Rock Style in the Eighties

Upcoming at Parsons on January 30th is a lecture by Paper editor Steven Blush on 1980s Rock Style. Part of the “Form Follows Fashion” series curated by Jessica Glasscock, the lecture seems to take an American perspective on 1980s rock style, focusing on hardcore and heavy metal as opposed to the more British Glam. The lecture is free and open to public and will take place at Parsons Midtown Auditorium, Parsons Fashion, on 560 Seventh Avenue, from 6 to 8pm. Following is the event’s press release

In the 1980s, the contemporary music genres of hardcore and heavy metal each exerted considerable influence over popular graphic design, product design, and fashion. The varying philosophies of each genre engendered wholly differing aesthetics. Hardcore music was characterized by a DIY style: roughly collaged, hand-lettered posters copied at the local Kinko’s, homemade record packaging glued together in basements, and ripped and distressed t-shirts markered with professions of allegiance to a favorite band. Heavy metal was an unapologetically corporate enterprise and the culmination of two decades of rock-and-roll fantasies transformed into mass-marketed signifiers of rebellion: slickly produced logos created by professional graphic designers, success-minded musicians willingly made over as glam gods by Hollywood make-up artists, and multicolored silk-screened t-shirt available for a considerable price at stadium concerts. Somehow in the early 2000s, both styles have beaten a path to the malls of America.

Guest speaker Steven Blush will examine the creation, distribution and overall influence of hardcore and heavy metal in the 1980s and in the present. Blush has been a participant and historian of punk and rock since the early 1980s, when he promoted hardcore shows in Washington, D,C. He is the author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History and American Hair Metal, a senior editor at Paper magazine, and a rock DJ in New York City.