Vintage Style // Jack Kerouac & Allen Ginsberg


As pioneers of the literary sub-cultural Beat movement of 1950s America, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac’s vigorously anti-materialistic convictions underpinned arguably the first anti-fashion trend at a time when fast fashion began to reach the mainstream. The writers, although differed in their style choices, Kerouac wearing worn-out leather jackets and Ginsberg opting for crumpled, miss-matching suit jackets and khaki workpants, had similar values when it came to clothing, or lack of it.

The renegade literary idols forged an anti-fashion look of their own as an antidote to developing 1950s teenage consumer culture. The Beat’s look had an academic intelligence and genuinely rebellious attitude; Crumpled tees, casual trousers like jeans and khaki work pants, thrifted leathers or blazers, topped off with thick-rimmed spectacles became synonymous with contemporary alt culture at its very conception.

“In a now materialistic and conformist society, adolescents were struggling to find their identities. The fashion industry had finally perfected clothing that was wrinkle-free and an interesting response to this was the wearing of jeans and leather jackets that moulded to the body and showed permanent creases.” – The Mid-Atlantic Region, Robert P. Marzec.

via Laura Havlin

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