Bernie Rhodes (the manager) said "There's gonna be a lot of fighting in the streets. Things are going to get rough so we're going to need clothes which are tough." Rhodes approached a number of fashion students to realise his vision of tough streetwear that looked great on stage. Rhodes chose Alex Michon (pictured left in a Clash shirt) who at the time was a 19 year old art student. Her successive waves of militaristic designs have ultimately defined the look of one of the most visually exciting bands. We can also see the influence contemporary influence with brands such as April 77 exploring similar ideas.
You would be misinformed to say that the Clash just wore what they were told to (never a good thing because you have to wear the clothes, not the other way around!). A key facet of their style was the individual inputs from the band members. Simonon (pictured left, and looking awesome!) for example during the early days designed Pollock influenced paint splashes on the clothes and shoes. It is unlikely that I would do that a whole outfit but splattering your accessories, such as tie/pocketsquare/bag would look great. Another example is Joe Strummer adapting the zip jacket designed by Michon and worn at their famous Rainbow gig (April 1977) by stitching a ripped up photo from the Notting Hill carnival onto the side. (I have hunted for images to illustrate these two points but alas i am empty handed so please just imagine it, or better still send me what you find!). What we can take from these examples is; be creative. Look at the clothes you buy and wear, make them yours. Rather than just buying a new item of clothing look at what you already have, can you adapt an old piece that has been sitting in the wardrobe unworn and give it a new lease of life? Currently my to do list involves tapering trousers, adding zips to jumpers and pockets and of course this will all be blogged about no matter how successful or otherwise.
Overall when we think about what The Clash wore, we think of primary colours (with plenty of black), stencilled slogans/phrases and of course zips! I currently love black vintage leather biker jackets with a number of chunky zips but the hunt for one that fits as I want it to is proving hard. At the moment House of Holland-esque slogans (especially the typeface) are everywhere and to be honest I am a little tired of them but if witty and or interesting why not add one to an old t-shirt.
We have only really touched on some of things we like, we don't want to bore you this early but it means we will return to this band! For us at Style Salvage clothes (although extremely important) are only one aspect of style. The Clash and in particular Joe Strummer provide ample material in discussions regarding how to style hair...but you will have to wait for that.