Punk rock was a significant influence on 80s music and fashion. Musicians and fans of the punk scene often wore ripped jeans, leather jackets, and studded belts. This rebellious and edgy style was also characterized by dyed hair in bright colors and heavy black eyeliner. The punk rock scene thrived due to the use of cassette tapes that were copied and sold, traded or shared among fans. Live shows played a crucial roll in the development of the scene as most major record labels wouldn’t manufacture or distribute punk rock records and there were very few radio stations that would provide airplay.
The New Wave music genre emerged in the late 70s and continued to be popular in the 80s. This style of music was often associated with fashion that was quirky and offbeat, with bold prints, bright colors, and unconventional accessories such as suspenders, berets, and fedoras. New wave music and fashion trends were far more embedded into the mainstream of 1980’s culture than Punk Rock which was considered too rebellious. Many New Wave artists got regular airplay both on commercial radio and television with the advent of MTV.
Pop music became a dominant force in the 80s, with artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince influencing fashion trends with their iconic looks. Madonna’s style was characterized by lace gloves, layered jewelry, and fishnet stockings, while Michael Jackson’s signature look included a single sequined glove and red leather jacket. Pop music controlled the airwaves, television and media being sold in stores and completely influenced the mainstream fashion world with big hair, neon colors, ripped jeans and later the icon “acid washed” styles of the late 80s & early 90s.
The rise of hip hop music in the 80’s had a significant impact on fashion. It included everything from tight Jordache jeans to the breakdancing inspired Puma & Adidas tracksuits of the mid 80’s and later the tapered leg and pleated waist pants popular at the end of the decade. The entire look of the 80’s Hip Hop world revolved around sneakers and to a certain extent accessories such as Kangol hats, fat shoe laces, thick gold chains and oversized sunglasses. Much like Punk Rock, Hip Hop music relied on independent record pressings and cassette tape recordings of radio shows passed around by fans to get music to the ears of its listeners.
Glam Rock, Heavy Metal & Hair Bands
Glam rock music was popular in the 70’s but continued to influence fashion in the 80’s. This style was characterized by flamboyant clothing, bold makeup, and hairstyles that were often teased, curled, and colored in bright shades.
Heavy metal music also had an impact on 80’s fashion. Fans of the genre often wore leather jackets, denim vests, and band t-shirts. The look was typically accessorized with studded bracelets, necklaces, belts and bandanas. Most 80’s rock music received regular radio and video play and was widely available on all three of the common music formats of the decade; vinyl, CD and cassette tape. Popular 80’s rock artists included AC/DC, Queen, Van Halen Motley Crue, Metallica & Def Leppard.
80’s music & fashion trends were characterized by a sense of boldness and individuality, with musicians and fans alike pushing the boundaries of style. Many of these trends continue to inspire fashion today, showing that the 80s were a decade of truly iconic looks.
The vinyl records, tapes and compact discs of the time often featured bold and memorable imagery that became an important marketing tool for musicians and record labels to build brand identity and sell merchandise. Artist logos and album art came to define the visual aesthetic of entire music genres.
Music-related fashion played an important role in building communities of fans around those particular music genres. People could connect with each other through their shared fashion and musical tastes, which helped to create a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Music and fashion trends were an important part of the cultural landscape of the 1980s, providing a way for fans to express themselves, for musicians and record labels to market themselves, and for communities of people to come together around shared musical and fashion interests.
If your precious 80’s musical memories are still sitting in a closet collecting dust next to your Sweats Bi Ebe sweatshirt, Dokken t-shirt or Troop jacket contact us now to have your cassette tapes & records digitized, transferred and archivally preserved.