characters explore all aspects of feminism and keep it inclusive.

One of the main characters, Kat, finds herself exploring her sexuality with Adena, a Muslim photographer Kat interviewed for the magazine. Both Kat and Adena are women of color, which in itself has made them a fan-favorite couple for being the type of relationship rarely portrayed on TV. In their storyline alone, there is LGBTQ+ representation as well as racial diversity.

In today’s political climate, a show meant for young women that discusses issues such as immigration, racism and surviving sexual assault is more than important. The show is realistic, and it lets viewers know that it’s okay to stand up for yourself at work, in relationships and in life.

The reality of The Bold Type was a big focus for those in charge. According to The Atlantic, “the show’s writers and producers apparently spent time, during the creation process, at the actual Cosmopolitan offices in Manhattan, getting a feel for the place and its people and its rhythms.” This is what causes so many viewers to relate to and feel connected to the show.

With an average of 313,000 viewers per episode via tvseriesfinale.com, the show created a lot of buzz. The official hashtag #TheBoldTypeChat trends on Twitter every Tuesday during the episode premieres, as many people actively discuss the show online.

Freeform has not announced whether or not The Bold Type will be renewed for a second season, but it could be plausible based on the views and ratings the show received. A second season would provide millennial women with more representation than most shows at the moment are portraying.

With a strong message of feminism and inclusion for women of all races, religions and sexualities, viewers are left feeling empowered after every episode. The characters are easy to relate to, and of course the fashion is to die for. What more could you ask for in a TV show?

Though the first season premiered its finale in early September, all episodes are available for binge-watching on Hulu. Time to get your intersectional feminism on; Jane, Kat and Sutton will surely make you feel like the ultimate girl boss.

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