When Iris floated â€œgrungeâ€ as the theme for this issue, she said, by way of suggestion, â€œThink Mad Maxâ€¦think Tina Turner.â€Â Ah, I thought, I know what she meansâ€”post-apocalyptic fashion.Â The Thunderdome!Â But when I started hitting up friends for their favorite grunge outfitters, they mentioned a number of designers, all doing creative work thatâ€™s at least as different as it is similar.Â Is grunge like indecency?Â Do people just know it when they see it?Â It seems that grunge is, or at least can be, many things to many people.Â Here Iâ€™ve taken a rather broad view, from urban back-alley chic to grunge kitty gear to steampunk wasteland hardware to, yes, post-apocalypse couture.Â I invite you to indulge yourselves.
â€œSpectreâ€ by Broder Kubrick (L$350)Â is more than just subtly creepyâ€”itâ€™s a little bit freaky.Â Imagine this guyÂ materializing out of the night, leaping onto the hood of your car, smashing out the windshield, and demanding your kidney.Â See what I mean?Â The only clothing item in the set is a pair of knee-length pants that appear to be made mostly of rags.Â However, you also get as prim attachments a good double handful of wraps, straps and belts, several with loose flexi ends, which you can wear a few at a time or all at once.
In calmer, less destructive moments,Â when identity concealment is less of a concern and you’re not wearing the face wraps, you may prefer to throw on Broder’s Junkyard NecklaceÂ (L$100).Â With its heavily pitted, rusted finish, it appears to be handmade from the remains of something that belonged to your last unfortunate victim.Â AllÂ available at BroGear (Harajukubox 200, 144, 22).
Destany Laval and Thomus Keen collaborate creatively on some of the most interesting themed gear Iâ€™ve seen in SLâ€”which, to my embarrassment and inner shame, Iâ€™ve only relatively recently discovered.Â Their designs explore a variety of genres, but the style of my own favorites might be broadly described as â€œindustrial steampunk.â€Â Dropped into the post-apocalyptic sim The Wastelands, the designs shown here fit right in.Â Destanyâ€™s Badlands Nomad clothing ensemble (L$375)Â includes shirt, pants and jacket with sculptie collarÂ and flexi coat bottom.Â (One caveat:Â There’s a small discontinuityÂ at the garment collar line that you’llÂ noticeÂ on close inspection.Â It will be concealed if you’re wearing the Respirator or other similarÂ neck attachment.)Â Prim accessories by Thomus include his insanely detailed, divinely scripted Badlands Nomad BootsÂ (L$350), Badlands Optics v2.2 (L$100), and Badlands Respirator v2.1Â (L$175).Â The Optics and Respirator units are scripted with animated lighting and vapor-chamber effects, and the Optics goggles can be worn with a telescoping lensÂ in retractedÂ position or extendedÂ for long-range surveillance.Â Clothing items are available at Unzipped, accessories at Steam Powered Nuts, both at Steam Forge (FairChang Lost Isle 25, 206, 31).
June Dionâ€™s â€œHell Fireâ€ outfit (L$150) is far from formal, and may appear to be somewhat haphazardly thrown together, but in no way is it casual.Â The heavy greatcoatâ€”thrown as it isÂ over, of all things, camo pantsâ€”suggests strongly that, while your power may be unlimited, your sartorial choices are not.Â You may be ruling over your faithful minions in the aftermath of the Great Cataclysm, but youâ€™re doing so without benefit of an extensive wardrobe.Â The set includesÂ open coat with flexi tails and sculptie cuffs, shoulders and lapels; pants with rim pouches at the waist; gloves; undershirt-layer body tattoos; and deathâ€™s-head dagger necklace (handy for spur-of-the-moment ritual sacrifices).Â A demo of the coat is available in the shop.Â This practice is a great gesture of helpfulness to customers, and I can’t say often enough or strongly enough how much I admire it.Â I know that it’s extra work for the designer, but it’s much appreciated.Â Available at BareRose Tokyo (Bare Rose 146, 12, 30).
