Candid's Fashion & Grooming Editor, Ross Pollard revisits his Punk roots at Underage over London Fashion Week.
On the 4th of June 1973, a warm room at the Lesser Free Trade Hall brought the emerging London sub-culture of The Kings Road to a new audience. That night was a pivotal point in the birth of Punk – The Sex Pistols ignited a legend. The luminaries of the Punk scene, the aforementioned Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and from that night, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Tony Wilson would take up the mantle alongside the band most synonymous with the genre.
Step forward forty-five years and that youthful rebellion, sense of disorder and rejection still play large in our fashion cannon. Underage Studio and designer Ying Shen have picked up the baton with a fantastic collection that pays a knowing nod to the heritage of Soo Catwoman, Jordan and Jamie Reid – the true creators of the iconic punk style.
Punk was and will always be about challenging societal norms and engrained rules, and through the mixture of women's, men's and unisex looks the label has created, they've arrived at the rebirth of another great 70s breakthrough – the idea of androgyny that plays so large in the thoughts of modern, forward-thinking fashion.
The large prints, graffiti and considered use of bold lettering on the statement pieces lend to a genderless wardrobe with great understanding towards the 1970s to 90s time period that influenced the collection. A particular highlight for me was the suit-style jacket with the red and gold print, and for that more androgyny-based ideal, the black trousers with the text print. Alongside those, what could be more statement than the long coat in monochrome with wide lapels?
I've discussed this theme a lot with a few of my colleagues lately (hat tip to Candid Magazine’s Creative Director, Rebekah Roy) and it's one we're all eager to see progress. Ying Shen should be acknowledged as one of the bright young talents in the vanguard of the movement and even as an aging punk myself who still drones on for hours about why The Clash are the greatest band of all time, I'm still excited by this collection, and I think another fave, Poly Styrene would have too. After all, to paraphrase Mr Lydon himself (with a tweek): ‘I'm not into fashion, I'm into chaos’.