From the Project runway show English Beat.

Story and Photos by Kathleen Gasperini and Tom Wallace

Despite rarely getting any media attention in the daily show newsletters such as Nylon Project or WWD Magic, the music-inspired category, once known as The Edge by experienced trade show followers, continues to be a strong and important category when it comes to fashion and youth culture. The only problem at last week’s Vegas fashion trade shows, was that one had to search deeply for the top brands which were scattered in various locations.

For example, Lip Service and Tripp NYC were no longer in Street at the Mandalay Bay, but had been moved by the show into the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) into the Young Contemporary section -in what looked like an island of brands unto themselves including rockabilly brands Bettie Page, and Stop Staring, to Rock Steady, and a handful of music-inspired accessories brands. T.U.K., which also used to be over in Street, was now to be found tucked back into FN Platform at the LVCC.

Tripp NYC and theur dual-legged designed pants and skinny denim among top trends.

At least this time, this important category of Goth, punk, and retro-era inspired brands weren’t stuffed into the back wall area behind MMA in Street, but it was an odd adjustment as though the shows still may not quite get this important subculture of fashion. (Similar to the fact that young women do not like to be classified as “juniors” especially in an age when young men’s has gotten the upgrade to Street, Streetwear, or Urban Contemporary).

This being said, the latest coming from these brands is something to note because it’s hear where you’ll find a lot of upcoming trends from young people who adopt such looks like bees to honey. Tripp NYC, one of the leaders in this category for years, under the legendary design leadership of Daang Goodman, is pushing the envelope with a collection of two-printed denim and pants (each leg has a different color or pattern). They’ve also incorporated a tie-dye effect that is unique to the punk-inspired look, mixing up a 70’s vibe. Leopard patterns and hints of camo on black also add to a modern effect. A staple continues to be their black and red checked and pleated school girl skirts in punk rock styles, along with pirate shirts and skinny denim silhouettes.

T.U.K. footwear and their busy booth, now over at FN Platform.

Lip Service’s pirate short shirts are a hot item, complete with ruffles and metallic, and a Western, apocalyptic feel, especially when paired with short ruffle skirts and feather headdress accessories. We also liked the tie-dyed, but dark colored shirts and steampunk body harnesses which according to reps on the show floor, are among the top-selling accessories. Their T-shirts with ruffled collars and unique graphics such as an “Ouija board” T-shirt is another popular item.

Rock Steady’s T-shirts with the little green faerie are important graphics to note, especially the steampunk silver version, which we anticipate will find its way into various music merch trends for 2012. T.U.K. booth was fairly packed when we went by, but they do have some important new signature collections on the radar, as does Fluevog. Although Fluevogs, created by the independent designer John Fluevog out of Vancouver is antique car inspired in many ways, the footwear collection clearly appeals to musicians globally based on the music aesthetics within their designs and the roster of musicians that wear them.

Lip Service Gothic girls and latest leather corsettes.

New this year at Project was the Project/Nolcha runway shows. The middle show was themed “English Beat” featuring the latest in Doc Martens, along with brands such as ADAM Adam Lippes, Kai-aakmann, Current/Elliot, Won Hundred, and Naven among others. The models were very rockabilly in appearance with their hairstyles and 50’s dark framed glasses, adding to the story of an English Beat fashion theme.

Overall, despite being scattered across the various shows, the music-inspired fashion, footwear, and accessories subculture had a strong showing which will continue to inspire many other designers that unfortunately tend to get far more media coverage despite not necessarily being the originator of such trends.

Stay tuned for our latest streetwear and urbanwear report, plus key styles found from SLATE, Street, Project, and Pool.

Ouija board graphic T-shirt from Lip Service.

Bettie Page 50%uFFFDs styles found within this section. Dress in the upcoming Pantone color of 2012.

Yes, these are camo Dr. Martens.

Dr. Martens florals mix UK punk with Japanese Kawaii.

Rockabilly hair styles in the English Beat runway show.

Green Faery graphics in the Rock Steady T-shirts.

Silver Faery steampunk version.

Interesting 90%uFFFDs vibe with Rockabilly hair and Dr. Martens.

Goth inspired frocks and dresses remain in style within this subculture.

Stop Staring and their 50%uFFFDs and retro dresses are on the edge of this section.