Photos: Dmytro Moyseyev

Grunge music epitomised the mid eighties. It rose to prominence throughout the decade and into the next as the laid back attitudes of preceding funk and jazz fusion fell and ‘textured’ music came in vogue. It was very much a genre of complex emotion and this was easily reflected in the clothing that rose to prominence alongside the genre itself.While the modern ready-to-wear rendition of grunge has a ‘make-do-and-mend’ ethos surrounding it, designers over the years have harkened back continually to its punk and metal origins. This desire to imbue origin style with the current was seen in London Fashion Week, especially on the Ashley Williams & Marques/Almeida runways. However, we also see the desire to incorporate a more structured silhouette and layered style in Dublin vintage retailers this season.


Autumn is a time for warmth – for jumpers, denim, suede and all the other cosies you’ve been saving for the colder months. However, the fluid and unstructured shape of a lot of the fabrics we enjoy to wear this season, typically wool or cotton blends, can leave the wearer looking more like a ball of indistinct twine than we would like. This is where the streamlined nature of vintage grunge comes in. Siopaella and Ninecrows are two of the best vintage shops in Dublin: their products are well made, well-kept and, in popular opinion, ‘well good’. Seeking to combine the modern relaxed form of the grunge silhouette we incorporated two key components of vintage grunge that makes an outfit look more structured while retaining its comfort: texture and pattern.

This is exemplified in Julia’s plum beaded shirt that offsets her faded acid green and yellow shorts with an air of refinement. Not only do the beads catch the eye, the edges of the shirt have also been staggered and re-beaded to give the illusion that the shirt itself blends into the rest of the outfit. Offset with a pair of pin-holed tights and maroon patent shoes, this outfit allows the wearer to move easily as well as retain a structure so the material doesn’t fall to a flop.2

Men’s grunge fashion is more typical of the Cobain-esque type. Conor sports a black and sepia toned shirt and a large green-scale bomber jacket. The pattern accentuates his own physique as well as lending weight to the overall look. When compared to his forest green tartan shirt, thrown over a black hoody, we see how grunge can manipulate the look while incorporating some basic pieces in a different way to add an edge to it.

Take again the contrast between the green tartan shirt and the heavy navy-green jumper. The typical ‘clashing’ of patterns can be overruled by the simple contrast of the lightly frayed denim jeans and instead feed into the whole look through colour coordination. In a similar sense, the black and white patterned shirt, accentuated with red dots, sits tight at Julia’s waist but loose at the back. This allows movement throughout the fishtailed shirt that echoes the gliding softness of the long tulle skort she is wearing. The patterns, which may seem overwhelming on their own, achieve an understated look when paired with a denim sheep’s wool jacket. Pairing the simple with the bold allows the outfit and wearer to choose what degree of the dramatic they want, how under or overstated they want to be.

Accessories are what really make the difference this season. Large rings in metal, iron and silver add subtle ornamentation, and body chains serve to order a look, as well as dress it up. Perhaps a pivotal element always associated with grunge is tartan. However the recent success of blanket scarves as a staple has allowed for a lot more creativity with typical tartan, and in Nine Crows you can purchase a scarf that contains a culmination of greens, reds and yellows, all of which focus and warm any outfit you wear. They can be draped around the face to give off a cloistered look, or strewn across the shoulders in a style reminiscent of school day leisure. The warmth of tartan fabric as well as the raised weave and pattern can ultimately decide an outfit, so it’s not an accessory to pass by this season.

Thick belts, strong-brimmed hats, and faded boots – all of these serve to contain the softness of the grunge palette and instead blend the focus so that when you look at the overall outfit you can see 80s trends align with modern grunge influences. This season’s rails are stocked to the brim with pieces ready to be gorged on and re-worked. After all, grunge is a style of constant upheaval and change – a style that can be restructured at the drop of a tartan scarf.

Make-Up Artist: Ligi Mazutele

Models: Julia Li Yan Jaffar & Conor Byrne

Stylists: Lucy Coffey & Ailbhe Keenan

Clothes: Julia wears Siopaella & Conor wears NINECROWS


Blanket Scarf: €59.99, 80’s Shirt: €22.00, Lacoste Harrington: €60.00, Navy Woollen Jumper: €32.00, Checkered Shirt: €22.00, Frayed denim jeans: €35.00

Julia is Wearing: Black Skirt: €25.00, Vintage Sequin: €49.00, Denim Jacket with Trim: €69, Vintage Shirt: €25, TopShop Shorts: €15.00