Words by Emily Regan
It’d be surprising to most, if you were completely unaware of Nirvana, arguably the greatest rock band of the ’90s. Here’s the story behind how lead singer and one of the most legendary music icons, Kurt Cobain rose to fame and unknowingly sported some of the most significant fashion trends which we still see today.
19 October 1987 marked a stock market crash in the US, otherwise known as “Black Monday”. The lack of employment led young people into complete melt-down and the ‘slacker’ generation was born. Cobain was one of the teens with no prosperity, there were little opportunities available and his family situation wasn’t most fortunate.
This rebellious, lazy generation of dropouts began to express themselves creatively, quitting school to produce music or artwork and Cobain followed suit. He regularly attended studio sessions where he would produce and write songs, these often expressed his desperate attitude and angst towards his poor quality of life. Metaphors would suggest drug abuse, exploring themes of vulnerability and desperation. Cobain developed his music with friends and as various member joined and dropped out he finally formed Nirvana alongside drummer, Dave Grohl and guitarist, Krist Novoselic.
They released first album, ‘Bleach’ with Sub-Pop indie label and soon reached global success, attracting ratings from the likes of NME, beginning their European tour in late 1989. Nirvana landed a record deal with DGC records in 1990 and Cobain met Courtney Love, soon to become his wife and embarked on a tempestuous Rollacoaster of a love affair.
Throughout his years of fame, Cobain sported various looks, the fan base grew due to the couple’s relatable lack of wealth and motivation. People began to idolise Cobain and dress like him, he had certain items which became a uniform for a generation, Converse hi-tops, oversized knitwear, plaid shirts, distressed denim and on occasion he wasn’t adverse to a floral flock. He revolutionised thrift shopping and arguably began the grunge movement, but more importantly became a style icon and inspiration for the fashion industry from Hedi Slimane at Celine, Olivier Rousteing at Balmain and Alessandro Michele at Gucci, not to mention TOPMAN, H&M and BoohooMAN to, literally name a few.