Punk Style: What happens when an ethos becomes a look?

The purpose of this thesis is to critically examine how punk style evolved from its ethos, and what occurs as a result. Essential elements such as individualism, libertarianism, authenticity and rebellion are outlined and linked with the reasons behind people’s desires to be involved with subcultures. North America and Britain are utilised as central examples in this research to provide context for the socio-political conditions under which punk came to fruition. Key stylistic methods of DIY and customisation such as bricolage, agitprop, destruction and the use of hardware are examined in order to link their significance to ideological factors. This work is presented by drawing upon sociological research, along with primary and secondary historical research that indicates the external influences of punk. Findings suggest that there is an assertion of difference found in punk style which implies a hostile relationship with mainstream culture. A new set of sartorial rules is formed as a result. This in turn reveals a conundrum that questions punk’s level of authenticity with regard to stylistic uniformity.