Volume 38, nr. 3 10 minutes By Merlijn Barkema, English
The history of the ‘anarchy shirt’: “Commodification and consumption were always part of the punk subculture.”
What do fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, artist and producer Malcolm McLaren and the band members of the Sex Pistols have in common? They are the central figures in the 1970’s London punk culture. In this article, Merlijn Barkema uses the ‘anarchy shirt’ created by Westwood and McLaren, and worn by the Sex Pistols, as a point of convergence for studying how and why elements from punk culture and commercialism came together in the making and wearing of the famous shirt.
Merlijn Barkema recently finished the research master’s in History at Utrecht University. She has a broad interest in cultural history, including histories of activism, animals, and the body. She wrote her master’s thesis on the history of guide dog schools in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Image at top: Drawing based on the ‘anarchy shirt’ on display at The Metropolitan Museum in New York. By Marissa van de Kreke.