Stefan Campbell Presents: Superpunks in Hair Hats

Stefan Campbell

This is a 12-year-old Baby Huey of a boy whom I spotted on my street in the far East Village. In my neighborhood, hip-hop glammed-out ghetto-boy style still reigns supreme in his age group. However, this pre-teen, as tall as a 17-year-old, was begging to be noticed in his gothic-skater-thrash-punk-meets-hip-hop-warrior get-up. And notice him I did! I loved his confidence and originality because I remember a time when guys his age and size would do anything not to be seen or seek attention from the outside world (all you former husky boys know exactly what I’m talking about). But this face-pierced Latin kid, sporting his techno superhero bi-colored Mohawk mullet, took great pleasure in telling me, “this is not my hair -- it’s a hat I made myself.” And yes, he did lift up the sides to show me his own thick, dark matted hair. Well, if he needs to find comfort in wearing a wig by calling it a hat, then so be it. Regardless, I loved it. Just as much as I love the expression I imagined on his mother’s face when he steps out of the front door of their apartment to strut around the hood with such style heroism.

I also recently spotted the two anime punk Hannah Montana girls, pictured below, amid a mob of screaming rowdy young punks on my block at 10:08 p.m. on Friday night. They were attending a “punk” concert at the oh so hardcore Sixth Street Community Center (where they have yoga classes available every Wednesday) along with 300 others in their style tribe. The two fresh-faced rebels were sooo into having their picture taken that they needed to check and see how they looked on my screen after the shot. After disapproving of the picture, they sheepishly asked me to take another one, mostly to get more of the hair into the picture. So cute! So punk! By the way, the screaming and anarchy on the street was over and done by 11 p.m.

The effort to “look” punk takes a lot of thought, time and precision to pull together -- like going to the Met gala. But these “anti-fashion” purists do it on a daily basis. I truly happen to LOVE these looks along with the discipline and the dedication that’s required to achieve perfect un-fashionability. I reference this often, embracing the drama and intentionality. It’s odd how this kind of look still provokes fear and awe 30 years later. I must admit that I find it funny when overly-tattooed kids dripping in silver chains, piercings and MAC makeup ask me for spare change while shaking a sparkling white deli coffee cup in my face on Avenue A. There is something kinda punk about that.

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