Heavy metal's style legacy
By Chris Sayer, 28 July 2016
You may have noticed your wardrobe looks a little more, er, satanic lately. Some of our favourite brands and go-to sartorial inspirations have turned their stereos up to 11 and let the devil’s music flow forth into their heads, so as to draw some big-time fashion inspiration from the heavy metal world. Here’s how the loudest, fastest music on the planet has influenced the way we look in 2016…
Like a hirsute middle finger to The Man, back in the 70s the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and his Black Sabbath boys grew out their manes to pledge allegiance to metal, and no other. Flash forward to the present day, and you only needed to look towards the catwalks of London Collections Men earlier this year to see that standard-issue headbanger’s hairstyle is the male ‘do of 2016.
Very metal fonts
Supreme’s Black Sabbath range earlier this year was nowhere near the only brand-meets-band collab of 2016. You’d need plectrums lodged in your eyeballs not to notice how hard other major streetwear players have gone on iconic heavy metal fonts recently. Super-exclusive French label Vetements has raided the Scandinavian black metal archives with their barely legible branding; Kanye West merch came right out of Metallica’s thrash metal sketchbook; and even Biebs went big with a nod to the dark side, ripping US heavy metallers Pentagram’s word art for his Purpose Tour line.
Worn-out band tees
Adam Levine in a Metallica tee; Gosling sporting Black Flag’s iconic four bars; NBA fashionista Russell Westbrook with Iron Maiden’s zombie mascot Eddie emblazoned on his chest; and Biebs frequenting the merch tables of everyone from Marilyn Manson to Slayer. Judging by this recent vintage and washed-out metal tee trend, the iPods of the rich, famous and very stylish must be filled with some serious ear destroyers.
As if shredding frets wasn’t hard enough for us mere mortals, the axe-wielding gods of rock do it with some seriously heavy metal around their fingers. Chunky silver skulls, eagles, signets and crosses are no longer just the accessories of choice for Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden and other musicians that shake hands with the devil – the grittier side of the acting world are all over them, too. Norman Reedus, Mickey Rourke and Jonny Depp are all slipping them on, along with chart mavericks such as Harry Styles, in a sartorial strategy to up their edginess.