The Global Trend Report is our annual round-up of what kids are wearing in every country on Earth. Well, not every country, but the ones we have offices in, anyway. Here's the first of three posts, the music kids, to tie in with our 2012 Fashion Issue.
As much as people in bands harp on about "doing it for the music," we all know the first thought on any band kid's mind is the amount of adrenaline-charged, post-show sex they're going to have with people who are so impressed by notoriety that they'd have sex with mimes if enough people gave a shit about miming. And I'm not just saying that flippantly to fill some space—all bands think this way, even The Decemberists. Of course, if the only people coming to your shows right now are your friends and family, you're going to need a little wardrobe boost to let the wider world know you're taking this band thing seriously. Because who wants to sleep with their friends and family? It gets messy.
Here's how the planet's band kids are dressing this year. If you wanna gawp at the fashion kids or the ones we've diplomatically branded "real people," scroll down to the bottom.
Band guys are throwing away their Belle & Sebastian records, beanies, button-downs and heavy-knit cardigans, and going in hard for this peculiar crust punk, metal-fan, hippie-hybrid look instead. Hipster band dudes are falling over themselves for fucking heavy bands at the moment and that's reflected in the leather jackets, facial piercings, adidas Sambas, skinny black jeans, and strict adherence to an all-black wardrobe that's walking around our streets at the moment. If you're thinking about getting into this look, all you need to do is study what an early hardcore burnout who's been living on the streets for 15 years is sporting and do exactly that, but with less dirt and more dreads.
Obviously you've got the indie bands, pop kids, rap crews and electro-arty kids over there, but metal kids are hands down the best dressers, which might have something to do with the look being ruthlessly perfected there over the last 20 years. You know the drill: long hair, leather jackets, a T-shirt brandishing some gnarly band logo, skinny black jeans and biker boots, with an assortment of spiky bracelets and scary-looking rings thrown on top. Whereas some metal scenes get all anal about wearing the right patches and pins, Swedish kids are far less petulant, so you can basically wear whatever you want. Imagine that, metal kids—wearing whatever you want to wear without fear of a stranger at a show calling you a poser. You can only dream.
South African band kids could all quite easily be extras from an early 90s Monie Love video. I know that decade is back in, but seriously, this is some next level vintage commitment. Kids source all their shirts and jackets from vintage resellers, usually searching out the most mental pattern they can find, whether it's faded tie-dye or some sort of offbeat African print that looks like it comes from the mind of someone who's taken far too many recreational psychedelics. Shorts or trousers in a clashing pattern get you bonus points. Besides doing their best to look like golden-era rappers, there's some modern hip-hop influence in there too, in the form of thick chains bearing pendants that could be anything from gold-leaf animal tooth to small knife blades.
The paisley shirt, scruffy beard, and wide brimmed hats that make up the Beatles-during-their-acid-phase look are still massively popular with guys in the more serious bands over here. There's a whole new bunch of boys and girls, however, who have decided it's about time to stop taking themselves so seriously and start dressing like the colourful part of the 90s has jizzed all over them in a sticky stream of floral print leggings, washed-out jeans, vintage T-shirts and luminous nylon jackets. Those kids play the kind of happy, smiley, jangly pop music that make the guy from Pugwall want to bully them, in case you hadn't guessed.
Band kids in Berlin have a very limited mentality when it comes to colors and seasons. Summer is blue jeans, desert boots, and oversized colorful shirts, while winter is heavy coats and Dr. Martens in black and only black. A few elements of their look have managed to transcend these strict boundaries, though: long, dangly necklaces often bearing a cross pendant or some Oriental iconography, and single-line, homemade tattoos from ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. Mind you, the fact that those tattoos are permanent because of the whole ink-being-irreversibly-injected-under-your-skin thing makes them a bit of a boundary cheat, if you ask me.
