Pretty Shambolic

Will you be in Liverpool later this week? If so, you might like to go along to an event organised by staff in LJM University's Special Collections and Archives as part of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities in the city. 

On Friday evening, they're putting on a fashion show exploring punk subculture and its evolution over the past forty years. British punk fashion evolved in the 1970s as a reaction to the pretensions and materialism of mainstream culture. Purposely-ripped clothes were held together with safety pins; black bin liners were worn as dresses; and many female punks rebelled against the stereotypical image of a woman by combining clothes that were delicate or pretty with those considered masculine, e.g. a ballet tutu with big, clunky boots. Iconic designs were created by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, but there was also a strong DIY ethos with most fans putting together their own looks.

In subsequent decades, punk style has been re-appropriated by many different designers, and those who buy punk-inspired clothes may not be aware of the origins of this rebellious and colourful form of self-identification. However, students from Knowsley Community College hope to change this. They have been inspired to create their own punk-inspired designs after a period spent researching the England’s Dreaming: Jon Savage Archive of Punk held at LJMU. The show will explore the connections they made between the 1970s and today in terms of young people's hopes and fears in both eras.