Grunge to Urban Grunge

Topics: Grunge, Nirvana, Alternative rock Pages: 5 (1175 words) Published: October 2, 2012


Create an analysis of fashion styles today where one trend is the result of a social, economic, or technological influence. Personify the trend’s traits and identify the culture created. Support the analysis with photo documentations and citations from references books.

Eckardeen Reeka Y. Manreza

Class /ID No.

Meetu Kumar


LASALLE College of the Arts
Faculty of Design

“Without the teenager, there’d simply be no rock’n’roll, no punk, no grime, no fun.” - New Musical Express magazine

The grunge scene is considered the most depressing, angst filled style. But how did ‘grunge’ become grunge? How did a six-letter word meaning dirt, filth, trashbag become synonymous with a musical genre, a distinct fashion statement and most especially, a subculture?

According to the book Surfers Soulies Skinheads and Skaters which talks about different sub cultural style from the forties to the nineties, “Membership of subculture groups, whose ideas and lifestyles are at variance with those of the dominant culture, is usually dominated by the young. For some it is fleeting and forms a rite of passage; others move through a series of subcultures, and some remain committed to one, long term. Belonging to a subculture can be liberating, offering, for example, certain freedoms in lifestyle, sexuality and politics. By defining their own geographical, social and sartorial boundaries, subcultures also provide a sense of belonging which is independent of the family.” (Amy de la Haye and Cathie Dingwall, 1996)

Grunge style was sort of rebellion against the starched yuppiedom, first appearing in Seattle in the late 1980s. America’s answer to Punk Rock, described both a new generation of loud, guitar-orientated rock music and the attitude of its exponents. Grunge was originally a genre of alternative rock; the fashion scene however is different. Grunge fashion was influenced by grunge music, which achieved mainstream popularity in 1992 due to the overwhelming success of the band Nirvana and their hit single Smell Like Teen Spirit. In Great Britain, Grunge was the name given by the music press to a loose and short-lived collective of new rock bands. The word has since been used to describe the attitude, scruffiness and loud music preferred by youth who identify with this kind of music. The Grunge fashion is a combination of second-hand clothing like lain flannel shirts worn with faded stonewashed blue jeans and heavy boots. The grunge scene was commonly associated with dark colour palettes like maroon, forest green, indigo brown, and the most popular colour combination, black and white.

In 1988, a Seattle record label called Sub Pop released a boxed set with a compilation of grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney and it came with a booklet with pictures by Charles Peterson, the photographer credited for creating grunge’s hair-sweat-and-guitars look. Sub Pop also sent it to the nation’s alternative-rock intelligentsia describing its bands’ punk-metal guitar noise as “grunge”, the first documented use of the now-ubiquitous term.

“The vibe now is a little bit like the early 70’s, before metal ceased to be heavy and relied on adrenaline highs as opposed to despondency,” said Simon Reynolds, the author of Blissed Out (Serpent’s Tail, 1990) a chronicle of rock subcultures. “There’s a feeling of burnout in the culture at large. Kids are depressed about the future.”

James Truman, the editor in chief of Details, the young men’s style magazine that took grunge to the masses, said: “To me the thing about grunge is it’s not anti-fashion, it’s un fashion. Punk was anti-fashion. It made a statement. Grunge is about not making...
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