There are two distinct trends for London kids in bands. First is the southeast London look that falls somewhere between a crusty Spanish squatter, a psychedelics enthusiast, and an indie kid from 2007, which roughly equates to tie-dyed T-shirts, weirdly positioned facial piercings, and jeans so tight that any hint of genitalia has been reduced to a whisper of what it once was. Second is the more styled, military-smart east London look, which is all skinhead-inspired bomber jackets, turn-ups, and bovver boots. That's obviously what happens when everyone in your city has been walking around like a witch who likes UK garage for years and needs to go in a completely different direction.
The biggest music in Bulgaria right now is chalga—a bizarre melange of techno, folk, and pop—but considering the girls who perform it look like diamante-clad Barbie hookers, it's probably best to focus on the post-punk electro chicks currently keeping our dicks awake at night. Brands may as well be nonexistent, because these girls buy absolutely everything from flea markets. There they source just the right mix of tight jeans, kitsch jewellery, vintage band T-shirts, and aggressive-looking boots to make you hate yourself for agonising over whether this shit's old hat now instead of just mindlessly ripping it up to bands with names like Vagina Crew.
Austrian band kids have definitely grown up since last year into that relaxing and dangerous stage of their lives where they really couldn't give a shit about what they look like. That means super-skinny jeans, shiny accessories, and neon-colored prom shoes have been ousted for a simple T-shirt and jeans combo, with messy hair replacing the weird military haircuts of last year. This change is better for girls who like guys who don't look like idiots, but it also means that most guys in bands now look like they should play dad rock, which is kind of lame. DJs, however, are keeping it interesting, playing MDMA and speed-fuelled nights at gay clubs, and donning mesh shirts, Harrington jackets, and tattoos alongside the least stylish sneakers ever made. To boil it down, everyone cool in Austria right now looks like Larry David on a hangover.
The two main scenes going on in Denmark at the moment are the punks and the hippie kids. Punks dress like you'd expect them to dress—denim jackets, studs, Dr. Martens, leopard print, plenty of piercings and hair that looks like it's been cut with a pair of garden shears. Punk's also a big look in fashion circles, but the giveaway is all in the jeans. Fashion kids wear the skinny fit, real punks wear black regular jeans that are all crusty and fucked up from constantly being drenched in beer and sweat. Hippies are more pseudo-hippie than all-out hemp poncho-hippies, but there's still a lot of long, slouchy dresses, and non-ironic yin-yang necklaces.
If you're going to be a musician in France, it's important to make sure that all of your clothes are covered in a layer of dirt at all times. Once you've got that established, you can decide which way you want to take it. You could go intellectual and talk slowly and longingly about the nuances of love and wear sensible cardigans, Oxford shirts, desert boots, and leather flight jackets. Or, you could take the punkier, trashier route and wear denim jackets, ripped T-shirts, skinny jeans, and Dr. Martens. Either way, you're French and naturally stylish, so if all else fails you can always fall back on a good, solid pair of jeans and a simple T-shirt.
As much as they act all nonchalant when it comes to clothes, Milanese kids in bands are rocking last year's Italian fashion school look down to the thread, only they're buying knock-off Clarks from the dusty sort of place your grandma would go to get her shoes re-heeled and printing their own mock-vintage sweatshirts to pass around to their friends, rather than spending thousands of euros on an equivalent. Just as clothes "don't really matter," hair follows a similar rule. Like, you tried dyeing it that last time you were all fucked up and kind of made a mistake, but whatever, it's only hair, right?
Punk rock is most definitely still for the marginalized weirdos in Russia. Luckily, that means there aren't enough of them to spawn any of those awful punk clothing Nazis who get all vexed every time you wear the wrong leather jacket. This means that punk kids have been able to incorporate aspects of other subcultures into their look. Of course, they chose hippies—the antithesis of punks—to influence their outfits, because they're Russian, and crazy! Which has resulted in long, flowing hair or pink mohawks, straggly beards, politically charged T-shirts, full-sleeve tattoos, and sandals.
Wanna compare and contrast? Find out how the fashion kids and real people of the world dress below: