Grunge Fashion on the Rise

By Kimberly Johnson

Posted January 24, 2014 in Web Only
DIY - Elizabeth & James Grunge inspired clothing

This just in: change in climate—grunge fashion heats up the streets

The notion of grunge culture still being a huge fixture in current culture is no falsification.

The idea was made distinctly apparent upon my arrival back to college life. After a much needed winter break —ha, “winter”— I arrived back on campus greeted by exposed knees through tattered denim, flannels flowing in the Santa Ana winds, Doc Martens trudging over burning asphalt and beanies—endless amounts of beanies in varying shapes and colors.

And yes, it is 80+ degrees in various areas of Southern California currently. We are actually going through a drought causing my allergies to flare and an attractive daily layer of sweat to cover my body.

Yes, the unexpected heat does have me doubling up on deodorant and fiending for my Claritin fix. Thank you for asking.

However, this hasn’t kept me or my college peers from sporting baggy beanies pulled down over our ears and over sized sweatshirts for that fashion over function steez. Yet, I’m feeling conflicted, really. It’s touching on an “I slept in this outfit” quite casual look, but somehow looks and feels painfully appealing and totally on trend. I guess it’s just “a thing,” as some would refer to it. The burgeoning reemergence of a style notion that brims the border of “hesh” fashion merged with the essence of early ‘90s grunge.

Day two introductions in my anthropology course brought out the best of this idealism.

My professor—flaunting thick black-brimmed glasses, a suit jacket over a checkered button up and fully tattooed forearms—reminisced about his days in Portland. “Grunge is still alive and kicking over there, man. It legitimately never left, really. I can see it making a comeback out here too. It’s awesome.” Quite excitedly, he tied this in to a discussion on culture. The witty bastard somehow found a way to bring us in to a conversation on shifts relating to music, fashion and above all—grunge—conclusively reeling us all back to the comparative studies of human societies. It was brilliant.

As you would imagine, we talked Nirvana for a bit. We needed to understand the mainstream origins of the subculture before dissecting its intricacies, of course. We pushed the limits with a little Jesus and the Mary Chain. We spoke about the stark, culturally shocking jump from 80’s hair metal right into grunge; a vast shift for fashion to say the least. Men came from walking around in leopard print accessories, spandex blouses and fishnet frocksto emulating the grunge alpha and omega, Mr. Kurt Cobain.

Teamed with a few contemporary fashion fixtures—maybe the standard snapback for men and a pair of highly crucial leggings for the ladies—grunge essentials are being mixed and matched throughout the wardrobes of fashion forwards everywhere.

As you stroll through the aisles of malls and peak into those fashion blogs, see if you can spot a homage to the profound era of grunge.

While it may not hold the same weight it did when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” first aired on MTV, its presence is back with a modern approach, able to be utilized and expanded on in ways that truly show grunge culture’s longevity and versatility.


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