Punk Style: Articles of Interest #6

There is this myth that it’s frivolous or unproductive to care about how you look. Clothing and fashion get trivialized a lot. But think about who get associated with clothing and fashion: young people, women, queers and people of color — groups of people who historically haven’t had a voice have expressed themselves on their bodies, through their style, their hair, their tattoos, their piercings and what they wear.

Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothingEpisodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.

For Punk, Avery Trufelman spoke with 99pi host Roman Mars; Don Letts, legendary DJ and filmmaker and creator of the documentary Punk Attitude; Claire Wilcox, senior curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum; Michael Costiff, a curator and long time neighbor of 430 Kings Road; Monica Sklar, fashion historian and author of the book Punk Style.


Production & Music

Articles of Interest was created by Avery Trufelman; this episode was edited by Joe Rosenberg; Sasami Ashworth wrote the theme songs for the show; music by Rebecca Redman, Shannon Bodrogi, Jenna Marx, and Mai Oseto of the band SOAR; Graham Hacia did the fact checking; Kelley Coyne did the mix; photography by Matty Lynn Barnes; Roman Mars is the executive producer.

Special thanks to Sonnet Stanfill, Ella Ravilious, Brendan Cormier, Marianne Mccune, and the online library Bloomsbury Fashion Central as well as Delaney Hall, Emmett Fitzgerald, Vivian Le, Kurt Kohlstedt and the rest of the 99pi team

    1. David Bovill

      Yep – me too. Basically you go to supply a link to the music. It’s a crime otherwise.

  1. Arne

    The variations on the musical outro for AIC have been interesting and beautiful. This one for #6 was the best yet (oh, and this series was super interesting, too!)

  2. Erin

    Don’t have Twitter so I’ll say it here: this is an excellent series and I hope you do a 2nd season.

  3. Adam

    Hello. I enjoyed the Articles of Interest series, and I loved listening to Don Letts talk about the history of punk.

    There is one thing you got wrong, though: Neither McLaren not Westwood had any hand in writing the Sex Pistols songs “Anarchy In The UK” or “God Save The Queen,” or any of the songs on Never Mind The Bollocks. They were all written primarily by John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) and Glen Matlock.

    Thanks for the series!

  4. Derek Lyons

    Can you tell me where to find the song during this episode “There’s a Portrait Painted on the Things We Love”?

  5. Shalom Craimer

    This series was amazing. Definitely upholding the values of high-quality content that I’ve expect from 99% Invisible. Kudos, well done, and thank you for creating it!

  6. Myra Groenewegen

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Please do more podcasts on this themes and other long, involved investigations of simple things. Starting simple and going deep is great when done this well.

  7. cdmoore

    If you want to do a story on Vivienne Westwood, just do a story on Vivienne Westwood. She’s amazing and completely deserves it. However, Malcolm McLaren never had an original idea of his own, and any discussion of punk fashion should start with Richard Hell, who created the “punk” look Malcolm ripped off for his shop in England (McLaren admitted as much).

    A picture of Richard Hell —

    Note Richard Hell’s torn shirt, spiked hair, safety pins holding his clothes together (it’s necessary to keep it from falling apart), the DIY designs on his shirt (couldn’t afford to buy nice stuff), and slogans written on his clothes or body. That’s a look that anyone could pull off, even if they were broke and especially if they didn’t have access to a fashion hub like King’s Row.

    1. Erin

      I never thought I’d see someone mansplaining punk rock fashion but here we are.

    2. JA

      While listening to this, early on I knew I’d be visiting the comments to see if anyone else had brought this up. Richard Hell is widely credited as being the forerunner of the original punk look by wearing torn, street urchiny clothes — and so the U.S. is thought to be the source of the original look. While I feel that this story overlooks this by crediting Westwood nearly completely and saying she single-handedly created an entire language of style for people to adopt and make their own, it’s apparent that she definitely combined the NY look with the S&M influence. I really enjoyed this episode but I feel like a more complete version of this story would have outright covered the difference in opinion of where it originated or perhaps just talk about the two style lineages more equally.

