Saturday, 15 October 2016

the club kids

I don't quite remember how my fascination with the Club Kids began, but I vaguely recall a 4am epiphany in my hazy, high on exhaustion and caffeine state of mind, as I realised I was obsessed.

Perhaps it's my upbringing in the most normal (i.e boring) place on earth that causes me to be so intrigued by the eccentric youths running around New York City, wearing intense make up typically reserved for film sets or halloween. They make me slightly ashamed of my lazy college attire, and wonder if I should trade my oversized denim jacket for a floor length fur coat.... not today.

Outlandish outfits, the ‘cool kid’ vibe and an endless supply of drugs. The Club Kids ruled New York’s nightlife and fashion scene during the eighties and nineties. While grunge was becoming significantly more popular, these youths favoured glamour and style over dirty band t-shirts and ripped jeans. They craved second glances and shocked murmurs from often disapproving crowds in the supermodel era when fitting in was viewed as cool. The Club Kids were the epitome of eccentric, going about their day to day life in lingerie and a floor length fur coat. Feather boas, jackets covered in sequins, platform heels and clown make up were just part of the uniform as the pack paraded through New York City clubs, completely aware of how in awe everybody else was of them.

The Club Kids were a band of pirates, some chased from their home towns for being too strange, others living off the life savings of successful parents. Yet somehow, they all wound up in the same place at the same time, with the same passion for all things strange.

Imagine the most shocking costume Lady Gaga ever wore to an award show. The Club Kids could make it look like Topshop basics in their most casual attire. The innovators of being famous for being famous, (way before Paris Hilton) they were almost cartoonish and completely unreal, making it impossible to look away. When observing modern day fashion and celebrity culture, it is obvious that this gang out outcasts are to blame for most of it.. so why are they almost forgotten in the fashion industry they so heavily influenced?

Unlike the current trend of rich kids, club kids couldn’t display their costume-like attire on instagram for the world to see. It was something you had to either experience in person or the next day on a faded copy of New York Times. Prior to the internet, word of their antics was spread purely through gossip, creating a sense of mystery surrounding them. Perhaps it is the lack of documentation of the club kid reign that prevents a legacy that is shouted from the rooftops, however it seems to run deeper than that.

Fashion wasn’t the only obsession of this clan, they also worshipped drugs and fell quickly into addiction purely to keep up with the fast paced New York nightlife. While society tends to favour squeaky clean stars who’s reputations remained untarnished, the Club Kids thrived on danger which spiralled out of control dangerously. The friends who once seemed inseparable now being torn apart by drug abuse and the pressures of a constant public spotlight and speculation.

Tragically, a story which begins with bright eyed teenagers trying to make it in New York ends in murder, a prison sentence and adulthood. but where are they now? the fate of the club kids isn’t as romantic as they had possibly hoped for.. although perhaps the lifetime without drama and isolation from normal society is exactly what they planned.. if so they succeeded with prison sentences. Maybe the catastrophic ending was appropriate.. Maybe the most tragic thing that could have happened would be for the glamour and attention of club kid culture, to be traded for nuclear family life. 

The story of the Club Kids is one that begins with light, as a band of misfits find comfort in each other and revel in the attention their wild attire gains them.. yet the end of their era is one that is so tragic and shocking, it overshadows their vibrant past. (I plan to write about this soon).

However, even though their reign has ended, their legacy hasn’t. While nudity, scandal and the shock factor may seem almost boring in modern pop culture, as celebrities compete for tabloid attention, it wasn’t always this way. These young adults figured out how to get your name on peoples lips and since then every celebrity has mimicked it.

Perhaps the love for club kids is due to what the represent: youth, creativity, confidence and carelessness, qualities craved and longed for by so many.

I would love to write more about the club kids, and I'm currently considering a feature on each of the key members, as well as the story of how their reign ended. So..... stay tuned?

(The majority of this post was written as part of my creative writing coursework)
Photo sources: 1234567

1 comment:

  1. ugh yes yes yes! these are the kind of blog posts I love. this is great!