Punk is one of the few music subcultures that is known just as much, if not more so, for its fashion than its musical/artistic contributions to society as a whole. We here at MeMoi want to take the time to tap into what hosiery and bottoms trends were present in the punk movement, and what we can do to help you recreate these legendary looks.
While fishnet stockings are most closely associated with the punk rockers of the 1970s and beyond, the popularity of the fishnet as a fashion staple rose in the 1920s, after first making an appearance in Victorian era silhouettes as a tease beneath flowing skirts. Flapper girls were all the rage, and their short dresses allowed for the tights to be shown off. Plus, all that air flow allowed for more time on the dance floor, something these girls valued. The flappers' sense of freedom and feminine liberation earned this garment a reputation for sensuality and a certain sense of the risqué.
Fishnets became a staple in counterculture, appearing in films such as the gender-bending Rocky Horror Picture Show and onstage with punk icons like Siouxsie Sioux (of The Banshees fame) and Debbie Harry of Blondie. These icons and more, such as Sid Vicious' girlfriend Nancy Spungeon, wearing fishnets "read like a symbolic rejection of cookie-cutter femininity" (Newell-Hanson 1). They were, and still are, seen as a rebellion against traditional leg coverings, a reclamation of women's selfhood through revealing without revealing.
Today, fishnets still make appearances on high fashion runways, in punk youth subculture, as well as in Halloween costumes. They remain ubiquitous in our culture and will likely do so for the foreseeable future.
Punk Pants, from Denim to (P)leather
Punk pants themselves have their roots in both street wear and high fashion. Vivienne Westwood was a primary designer that brought punk to the forefront in the 1970s in England, and her designs included patchwork on ordinary pairs of jeans. In addition to this, punks and other rockers borrowed clothing from communities as disparate as motorcycling and fetish wear. Incorporating leather, latex, and pleather (for those concerned with animal rights) came to the forefront of punk in the 1980s. In terms of streetwear, much of what we associate with punk leather/pleather fashion comes from gangs of the 1970s, who wore studs and denim vests, as well as fitted, well worn pants. Memoi is here to acknowledge the making of punk pants - a process that involves taking a pair of usually denim pants and wearing them past the point of recognizability - and adapting them to a more practical, modern, adult sensibility.
Here are some MeMoi looks that can help you recreate the grit and grunge of the punk days gone by. Maybe you can spark a movement of your own!
Shop the Look: Maxi Fishnet Tights
Shop the Look: Double Weave Fishnet Tights
Shop the Look: Scroll Fashion Net Tights
Shop the Look: Sexy Moto Pleather Accent Shaping Leggings
Shop the Look: Fever Red Faux/Vegan Leather Leggings
Newell-Hanson, Alice. “The Strange, Sexy History of Fishnet Stockings.” i-D Vice, Vice, 27 June 2017, i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/xwdy3j/the-strange-sexy-history-of-fishnet-stockings.
Nguyen, Mimi Thi. “On Punk Pants: Duration, Devotion, and Distinction.” Thread & Circuits, Wordpress, 5 Apr. 2011, threadandcircuits.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/on-punk-pants-duration-devotion-and-distinction/.