Smells like teen spirit: Subcultures and street style

In my first term I attended lectures on Subcultures and Street Style. I was really looking forward to it as iv also been interested in style and meaning. I can say that the lectures didn’t disappoint, i really enjoyed going to every lecture. I new that subcultures existed, but i didn’t know that there could different styles, themes and motifs in in the same subculture, or the fact that there is and has been so many different subcultures.

My lecture had a great way of breaking down an image by seeing what what is there, and describing simply what you see. Then analysing this elements and what they could mean, the theory to back up what you are seeing and stating. I is definitely the easiest and most helpful method i have learnt, it gave me a great opportunity to just think and concentrate what i was seeing, and perhaps having a small guess as to why those elements where there and what they could me, and they I knew i my analyse was right or wring by reading and quoting authors and researchers. It also gave me an easier way of finding research and quotes.

In the first few weeks we looked at Goths and Punks, there are so many different elements involved in a punk subculture, and it was interesting to know why they were what they were, and why they do what they do. The elements of some them having victorian motifs, which seemed really interesting to be, as it seemed like two completely different styles, however they more we looked into it the more it made sense. This taught me that everything has a meaning, that maybe something isn’t has it seems until you look closely with a fresh mind. We also looked at other motifs of goths, including there theme of the undead, and the idea that there between bodies, just like ‘frankenstein or ‘Dr Jekille and Hyde’. That even the use of make-up is so important, using white to resemble death or the idea of looking ‘dead’.


We then looked at punks, and their motifs of spiky hair and ripped clothes and their over use of wye liner and white foundation just like the goths, in order to create a the idea of the undead. Puns also adapted to the idea of ‘stylisation’, the use of objects to fit the whole outfit, suggested that the style fits the whole identity.

I also came to the realisation that subcultures identity and style, was some sort of rebellion towards mainstream tradition or ‘parents culture’, and they become anti-establishment.

After we looked at traditional subcultures we then looked at postmodernism and the post subcultural style. Teb Polhemus,suggest that contemporary subcultures have a ‘supermarket of style, where the subculture or individual choses bits and pieces from different subcultures, like as if their just picking stuff up from different lies in the supermarket.Meaning that stricked grouping no longer the same. I think this relates to the way artists, including textiles create their work, especially us students who use inspiration from other artists, from past and present in order to create are own work. It aisles teaches us that we can use different ideas in order to create our own, to create our own work or style.

Iv looked looking and learning about all these different subcultures however, we looked at contemporary subculture, Haraujku: a Japanese subculture scene.


We looked at the way they go against traditional Japanese dress, and have a colourful and vibrant look. It is suggested that they have a ;supermarket of style’ taking influence from Hippy, Hillbillies and Hip Hip genres. Having their own individual style, and still having the attitude of ‘do what you like’.The fact that everyone looked the same, and they are standing out from society and attention seeking. It is also stated that due to the fact Japanese housing prices are so expensive that young people are staying at home a lot longer. This means that young people have money to experiment with style and fashion. I think it is a great subculture the way they us a mixture of fabric and texture, and create this so how pretty mess.




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I am a textiles student. Leaning and experimenting with the beauty that is textiles. I want to share my journey and experience, doing what I love and learning along the way.

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