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Welcome to the Runway: How Did Guns N Roses’ Clothing Change Fashion?

It’s been more than thirty years since Guns N Roses exploded onto the music scene. They came out of nowhere to redefine rock n roll. 

Their music was filled with venom and attitude, and they had enough swagger to more than pull it off. But it wasn’t just their music that had a massive impact on popular culture. They also made a splash in the world of fashion that is still apparent today.

In this article, we take a look at how Guns N Roses clothing changed the way a generation of young people dressed. Keep reading to learn the fascinating way Axl and the boys influenced the fashion world.

Appetite for Destruction

Believe it or not, it’s now been over thirty years since GNR released their debut album. It was an instant hit, selling millions of copies around the world, making them the biggest rock band on the planet, and making the members of the band instant celebrities.

But few musical acts have had the kind of lasting impact on the culture as GNR did. After all, they were bad boys, on stage and off. They rocked hard, partied even harder, and made it clear that they had no intention of following the rules.

A Look Like No One Else

GNR’s impact on the fashion world began with their video for “Sweet Child of Mine”. This black and white video featured Axl wearing a bandana on his head, and Slash wearing a black top hat.

They weren’t flashy, and yet this was enough. Just a bandana and a top hat. The rest of their style was a simple combination of denim and leather jackets, and T-shirts with or without sleeves. 

In fact, they appeared to not care about fashion at all. They refused to look like anyone else, as if they literally didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of them. And of course that was they secret recipe for success.

The World Was Hungry for a Change

Timing is everything. This is as true for fashion as it is for music. When the right music hits at the right moment, combined with a certain irreverent style, a chemical reaction takes place. That’s exactly what happened with GNR.

Compared to bands like Poison and other hair bands of the time, GNR swept onto the scene like a breath of fresh air. The simple denim, with leather jackets and boots inspired a generation of rock fans to start wearing replica jackets in order to look like their rock idles. 

The world was ready for them. Or maybe the truth is that the world wasn’t prepared, but had to make way for them. Either way, GNR was thrust upon the culture with all the subtlety of an atom bomb. “Sweet Child of Mine” went straight to the top of the charts and stayed there, followed by “Welcome to the Jungle”, and everywhere you looked, it was hard to escape signs of GNR’s arrival.

Use Your Illusion

In 1991, GNR released Use Your Illusion, and their string of massive hits continued without interruption. As did their influence on fashion. People of all ages dressed like them, sporting the look if not the attitude.

The GNR Look

One of the keys to the GNR style was the fact that it wasn’t really a style at all. They simply looked like a group of guys hanging out in the garage or on the street corner. In fact, they essentially looked like the kind of regular guys you’d catch in your local bar any night of the week.

In the same way that bands such as the Sex Pistols proved that you didn’t have to possess actual talent to play music, GNR proved you didn’t need to know how to dress to become style icons.

Anyone could dress like them, and that was huge. All you have to do was dig an old T-shirt and sweat pants from the back of your closet and you were in business.

Part of the reason for the GNR style breaking out could be attributed to a general glam rock burn out. The typical 80s hair band wore enough brightly-colored spandex and mesh tops to make you want to gauge your eyes or and burn your TV.

But GNR looked like average dudes from down the street. The big difference between them and the average dudes down the street was they could plug in their amps and blow the roof off the building. 

The Legacy

When you stop and think about the legacy of GNR’s impact of pop culture and the fashion world, you realize that it’s still very much present. 

The early 90s witnessed the rise of the grunge music scene, complete with a wave of flannel, jeans, and vintage Chuck Taylors. In fact, it’s not hard to see how GNR paved the way from the Glam Decade to the Grunge Decade.

Leather jackets and boots have always been a staple of rock n roll, but Guns N Roses took the look to the next level, by the sheer power of stage presence and charisma. They had long hair, but they looked cool.

GNR changed the way rockers dressed. Gone were the days of David Bowie and Prince. Now anyone could dress like a rock n roll star any day of the week without looking weird. In fact, they looked like you and me. And there was just something really great about that.

The Impact of Guns N Roses Clothing on Fashion

Fashion trends come and go, but even as styles continue to change, the music of GNR still sounds as awesome as ever. Just take a look around and it’s not hard to spot some way that Guns N Roses clothing still touches modern culture.

For many of us, their music has become part of the soundtrack of our lives. And for others, their style has had a lasting impact on the way we dress, as well as the way that we live our lives. Not many rock bands can say that. But then again, not many rock bands compare to Guns N Roses.

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