Grunge Subculture

It’s after school and rock music is playing in someone’s garage. Teenagers wearing baggy jeans, flannels, and tank tops are playing. Hair is hanging and voices are rising. After repeating the chorus for the thousandth time, the mother of the house shuts off the power. In the dark, groans fill the dusty room and self-entitled, rebellious subculture are done for the day.
Originally introduced in the 1980s, the mid 1990s welcomed the “grunge” phenomenon. Driven by the music subgenre, the cliche is that bands were starting out in garages. Appearances were becoming more laid back and messy. It was the rebirth of the early 1970s, but with more attitude toward higher authority. Iconic “grunge” bands (and singers) included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Hole, Alanis Morissette, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden.
Hair for both men and women was worn disheveled and didn’t contain any product in opposition to the 1980s where gels, mousses, and hairspray were used to style. Women would french braid their hair or sport ponytails. Men would typically avoid doing anything major to their hair, but some would dabble in permanent/semi-permanent hair dye; women did this as well.
When it came to makeup, lining the eyes with black or brown pencils was done to the extreme. Courtney Love was an advocate for her smokey eye look with maroon lipstick. Makeup brands such as Urban Decay, Covergirl, and Wet N’ Wild introduced grunge inspired nail polish and dark cosmetics as seen on rising celebrities. This was called “heroin chic.”
Clothing was laid back with ill-fitted flannels worn with no preference for color on top of a tank top or just a shirt. This was replicated by Kurt Cobain whose music and lyrics started the grunge generation.
Accessories were kept at a bare minimum, but might include belts, bracelets, or a necklace.
For bottom wear, cargo and camo pants were practically essential when it came down to 1990s fashion, but ripped jeans were more and more welcomed in the fashion world.
Shoes were not as impractical or as unique unlike sports related shoes in the 1980s; hightops in particular had become a new style seen on many teens and young adults. In fact, they were worn unkempt and dirty to go along with the “I don’t care” attitude of adolescents. Popular shoe brands were Vans, Converse, Doc Martens with colors of black, grey, and white.
The grunge subculture started in Seattle, Washington. Teenagers of the time were captivated by what was portrayed in television and film. Cigarettes, going to late night concerts, and crass dares were glamorized. It was the sense of individuality and being accepted that the grunge subculture truly sought. This resulted in more focus on music and fighting for social rights while going against the “norms” of society.