The clothing associated with heavy metal has its roots in the biker, rocker, and leather subcultures. Heavy metal fashion includes elements such as leather jackets; hi-top basketball shoes (more common with old school thrash metallers); blue or black jeans, camouflage pants or shorts, and denim jackets or kutte vests, often adorned with badges, pins and patches. As with the bikers, there is a peculiar fascination with Germanic imagery, such as the Iron Cross
Home”>http://www.himfr.com/buy-Home_Socks/”>Home SocksDistinct aspects of heavy metal fashion can be credited to various bands, but the band that takes the most credit for revolutionizing the look was Judas Priest, primarily with its singer, Rob Halford. Halford wore a leather costume on stage as early as 1978 to coincide with the promotion for the Hell Bent for Leather album. In a 1998 interview, Halford described the gay biker and leather subculture as the inspiration for this look. Shortly after appropriating the leather look, Halford started appearing onstage on a roaring motor bike. Soon, the rest of the band followed.
It was not long before other bands appropriated the leather look; Iron Maiden’s original singer Paul Di’Anno began wearing leather jackets and studded bracelets, Mot?rhead innovated with bullet belts, and Saxon introduced spandex. This fashion was particularly popular with followers of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) movement in the early 1980s, and sparked a revival for metal in this era.
The original hippie look with satin shirts and bell-bottom pants was out; some believed Halford’s style of dress more appropriate to the music. The studded leather look was extended in subsequent variations, to the wearing of combat boots, studded belts and bracelets, bullet belts, spiked gauntlets, etc. The codpiece, however, appears to have been less popular among the general public.
The style and clothing of metal has absorbed elements from influences as diverse as the musical influences from which the genre has borrowed. It is from this linking of different sub-styles of clothing and music influences that one can sometimes determine a person’s specific taste in music simply from overall appearance. However, such signs are not hard and fast rulings in the majority of cases. This uncertainty is what makes the first key aspect of the metalheads’ identity below so important.
Some of the influences of modern military clothing and the Vietnam War can be seen by the fans and bands of thrash metal, with the members of thrash metal bands of the 1980s like Metallica, Destruction, and Megadeth wearing bullet belts around their waists on stage (it is likely that the thrash metal bands got the idea of wearing bullet belts from NWOBHM bands such as Mot?rhead, who have incorporated the bullet belt as part of their aesthetic since their inception, since many thrash metal bands in the 1980s were influenced by Mot?rhead).
The imagery and values of historic Celtic, Saxon, Viking and Chivalric culture is reflected heavily in metal music, by bands such as Blind Guardian, and has its impact upon the everyday fashion and especially the stagegear of metal artists. The independence, masculinity and honor of the warrior ethos is extremely popular amongst metalheads, as is the rejection of modern day consumerist and metrosexual culture. Folk metal, viking metal and to a lesser extent black metal and power metal fans often grow long thick hair and beards reminiscent of a stereotypical Viking, Saxon and Celt, wear Thor’s Hammer pendants and other neopagan symbols and carry mead horns. On stage, in photoshoots and in music videos it is very common for bands of these genres such as Turisas and Moonsorrow to wear chain mail, animals skins, warpaint (such as woad) and other Dark Ages themed battle gear. Power metal fans and musicians such as Rhapsody of Fire often wear attire reminiscent of the Renaissance and the Middle Ages including tight black or brown leather trousers and wide sleeved, buttonless shirts of various colors. The imagery of bards and minstrels as well as knights is a popular part of power metal fashion.