If Punk fashion is an ‘anti fashion’ stance or movement then Grunge can be seen as a ‘non fashion’ statement or movement away from the typical sense of fashion set by fashion agencies or designers. Grunge is a love child of Punk and Scene which was also inspired by the comfortable fashion sense of the Hippie era. It was inspired by the dark theme of Punk with the nonchalant and loose fashion of the Hippie, i.e. a comfortable, uncoordinated look with the edgy style of Scene added to it which makes it look appealing. From vintage band tee shirts, flannels, oversized wool Pendletons to chunky Dr. Marten’s combat boots, high-waist jeans or comfortable cargo pants are some of the Grunge essentials.
Grunge is an alternative rock music style featuring electric guitars and dragging lyrics. Grunge fashion is a part of grunge music genre and sub culture which started in mid 1980s Seattle and reached its popularity in early 2000s. This fashion is iconic with its durability and timeless thrifting with a vintage style. Celebrities like Kurt Cobain, the singer-guitarist of Nirvana used to wear an oversized striped sweater, ripped jeans, a pair of converse and unkempt hair which influenced grunge fashion.
“Grunge has changed over time; flannels and Dr. Martens which were worn as “non fashion” statements have changed into a movement; a fashion statement in itself.”
Designers like Marc Jacobs brought grunge to a luxury platform in 1993. He was inspired by his creative director of women’s design at Perry Ellis, debuting a whole spring collection inspired by grunge. A French brand which you all know as Louis Vuitton joined in the grunge fashion statement in 1997. Yet the fashion statement was called “ghastly” and only took off in the 2000s. It soon after became mainstream and made its way to the runways. Soon grunge trademarks like heavy layering, flannels, vintage band tees, Dr. Martens, oversized slouchy sweaters and many more were seen everywhere.
Even today grunge fashion is alive but with some alterations and enhancements to aid the modern fashion. This has given birth to a whole new sub-genre of grunge aesthetic i.e. soft grunge, pastel grunge, cute grunge, Indie grunge and vintage grunge. The basic grunge of the 90s was dark and heavily inspired by scene and punk rock while these new genres were inspired by the various aesthetic needs of modern fashion.
Grunge as a fashion statement has evolved and now it just doesn’t include dark but has some lighter shades added to its sub genres. It no longer contains just vintage band tees, ripped jeans, oversized sweaters or combat boots but has accommodated skirts, dresses, shorts, crop tops, cargo pants etc. with the basic grunge aesthetics. It’s a medley, mix and match, which is what fashion is.