Did Grunge Die With Kurt?

The grunge movement of the early 1990’s was a backlash against the light disco-pop of the 80’s, giving angsty teenagers everywhere an outlet. This music orientated scene resulted in an affordable fashion which was available to the masses due to it’s low maintenance aesthetic. This was tainted when Marc Jacobs catapulted grunge fashion into the mainstream, with a high fashion grunge for Perry Ellis in 1993, undermining the cultures core values. Combined with the death of Nirvana front man and idol, Kurt Cobain, the diffusion of grunge began. So what is left of grunge today?

New Grunge - This classifies the underground scene who continue to carry core grunge values without the fashion aesthetic. Bands include The Wutars and Warpaint. An employee of today’s music scene said, “I have worked at Rough Trade since the store opened and never have we had a “Grunge” specific music section. Stereotypical grunge bands have always been slotted into other genres such as post-punk and new wave.” This leads to a conclusion that Grunge was a culture and not a specific genre of music. Therefore, since the culture has died, new bands have had to adopt different music styles e.g. Indie, as there is no longer a fan base for 90’s grunge.

Faux Grunge – Original grunger Kate Moss could arguably have pioneered this ‘look’, stemming from her early 90’s ‘heroin chic’ dishevelled style. Her look has influenced the London socialite scene today. Offspring of rock stars and rebel heiresses including Alice Dellal and the Geldof daughters who have embraced a luxe-grunge aesthetic – taking the original anti-fashion and giving it a make-over. Alice Dellal has taken this a step further, starting her own band ‘Thrush Metal”, along with other heiresses and models. It’s become a novelty - all about the aesthetic. She even boasts that they “can’t play their instruments”.

These role models have influenced a younger generation of fashion-conscious consumers, specifically gig and festival-goers. You can dress up to match your event, as this look is so obtainable. There is almost a festival grunge check-list:
  • ·   Flannel shirt
  • ·   Distressed denim shorts
  • ·   Doc Martens

A good example of this total diffusion of grunge fashion into the mainstream is pop princess Pixie Lott’s contrast ranges for the commercial Lipsy; Pixie Party and Pixie Festival.

Grunge has come so far that the original “comfort over chic” look has become a global fashion trend. The culture has diffused leaving remnants of its original self in modern fashion. Original grungers have grown up.