    3. Juha Bly

      Mansplaining? Where, Erin? I see additional information not mentioned in the episode. Or did you mean the episode itself?

    1. yes, it would be so awesome if there were photos to go along with this series.

      that’s the one thing missing, it’s hard to picture these stories

  8. Claire

    I am totally loving this series! This episode my favorite. I lived in London in the early 80s and fondly remember cruising Kings rd and visiting Westwoods shop. I could not afford her work (just working as a waitress at the time) and my wardrobe came from Oxfam shoppes tweaked by my imagination.

    I love fashion, and used to spend alot of time thinking/obsessing about it. However, in the last twenty years I am increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of fashion. I’m afraid to say, yes, fashion is frivoulous when you think about the challenges the world’s population faces. The garment industry is incredibly polluting: from monoculture of industrial cotton, dyeing, petroleum based synthetics and plastic clothing that is non biodegradable. And the fact alot of clothing made in sweat shops untenable. People need way fewer clothes than the fashion industry wants you to consume. . AS a Catholic school uniform school wearer for 12 years I can tell you it is easy to be an individual even wearing a uniform. Looking into ecological consequences of our clothing/fast fashion addiction would make a great episode. Lifecycle implications are part of design too.

    Meanwhile I am really happy with my capsule wardrobe of natural fibers in navy and black thrifted from local shops, many pieces I have owned for 30 plus years. I actually have a lovely black cotton velvet v neck shirt my mother bought in 1955 that still looks great. Unfortunately I no longer have any of the great punk pieces I made in London!

  9. Tim L

    So much for engagement with your audience, I guess. I too would be interested in the name of the song at the end, “There’s a Portrait Painted on the Things We Love”.

  10. Tim L

    Thanks for posting a link to the theme song! I searched all over trying to find a place I could buy it.

  11. Snips

    Yes, another season please.
    And I want to get this theme song from Sasami, but it’s not on her SoundCloud!?

  12. J Rizzo

    Can you post reference to the sociologist’s work? The information related to “image demeanor argo”

  13. claudia

    THANK YOU so much for doing this podcast, and all of the ones in this series. This story LITERALLY changed my attitude of who i have become in life. I am an artist and having worked in the corporate world for so long i rather lost my way of who i was.

    I was there, i was a punk rocker or at least tried to be. It was freedom! And over the years i forgot about it, until i heard the beautiful British voice of a man yelling at me to “stop being just a clothes horse”, and vivienne westwood saying “be a goddess, why not?” (ha! i know they did not say that to me, but that’s what i heard :)

    MY GOD did i need to hear that! So i am letting my freak flag fly as high as i can possibly get it :) !!! Please find more stories. Sadly i did not win the billion dollars lottery or else i would have given you and bruno mars a gazillion dollars to keep making me and the rest of the world happy. Until then, you all will have to make do with my annual donation :)

  14. Callie

    Dear Avery Trufelman,
    I loved this series! I am really interested in fashion and clothing, but also in politics, queer-feminism, anti-racism, intersectionality an post-colonial theory. This series brought all these things together really beautifully. I was saving up every episode like a little treasure. Also: i recently started studying anthropology and i was thinking about basing my self study project on this series. So thank you! I would really appreciate a second season!

  15. Lauren

    Thanks for the fantastic reporting on this series! I love 99pi, and I’m hoping the team returns to the Articles of Interest soon!

  16. Jergy

    I think there’s nothing wrong with liking fashion, but in this episode the word “privilege” is used very selectively, using the term to dismiss those who see fashion as superficial and wasteful, but without also applying it to those early punk consumers who paid for such expensive attire just for the look.

    Privilege cuts both ways in this case, though I think most would say that being able to focus one’s time and energy on fashion is the greater of the two signifiers of privilege. Just go outside and see for yourself.

    Power to those who can transcend. If you like fashion, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s also cool.

  17. Shazam

    I agree with Jergy. The use of the word privilege here, spoken from the privileged sounded smug and rang hollow. It’s hard to imagine anyone more privileged than the producers of 99 percent invisible. Try telling people doing physical labor that their jeans and tee shirts are signifiers of privilege.

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