Like all great subcultures of the world, they revolve around culture, music and of course fashion. Some of the most notable subcultures include Mods, Goths and Punks in which many of the fashion and cultural relevance remains today. One of the subcultures that hit society in the late 80s and early 90s was Grunge.

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Emerging in the late 80s in Seattle, Washington Grunge quickly became known as the hybrid genre of punk and metal -Taking influences from both music genres.

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In the late 80s, the term grunge was often used to describe bands in the Seattle area. The term was allegedly coined by Bruce Pavitt when describing the band, Green Rivers’ latest E P. In its most basic term, Grunge is often used to describe things that are grimey or dirty, However, began being used to describe music of a gritty nature, with heavy bass and raw vocals.

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One of the most notable bands that brought the genre of Grunge to the forefront of society was none other than Nirvana. Kicking off their rise to stardom with their first album Bleach in 1989 and eventually arriving with the now infamous album Nevermind  Nirvana soon became the face of the scene and aesthetics.

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Other popular bands to come out of the scene included Pearl Jam,  Hole and was loosely associated with Riot grrrl. Grunge music drew inspiration from the heavier metal bands from the 70s, like AC/DC and  Led Zeppelin.


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Vintage Led Zeppelin Band T-shirt



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Society was looking for a change, we no longer needed the lovers from the 60s, punks from the 70s or New Romantics from the 80s. People were looking for a sense of normality and Grunge was the perfect fit for this. The music and culture was heavily influenced by self-loathing, the disenfranchised and had a political edge.

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While grunge fashion is still very popular today, and even a highly desired look by some, Grunge fashion was never meant to be carefully curated. It was simple and reflected an average person walking down the street. The scenes fashion was inspired by the bands who lived this and It became highly desirable to mimic this appearance.

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With a ‘screw you’ attitude and just like Punk, grunge was quickly adopted by high fashion houses. Hitting the runways in the 90s many high fashion houses like Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld and Donna Karen began taking Grunge inspiration and feeding it to the runways. 

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The fashion was also inspired by the ‘lumberjack’ look with oversized flannel shirts, ripped jeans, combat boots and band t-shirts. As the scene grew more and more into an anti-consumerist movement, it became cool to no longer spend money on clothes. The less you bought, the cooler you were. 

So there’s a little bit of history for you behind the subculture of Grunge. While Grunge is still fondly remembered for the music that came out of the scene the fashion associated with the genre of music is still often worn today. Let us know in the comments below, what are your favourite Grunge bands!