Subculture Essay

w=470&h=294 470w, https://ptooff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/kingsroad1_1863755i.jpg? w=150&h=94 150w, https://ptooff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/kingsroad1_1863755i.jpg? w=300&h=188 300w, https://ptooff.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/kingsroad1_1863755620w" sizes="(max-width: 470px) 100vw, 470px" / Style and fashion play important roles in distinguishing one social group from another and from the rest of society, and are vital in giving individuals and groups both a sense of belonging and of being unique.Through sartorial and behavioural choices group identification is produced, and just as fashion encodes style, members of a group bearing a particular fashion reinforce their tribalism.

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There is an intersection between youth and extreme fashion as a method of asserting an attitude of dissent in times of crisis (Fury 2016, p.230), and strong visual styles accompanied punk’s music, with the American bands sporting mainly black leather jackets and blue jeans, and the British bands tending towards ripped shirts, safety pins, Nazi imagery, and bondage wear in a self-mocking, shocking image (Isler & Robins 2007, p.23).Fashion and style can have effects on societies and cultures on a much grander scale than the individual; a person’s fashion choices do not merely represent their taste in clothes or hairstyle, but the attitude they adopt to the world and the people and objects with which they choose to surround themselves (Merleau-Ponty 2004, p.63).With the arrival of mass communications technologies in Western societies, it became possible for individuals or entire subcultures to become famous on national or international scales, and for individuals and groups to seek fame with the use of fashion and style.By the fourteenth century, trade expansion, the growth of urban life, and the increasing sophistication of aristocratic and royal courts led to an increase in tailoring (Wilson 1985, p.16).Communications technologies introduced at the end of the nineteenth century helped spread knowledge of the latest fashions worldwide, and fashion and style have been a part of Western societies ever since.Indeed, possibly the most important aspect of a subcultural group is its use of symbolic style (Brake 2013, p.12), with the dominant values of style being image, demeanour and ‘argot’, or a special vocabulary and how it is delivered (Brake 2013, p.13).The nature of subcultural groups’ clothes is very complex: they are the “system of signals by which [they] broadcast [their] intentions, projection of [their] fantasy selves, weapons, challenges, insults” (Carter 1967, p.10).Simultaneously able to be both a whimsical pleasure or novelty and a bold social or political statement, fashion is, in modern society, a functional equivalent to good taste, although the idea of using dress to distinguish oneself is age-old.With their ability and track record of traversing class and social status, fashion and style can be discussed in relation to individuals and groups of people as diverse as monarchs and heads of state, to gatherings of fans of a particular band or genre of music.However, the terms have much deeper meanings when explored further and compared.While Gronow (1993, p.89) describes fashion as a “socially acceptable and safe way to distinguish oneself from others and, at the same time, it satisfies the individual’s need for social adaptation and imitation”, Mauss (1973, p.70) went further by explaining how even the most mundane bodily activity is a cultural technique.

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