It’s hard to imagine a world where music and fashion are not platforms for creativity and self-expression. A hundred years ago, young people saw corsets and cravats as symbols of repression instead of catalysts for freedom. They also didn’t listen to punk rock music in their homes. Instead, they were reading Friedrich Nietzche’s books under the table.
Today, Gen Z and millennials are more rebellious than ever before. They’re not afraid to speak their minds and show their dissent. Music and fashion have been used as tools for defiance ever since the 1920s, and throughout the decades, they’ve allowed people to express their sexuality, political beliefs, and individuality.
Jazz in the 1920s
During the 1920s, Americans began using “speakeasies,” which were essentially alcohol-filled bars, in response to the country’s ban on alcohol. Many groups, including the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, called jazz an immoral act. These types of criticisms were also sparked by the fact that most of its performers were African-Americans.
Due to the rebellious nature of jazz, people of all races went to these clubs to drink and listen to this new type of music. This new form of expression and entertainment led to the creation of a new revolutionary fashion trend for young women. During this time, young women could ditch the traditional full-skirt trend and sport more scandalous looks, such as long pearl necklaces and short hair.
During this time, men began wearing high-collared shirts and double-breasted coats, which were then replaced by the more rebellious “Zoot Suits.” The “speakeasies” served as a rebellious space, and this type of music also encouraged people to rebel against society through fashion.
Punk Rock in the 1970s
Following the 1970s, America was horrified by the horrors of the Vietnam war and the Watergate Scandal. This caused a resurgence in rebellious music, which was led by the rise of punk rock. Unlike other forms of music, punk rock was known for its independence and originality and gave the middle finger to the prevailing status quo.
This liberation led to the rise of punk rock, and its members often wore dark makeup and wore tight leather. Their goal was to look like they were different from everyone else. Punk rock is regarded as the first real music subculture.
Glitz Rock in the 1970s
Pop culture’s fascination with science also led to the emergence of another new music subculture, which was known as “glitz rock.” During the 1970s, various artists, such as Queen and David Bowie, used science fiction to inspire their performances. This type of music was known for its outlandish looks, including body paint, catsuits, and camp-androgynous looks. Since these looks didn’t catch on with the mainstream, this new type of music was widely considered to have inspired another fashion movement.