How Skulls Took Over Fashion
Once scary, now stylish, skulls are trendy—and not just at Halloween
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2009 11:08 AM CDT
Skulls are a common theme of Ed Hardy shirts.   (ZapposGear)
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(Newser) – Skulls, once seen as sinister symbols, are now used on everything from children's shirts to underwear. Sara Dickerman of Slate takes a look at how the trend developed:

  • In the 16th century, artists like Albrecht Dürer were still using skulls to remind people of their mortality.
  • French pirate Emanuel Wynn was the first to use the skull-and-crossbones logo on his ship's flag.
  • As skulls came to symbolize bravado, fighters—from US special operations to the Nazi SS—used them on uniforms.

  • Mourning jewelry was fashionable in the 19th century, and the "look" lived on thanks to bands like the Grateful Dead and Loree Rodkin, who launched a line of Goth jewelry in 1989.
  • Mexican art of smiling, dancing skulls, used to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, helped skulls become more widely accepted.
  • The skull became an icon in 1970s London counterculture, where Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood launched a series of skull-inspired punk gear.
  • Skulls became truly fashionable thanks to Alexander McQueen, whose scarves have been spotted on Kate Moss and the Olsen twins.