Battle jackets

A fashion trend that originated in the 70’s is back


Raine Morrison, Staff Writer

The very first battle jackets emerged on the punk scene in the mid 1970’s. These patch and button filled jackets and vests showcased bands, politics, and other forms of self expression. After becoming popular in the late 80s, punks, metal heads, and glam rockers flaunted their hand-crafted patches and buttons on their unique jackets of choice.

“I love them, I think they are so rad, and I’m generally very pro battle jacket,” said junior Hope Waltermire. “I know a lot of people, especially people who vented in the punk scene for a while will get really snippy about battle jackets and go on the whole ´Well those aren’t real battle jackets, nothing like the 80s blah blah blah blah,´ but for me at the core of punk music, what I think draws so many people to it, is that you should fight to be unapologetically yourself, and I think that is why so many kids are drawn to it. So yeah, [I’m] pro battle jackets!”

Junior Raine Morrison sports her battle jacket almost every day. (Photo by: K. Trace)

The patchwork accessories take time to put together. From sewing in back-patches with old band tees, to laying out everything in different orders until they look right, it can take hours upon hours of planning, sewing, blasting music from your favorite bands, and accidentally poking yourself with your sewing needle over and over again to make a battle jacket. It takes a lot of work.

¨I mean one of the great things about battle jackets is that they’re basically you as a person on a jacket–unless you’re just going for the aesthetic,” said Waltermire. “They’re just so fun visually and they’re great conversation starters. Also, they’re a big fat sign that someone’s into punk or metal, and it’s so insanely awesome to be able to just walk up to someone and start a whole conversation based off of what you read off their jacket.”

You may have even spotted a couple here at school, but even without the battle jackets and vests, punk culture can still be found in our halls. Things like safety pins on clothing or lace colors on someone’s Docs are easy to spot.

“It’s really interesting, because a lot of the kids that I see with battle jackets are just getting into punk and metal and all that good stuff,” said Waltermire. “Whereas a lot of the people that have listened to the genre for a while are like comically under the radar about it.¨

Punk and metal made a comeback around a year ago, but there are a lot of people just now getting into punk and metal as a genre.

Battle jackets are an expression of personality. (Photo by: K. Trace)

“Generally, the punk/metal scene has gotten smaller over time as punk and metal bands became less popular in the mainstream,” said junior James Torgerson. “I know for a little bit there was an uptick in more alternative fashion, but I don’t think it really constituted a growth of these scenes. There has been a renaissance of pop-punk with Olivia Rodrigo and MGK, but pop punk isn’t the same as punk so I wouldn’t really count that either. I don’t know if we’ll see a huge growth in punk scenes in the future since they were born as a reaction to society as it was in the 1970’s, and I don’t think modern counterculture movements have the same goals as punk did.”

The next time you see a SunDevil wearing a battle jacket make sure to compliment them on it.

¨While there are people who are getting into punk and metal purely because they want to be unique or different, there are just as many people who find a whole lot of joy and community in the genre.” said Waltermire.