The type of music you choose to listen to can be a very big social marker. It influences your choice of friends, where you party and what your next Facebook status update is going to be. What you might not realise is that it can also reveal a lot about your sense of style. Everyone likes to think that the way they dress is unique but, in fact, most people dress to look like someone else and most of the time their fashion icons are on MTV and not the Style Network. Even on campus, a lap around the Student Centre is all it takes to confirm that there are distinct trends in the way people dress and they can all be traced back to a specific genre of music. Here’s a rundown of a few prevailing styles that are characterised by music.
The (not) rapper
Remember when hip hop used to be called “rap” and everyone was shirtless, tattooed and dangerous? Well, it would seem that times have changed, but not that much. Shirts and education are still optional in the world of hip hop, but lately hip hop artists (not rappers anymore, apparently) are taken more seriously when it comes to their style. Kanye West, Pharrel and André 3000 are often credited with introducing fashion to hip hop. A baseball cap is a staple for most hip hop fans, as well as high top sneakers. Strangely, clothes that people automatically associate with hip hop, like baggy jeans and Timberland sneakers, seem to be outmoded and have been replaced by trendy clothing that actually fits. Dressing for hip hop is all about making a bold statement – so if you’ve ever needed an excuse to own a jacket-vest, buy a Jay-Z album.
Little is known about dubstep, the young electronic genre fromEurope, but the devotion exhibited by its fan base is quite impressive. Since it is an underground genre of music, it makes sense that the overall dress sense of its fandom is unconventional. Apparently, the whole point of being a dubstep fan (and dressing like one) is to look like a drug addict without actually being one. Every dubstep fan owns at least one pair of tattered jeans and combat boots, but the easiest way to spot a true fan is to look for neon-coloured clothing and unusual hairstyles. The fascinating thing about the dubstep style is how the fans develop it more than the artists do – most dubstep artists are just DJs who dress ordinarily enough, so the real pioneers of dubstep fashion are actually its followers. How they all agree on what to wear is just one of the many mysteries of dubstep.
The indie devotee
For the purpose of this paragraph, let us settle the indie/hipster debate by concluding that they are not the same person. Indie boys and girls pride themselves on being trendy, but unlike hipsters they hardly ever rub it in anyone’s face. Indie style is vast and ever-changing and very difficult to pigeonhole. Skinny jeans and clever slogan T-shirts are a must, as well as multiple pairs of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. Indie fashion is something of a culture, with magazines and blogs dedicated to following it. It has even been the inspiration for several fashion lines by big names like Hermes and Louis Vuitton. As a result, many typically indie trends have made their way into mainstream fashion. Now people who have never even heard of Two Door Cinema Club or The National are confused with indie fans all the time based on the way they’re dressed. Hipsters beware.
The mosh pitter
Yes, heavy metal fans still exist. They’re hard to spot because they move in swift covens between lectures and very quickly resume their post at Aandklas as soon as their day is over. Believe it or not, the hard rock style has been the muse of many fashion shows and elements of it often infiltrate other styles of dress like indie and even hip hop. You can thank heavy metal for your studded leather jacket and black nail polish. Most of the time, however, heavy metal fans aren’t trying to be trendy at all. It’s just dark denim and band T-shirt after band T-shirt. Their style is an accidental side effect of their extended musical expression and they might be very offended if you ever call them fashionable.
Photo: Esther van Eeden