In Review: The Rebel's Wardrobe

Traversing genres and styles, ‘The Rebel’s Wardrobe: The Untold Story of Menswear’s Renegade Past’ reflects on the past century, tracing contemporary menswear through the threads of time to the ‘gestation’ of iconic pieces. It examines how, through those the rebellious individuals that wore them, they became timeless classics, transcending ever-fleeting fads and trends.

Both an entertaining and intriguing, in equal proportion, it is a fascinating insight into the origin stories of how different apparel designed for purposes outside of the scope of fashion, went on to be assimilated into the subcultures of the latter half of the twentieth century, and how they ultimately influenced the mainstream.

The Rebel's Wardrobe

With influential musicians, actors, artists, authors, and activists borrowing liberally from each of these categories, Szabo guides us on how, and often why, they radically re-contextualised these pieces and created new styles, simply by wearing old clothes in new, fresh ways. From Pablo Picasso to James Dean, Miles Davis to Steve McQueen, along with more recent figures such as Kurt Cobain, Public Enemy, Brian Ferry, and Steve Jobs; this book explores how these individuals each used clothes to cultivate a defined persona in the public eye. Here we learn why it was transgressive for Marlon Brando to wear a t-shirt on screen, why the M-65 field jacket was adopted by those that opposed the Vietnam War, and how workwear denim and bomber jackets eventually became part of the bedrock of contemporary men’s fashion.