Hippie Clothes: How Did Hippie Fashion Start?
by Christina Gregoire
Why did hippies dress that way? Learn about hippie peace signs, peasant tops, gypsy skirts, Indian influences and why hippies dropped out of society during the 60's. I was an original "flower child" back in the day. Because I was fairly young during the Summer of Love and all that, I grew up with hippie style, so I know it well.
Hippies Were Not Hippies
Back in the day, hippies did not call themselves hippies. In Seattle, hippies were originally called “fringies,” as in “the fringe of society”. Some people used the word "heads." Friends were categorized as either "straights" or "heads," and the name lives on in phrases such as "Dead Head" (a Grateful Dead fan).
Many of the clothes that hippies wore signified "self expression” and rebellion. But, creativity played a major part in all hippie clothing, at least in the beginning when it was a street style... before the look went mainstream. And, anyone who says:
- * Hippies wore peace signs
- * Hippies wore tie-dye
- * Hippies wore patchwork
...is just plain wrong. Some did. Some didn’t. It wasn’t a club, like Girl Scouts, with a uniform.
It also wasn’t a joke. The hippie movement was a rebellion against laws that forced people to blindly follow orders that made no sense. The voting age was 21 and 18-year-old boys were not old enough to vote but they were old enough to be forced into the jungles of Viet Nam. So, hippies were rebelling against the tyranny of the "establishment" (the people in power... mostly the government).
Peace Sign Symbol
Why did many of us wear peace symbols with our hippie clothes? The peace sign showed that we were protesting the draft. It didn’t mean that hippies were peaceful wussies just sitting around in a marijuana haze all day. Young people knew that Viet Nam was not a threat to the US and they were against dying in a war that made no sense.
Young Men and the Draft
In the 60s, any 18-26-year-old boy who wasn’t in college, was forced (drafted) to join the military and risk his life by fighting in a war seemed insane at the time. If America had been attacked, like on 9-11, things would have been different and our guys would have fought to defend their families and their country.
Today, "neo hippies" who wear peace symbols and other hippie accoutrements should know why hippies wore them back in the day. Peace symbols were just as much about rebellion against government control as they were about getting out of the Viet Nam War.
Hippie Fashion Was Inexpensive
When young men rebelled against laws that they thought were unjust, they were forced to abandon conventional society. And, during the years of the draft, any guy who got a "regular" job, could be located by the government and sent off to war or off to jail, so draft-aged guys and their friends or girlfriends formed their own underground (hidden) culture.
And, people without tons of bread were forced to use creativity to solve problems concerning food, clothing, and shelter. So, hippies created new ways of doing things... and cool, cheap fashion was one of the lasting results of bohemian experimentation.
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