Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Military influence on Subculture - When is it bad?

Marilyn Manson screengrab from the fight song Filmclip. This is a Waffen SS Officer cap, with the TottenKopf(skulls) and German Eagle Insignia removed.

Metamaphose, and EGL (Elegant Goth Lolita) designer from Japan caused an uproar in the Lolita Fashion community, when they released this outfit, and some others. The uproar was based around the fact that they were supposed to resemble Nazi uniforms from WW2. In fact, they don't really resemble German uniforms at all, except for the German eagle insignia.

18th century military officers uniform influence in this gothic outfit. "Military Style Jacket" from Horrorshop.

Not so subtle SS Officer uniform with trenchcoat on a Japanese girl, including the SS cap.

I was at a alt fashion show, Circa Nocturna, and one of the designers had some military influence in her work. Most of it was German Wehrmacht, German Waffen SS and some Russian Military uniforms from the same era. Interestingly the designer herself was Russian.

An odd thing happenned. My older friends, in their early 40's and late 30's, were apparently quite unimpressed with the military references, mostly the Waffen SS (which I thought was prevalent in mainly one design) ones. I think some of them were going to walk out.

Howwever the majority of the crowd, who were generally younger, didn't seemed bothered by fact, they couldn't work out what the issue was. Obviously to us older types, who grew up in WW2's after affects, are more affected by it. But I wasn't actually sure if the younger people there (1) were unfamiliar with the war and the symbolism of the uniforms or (2) were familiar with it, but didn't think it was an issue.

I myself was going to buy one of the jackets, but my Girlfriend (older) threatened to disown me if I did.

In any event, Subcultural fashion, and subcultural fashion worn on stage by musicians, loves to shock, and if you can get some shock out of referencing some thing that annoys people, then you may get your mediabytes from it. And in some cases, the only bad publicity is no publicity. Sex Pistols used swastikas on T shirts to annoy the public - they (or Malcolm Mclaren at least) were masters of shock publicity, and it made them what they were. Certainly Marilyn Manson also benefits from the shock value of military fashion.... and it fits with his general modus operandi of wearing whatever he has to the looks cool, but stil shocks. Ahhhh Mazza....bless your fishnet socks!

Are military uniforms sinister, or just historical influence on fashion though? How far back do we have to go before something is benign. Are WW1 uniforms ok, but not WW2 uniforms? Are 19th Century British redcoat uniforms Ok?. Are the German Uniforms from WW2 not ok, but the Russians ones fine? Are the Wehrmacht uniforms ok, but Waffen SS no good?

I don't have the answers to these things, my answer is that what is good to wear or not to wear may often be contextual. I like military influence on fashion, but at the same time, care should be taken to not deliberately offend. Certain countries take more offense than others... certainly Nazi Fashion seems not to offend some in South East Asia.

Military influence, or in this case, Nazi influence in subcultural fashion can


Mia said...

I think the military influence is awesome. Dont know why, but military uniform are very hot.

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Alternative Fashion Blogger said...

Thanks Sadie!

Alternative Fashion Blogger said...

@Mia - yeah, miliatry has a certain something to it? I dunno. I think the female form in a fitted military uniform is definitely sexy.

Anonymous said...

personally, i want to like what i wear, and i don't see any reason to be cavalier about its cultural roots. so i'll pass on the swastikas. (unless it's the ancient Hindu symbol.)

Sakara said...

well Hugo Boss designed the Nazi officer's uniforms, so they do look elegant in their structure and cut, but then you always find the bad guys always dress better than the good guys.
The Nazi officer uniform, especially the SS are though, still seen as wrong, because of what they represented. Young people today, should still understand what that uniform mean't, why it is still banned in Germany for anyone to wear anything remotly nazi.

Alternative Fashion Blogger said...

Hugo Boss designed the Nazi uniform? yes, the SS uniform is *wrong* to wear. This is a moral quandry for WW2 historical re-enactors.. the people that get dressed up in Historical uniforms and re-enact battes. The SS uniform is very popular, and in some cases banned.

Michel said...

Nice ideas, very cool post.. i like it..

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Sakara said...

You'd be amazed at the well known german companies with links to the Nazi regime.
Hugo Boss designed the officer's uniforms. Siemens designed the gas chambers at the extermination camps. Of course the most well know is Volkswagon which was created to be the people's car company by the nazis. The beetle was once created as the altogether peoples car for the german race and ended up being a car for the surfing crowd of post war America.

rothcomilitaryclothing said...

this is a nice post and pics given here are also good..i love the most military clothing..

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Anonymous said...

The reason why the older generations, and most people today, are so mad at the use of German military uniforms is because there was evidence of what the Germans did. The other wars before were only told of through newspaper articles and by a person who heard a rumor of this or that. The younger generation lack the ability to not care of the past, but they also lack the ability to understand its impact and meaning. Plain ignorance, what can you do. ;D

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Anonymous said...

....british red coats conducte a war not a genocide
Germans in world war 1 conducted a war not a genocide
Although war and genocide go hand and han they are two different things
German SS officers where the primal force that conducted the crimes agaisnt humanitys. Carrying out a genocide of 12 million CIVILIANS (6 million where jewish) in an ettempt of ethnic cleansing. Even more appaling is that the japanese empire was on the nazis side. There has been much controversy that the japanese have censored their history books. So these young japanese don't know all the history
As someone who's ancestors in europe where affected I find it disgusting to see kids my own age putting on the uniforms of mass murders who starved humans until they where living corpses, burning people alive, or much much worse , without understanding or even wanting to understand the history behind the uniforms
The outrage isn't because it is a military uniform , it is because it is the uniform of mass sytemetic murders
Not to mention racist neo-nazis and holocaust deniers still exhist
Thats all

Oh and sorry for all horid spelling errors , I'm on my ipod and it won't let me correct them for some reason

Rave Store said...

Military uniform is always a great looking style. Females in military uniform, "hands down", Sexy. Great post!

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Alternative Fashion Blogger said...

Yeah, as I have said, my personal opinion is people shouldn't wear the swastika to clubs and I don't think people should wear SS uniforms either, because of what they represent.

I'm not against military influences in fashion at all, I think military influence on fashion is cool, but wearing an SS uniform is too close too its idealogy.

Byrdwdpn said...

Military uniform is always a great looking style. Females in military uniform, "hands down", Sexy. Great post!

Dan said...

It's more complex than the military dress uniform. For instance the Mod use the parka.

The hoodie is a variant of the camouflaged smock used by snipers. The German foraging cap is similar to the baseball cap. Also most biker jackets are based on German designs for motorcycle troops. Mods n Rockers and hoodies.

The modern suit is very similar to the suit worn by officers in staff uniforms. Ties, collars pockets in the same pattern. I'd say that modern dress is heavily influenced by military designs.

Burberry for example: their classic trenchcoat. It's a military design too. Full length trousers are first seen on soldiers in the Napoleonic era. Men wore knickbockers and socks in their day to say lives before that.

Almost all male fashion has a sporting or military ceremonial root.

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