Disco: When fashion took to the dance floor | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-0742
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0750

Abstract

Discothèques, fuelled by sexual liberation (both gay and straight), influenced fashion, music, nightlife entertainment, dancing and society for several years during the 1970s. New York City (NYC) was the epicentre of the disco scene. Sexual freedoms, fuelled by the birth control pill and the repeal of laws in NYC against same-sex dancing, played out in the hedonistic disco venues, the most infamous, Studio 54. The 1977 film, , inspired by the popularity of disco dancing in New York, introduced the dance phenomena to the world, spawning a slew of copycats. The fashion world took notice and disco looks filled the runways and fashion magazines. Part of this new freedom was embodied in recently developed synthetic fabrics that promised easy care, brilliant colour and fluid movement. Disco’s downfall was precipitated by the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that threatened both homosexual and heterosexual sexual expression, coinciding with a backlash orchestrated by rock and roll fans. The fashion world in turn revolted against synthetic fabrics, claiming that natural fibres were chic and polyester was cheap. Disco came to a crashing halt in the early 1980s as these social factors, coupled with the ‘death to disco’ campaign, orchestrated by rock music radio stations, ended the short-lived era.

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2021-03-01
2024-04-23
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): 1970s fashion; dance; disco; discothèque; New York City; polyester; Studio 54
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