I think of Zabitan Assiaâ€™s FORM as HQ for urban grunge.Â Many if not most of the designs are grubby, even dirty, with worn fabric and rough edges.Â Youâ€™ll also notice the strong influence of anime and other Japanese designs.Â I can easily imagine punk gangs running around the Los Angeles of â€œBlade Runnerâ€ in Zabâ€™s gear.Â Here Iâ€™ve thrown together the Mechanik Beater (L$75), Buzzkill Belt (L$75, free demo available), Chain Knuckle (L$300), Neck ChainÂ (L$100), Dexter Glasses (L$150, free demo available) and Klunk BootsÂ (L$350).Â Both clean and dirty versions of the beater are included in the setâ€”Iâ€™m wearing the dirty one.Â The belt is decorated with bolted-on metal plates, chain loops and a buzz-saw bladeÂ (or is it a throwing star?) mounted on the buckle.Â Although the belt originally included Medium, Large and XL sizes, it now comes scripted for size adjustment via touch menu.Â The Chain Knuckle and Neck Chain accessories include four metal finishes: Clean, Dirty, Rusted, and Worn, which matches the belt.Â The geekboy glasses have smashed lenses, and the frames are scripted so you can choose from different colors and finishes.Â The boots are shown here in Red (a very dark redÂ indeed), but they also come in Brown and Black.Â Their chunky treaded solesÂ are perfect for stomping on atomically mutated rats or just kickin’.Â The jeans are Fierce Denims by Rahsus Kronus (L$100 a pair, or L$375 for a pack of five colors), not because there are no jeans at FORMâ€”the selection there is just short of stupefying.Â No, itâ€™s just because I love their skin-tight fit, and the dried-blood Red jeans Iâ€™m wearing here work perfectly with the beaterâ€™s questionable stains and the red boots.Â Available at FORM at The Block (Varado 149, 141, 31), jeans at Urban Underground (Sterling Pointe 163, 38, 603).
Out of curiosity, which so far hasnâ€™t killed this kitty, I asked Kenny Sleeper to suggestâ€”quick, fast, and off the top of his headâ€”a neko grunge outfit drawn from his own line of designs.Â (Iâ€™m always fascinated to learn how designers see their own creations, especially when you donâ€™t give them time to over-thinkâ€¦my own fatal flaw.)Â He laughed and came back with this dark and dirty ensemble:Â rarely washed Oilspill ShirtÂ (L$120), skinny RockerÂ Jeans (L$189), Molten Rock BootsÂ (L$350), Snapped Tie (L$200) (in Red for some contrast, but still dark), and Kalico Neko Ears V.2Â (L$350 a pair, or L$1050 for the pack of all five colors).Â Kenny has recently released some sculptie ears that are newer than these, and they look great, but I havenâ€™t had a chance to try them out yet.Â The emo-boy skin Iâ€™m wearing (â€œSimon,â€ also by Kenny) counts among its distinguishing features noticeably grimy hands and fingers.Â All available at Kalico Kreations (Innocence 72, 91, 22), one-stop shopping for prowlers of the urban jungle.Â Kitty, kitty, burning bright…
It would be irresponsible of me to talk about grunge fashion without mentioning something post-apocalyptically Mad Max-ish.Â Although Vas Legendâ€™s Road Warrior Boots and Gloves came immediately to mind, I found myself leaning more toward some of his rougher, even more â€œprimitiveâ€ designs.Â The Shady Sands Armour (front, back, L$350), Dirty Jacks Bracers (detail, L$300), and Dynamite & Whiskey Belt (front, back, L$250) all look like you could have knocked them together yourself from debris you found in the wreckage.Â The bracers come in regular and small sizes, and three styles are included in each set: Black, Brown and Old (or, as Vas says, “3 colours of dirt”).Â Available at Angry Monkey (Eternity 131, 162, 536).
Although Vas has created some amazing boots (including the aforementioned Road Warriors), here Iâ€™ve gone with the Thunderdome BootsÂ by Tonk Tomcat (L$450).Â Theyâ€™re insanely detailed and scripted, so you can show or hide the steel toe-cap and choose from different lace colors.Â Mine are Brown, but theyâ€™re available in Black as well at TonkTastic (Rhododendron Island 206, 219, 22).
Do we need another hero?Â Do neko kitty-boys have nine lives?Â Do post-apocalyptic androids dream of shorted-out electric sheep?Â Does the world end with a bang, or with a whimper?Â Who knows?Â Itâ€™s all too existential for me.Â Who cares if civilization lies in ruins?Â As long as we look good, thatâ€™s all that matters.
This is an expanded version of the Menâ€™s Corner column originally published in Second Style Magazine (Issue #21).