Clothing plays a dominant role in the distinction between subcultural styles, exactly which way a person dresses can define their role within a group to a large degree, comparable to their actual behaviour. As a second dimensional costume, the symbols and style simulacra present in the dress suggest a role into the mass consciousness of the group via common perception. The icons of the culture predefine what each difference or symbolic gesture represents, and the association of such carries forward into the subculture as a whole.
As behaviour is seen as a strong decisive element in the identification within a trend, the mindset of the societal branch begins to carry its own language of style which carries forward from previous generations via reinvention of the old as well as the fusion between new inventions and older traditions. It is often the case with alternative society that there exists within the group, a certain rebellious agenda which serves to push the boundaries of convention. This is most apparent in the clothing and dress sense, as unlike behaviour, it is much harder to control the way a person will dress.
The clothing style has become a form of cultural soft power which continually applies pressure to the normal social consciousness with a barrage of variation and symbols which poke at what is considered to be appropriate. In some cases, the more inappropriate the better, and given negative responses, the attitude only amplifies in its popularity and reach. Style then can act as a genuine indication of attitude and behaviour, as universal symbols of unpleasant or unsightly sensations can be drawn upon to varying degrees. When a person wears a rock t-shirt, the imagery of that clothing will serve as a second dimensional costume that suggests particular feelings, behaviour, and thoughts associated with the image, text, and artist.
The music and film of the subculture can equally serve to define the outward appearance in the way that it firstly provides an extension to the clothing, in that it projects a form of image that is instantly identified with the person who is enjoying it. This then could be seen as a third dimensional costume, projecting further association that helps to define the self within the group. The application of the extra layer becomes an archetype for future association and choice, provided it entertains enough, and provides suitable variation to apply to a large audience.
This relates to individuals in that the way they choose to identify themselves as associated with a particular subcultural trend, the symbols and styles chosen become semi-extensions of the iconic and general themes that run through it. This in turn defines the behaviour to a degree, and in psychological terms, the input of the cultural material over time will create a mind-set ever more relatable to the themes of the movement. In social circles, the political and artistic tastes generally feed back to one another in bubbles of trend gathering, reinforcing the same beliefs across the consciousness of the group.
Those beliefs and cultural-political viewpoints which are dominant in the media of the alternative subculture will be prevailing in the groups that self-identify with it. These styles carry with them a way of being that can be identified throughout trends on large scale geography. Various subcultural movements exist that can be found in most major cities, and then these may have more localised sub-branches which exist as cells within various establishments. The governed mindset creates an image of clothing, body language, and cultural-political perspective which all in turn help to define an individual's identity within their social residence.
This leaves subcultural style to be defined in three ways, firstly the image addressed by clothing style and music and film, then body language or demeanour, which comes alongside the ideals and mindsets represented, and finally the argot, which is the combination of vocabulary and viewpoints which form the conversations and agendas within the individual trends and movements. This triple sided approach makes trends quickly identifiable by means of association within the collective subcultural consciousness without necessarily acting on any of the whole range of factors. It is possible to only wear the shirt, but be considered like the shirt. This produces a tiered stream within the individual alternative subcultures, making them more likely to further self define through future expression.
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