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1970s vintage clothing – 70s Clothing Fashions

November 3, 2015

Disco queens and disaffected punks, the flower children and the beautiful people, flowing caftans and jeans so tight you had to lie on the floor to zip them up: the 70s had it all. If you’re looking for 1970s vintage clothing, you’ll have to decide which 1970s clothing look you want to enjoy.

Clothing in the 70s

Flower children still abounded in the 70s, but the hippy movement of peaceful protest was evolving into angry demands for individual rights – feminism and the black civil rights movements became extremely strong, while punks rejected the older generation of hippies with their natural fabrics and nature worship, no makeup and guitar based crooning as blah, and preferred to scream loudly, and wear plastic, PVC and rubber, add red and green hair dye to their Mohawks, paint shocking swastikas and skulls on their leather jackets, and use tampons and toilet chains as jewellery.

Under this they sometimes wore nothing but cheap fluorescent lacy underwear, and their makeup, for both boys and girls, was plastered on as scarily as possible.Bitter provocation was the aim using a weird juxtaposition of ill-matched objects.

Vivienne Westwood capitalized on the movement, and her shop, “Sex”, was a mecca for punks – strangely because punk clothing supposedly had a DIY ethos. But if you wanted your t-shirts expensively pre-ripped, this is where you headed. Westwood also wore t-shirts printed with messages well before Katherine Hamnett made the message tee famous by wearing it for a meeting with Margaret Thatcher – Westwood’s 1970s version said “Destroy”.

Strong women and 1970s vintage clothing

Speaking of Margaret Thatcher, she was elected in 1979, the first female British Prime Minister. (But don’t make the mistake of thinking she was a feminist – she was an Every-Person-For-Thier-Ownist).

 

Anita Roddick of the Body Shop in the 1970s-Photo by Rex Features Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick in the 1970s Photo by Rex Features

 

Women who did care about other people in the 1970s, however, include Anita Roddick, who founded The Body shop in 1976. Her idea was to source natural, traditional beauty solutions which had been used all over the world for generations, and take them to a London audience more used to the chemical beauty industry of huge chemical corporations. They were environmentally friendly and made by women, for women and her brand was immensely popular. Everyone was given a share of the profits and Roddick herself became a millionaire.

Feminist Protest in the 1970s

Germaine Greer in 1972

Germaine Greer in 1972

 

Feminist discussion and protest began in the 1960s but gathered pace in the 1970s. Australian Germaine Greer’s first book The Female Eunuch was published in 1970 and was so popular that less than six months later a second paperback printing had almost sold out and it had been translated into eight languages. It was a watershed moment for the feminist movement. The book suggests that women do not know how much men hate them; it suggests that women have learnt to hate themselves just as much.

Women against abortion in the 70s

Alice Schwarzer in the 1970s

Alice Schwarzer in the 1970s

 

In Germany Alice Schwarzer published a book in 1971 whose title translates as Women against Section 218. Section 218 was the German law that made abortion illegal, and the book was published following public debate and protests against this law.

In 1974 it was overturned, making abortion legal. Schwarzer followed this in 1975 with the wonderfully titled book The little difference and its huge consequences, a feminist tract that was translated into eleven languages and sparked debate worldwide.

 

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