Punk girl leaning against the wall.

For some, punk fashion is a phase, but for these three Filipinas, it’s a lifestyle. From dressing with attitude to getting the guts to stand on stage, find out how the punk spirit empowers these women to live large.

Embracing the Unconventional

From The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Misfits, and The Ramones, to Joan Jett, Patti Smith, riot grrrl originators Bikini Kill, and Green Day, punk has looked and sounded different throughout the generations. But at its core, it always goes against the grain – as does the irreverent punk fashion it inspires.

“Punk to me is this frame of mind, this energy and expression from thinking outside the box. It’s breaking free from the norms and embracing the unconventional,” shares fashion stylist, consultant, and costume designer Guada Reyes. “I express this in fashion with eye-catching, edgy statement pieces, piercings, and sure, I’ve when inspiration kicked in.”

“I never wanted to be in a position that would dictate how I should look, so I created my own path. Being this ‘rebel’ eventually became my bread and butter for many decades as a fashion stylist, consultant, trend forecaster, and costume designer,” she adds.

Guada’s punk fashion even extends to her home. “I have these little pockets of happiness and sunshine, with inspiration corners highlighting off-kilter art and some oddball accents.”

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Punk Fashion (R)Evolution

“I had the amazing privilege of having a fashion-loving mom who styled my wardrobe with statement pieces – from the frilliest dresses by Malou Veloso and Jessica McClintock for Gunne Sax to mom-and-me co-ords,” Guada recalls fondly.

Guada soon rebelled against these ultra-feminine outfits and gravitated toward grungy, tomboy fashion with subdued tones, simple prints, and minimalist silhouettes. “I was developing my style by knowing what I didn’t want. I look back with as it was part of discovering and developing my eye for this quirky/weird/semi-goth/periodically punk sense of style.”

Music icons also influenced her love for punk fashion. “I love the avant-garde looks of David Bowie, Björk, and Gwen Stefani to the badass vibes of Alison Mosshart from The Kills. Think rock band T-shirts, ripped jeans, leather jackets, and a never-caught-dead-in-a-dress attitude.”

She was also drawn to Anna Sui's fashion, which flawlessly fused femme and vintage elements with a punk and grunge edge. “Her designs brought together the style I grew up with and the raw energy and expression of the counterculture scene."

That’s Punk Rock, Mom

Meanwhile, tattoo artist and Crimson River Tattoo Studio owner Gigiebear shares, “For me, punk fashion is being true to yourself without shame. It’s an attitude towards life.”

Gigiebear has been experimenting with her style since high school, learning to choose clothes that resonated with her beyond mere trends. “I enjoy dressing up so much. It really feels empowering when I'm confident in what I wear and how I look. Women in punk usually have the same attitude and mindset. It's all about not being afraid to .” Her signature look? “Always a mix of punk and a little bit of cute!"

Now 32, Gigibear’s bold style hasn't changed much since her school days. Since she’s fully embraced punk fashion, she invests in quality, timeless pieces in line with her personal style. “I’ve also built my wardrobe with basics, so I can mix it up and accessorize! I think anyone can rock this look just by having fun!”

This artist is also a proud mom to two boys, aged 9 and 4. “It didn't change how I dress because they also enjoy being small little punks. They actually request their own haircuts! My oldest used to have colored hair when classes were held online, and my youngest always liked to have his hair in a mohawk. Their Tatay, the true punk in our family, is their biggest influence.”

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Punk Empowers

Spoken word artist, radio host, and educator Kooky Tuason shares, “Punk is raising your hands, showing yourself when the lot dare to just blend in. It is the voice in your head giving you directions to tread outside the box.”

From a young age, the nonconformist poet knew she wasn’t like most people. “My mind is too loud. It constantly presents ideas that make my heart beat faster, as if I have to see where the story lies. I am fueled by Choose Your Own Adventure,” she shares. Thus, her irrepressible, unconventional spirit finds inspiration in punk legends like Henry Rollins.

“Stepping on stage is a frightening experience. Before I get there, I must deal with why I shouldn't. There are several reasons to quit but Henry Rollins made me shush it,” she says, in true punk fashion.

Thanks to this indomitable punk spirit, Kooky has seven spoken word albums, a coffee table book, two graphic novels, and a record label promoting local poetry. She hosts Bigkas Pilipinas on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. She has also represented the Philippines in literary festivals around the globe.

Not Just a Phase 

Punk is usually treated like a rebellious phase one will grow out of, but for these women, it’s deeply embedded in their lives.

“It's part of the creative process,” muses Kooky. “It constantly opens doors to new discoveries.” This spirit extends into her punk fashion, and decades later, Kooky still lives in boots, wears predominantly black to gigs, goes from green to red to purple to blonde, and has no regrets. “So far, I have three tattoos designed by artists Garapata/Dex Fernandez, Froilan Calayag, and Blackheart,” she shares.

Punk is not just a phase for Guada, either. Her secret to rocking punk fashion at 47? “Mentally, I’m still in my 20's. to rebel against aging! I still have maintained the many piercings I got during my youth. I still color my hair – because why not? Although it's more subdued now with blue and ."

Guada adds, “My outfits are mostly monochromatic but accessorized with a studded statement piece, rather than a total outfit that screams ‘punk.’ I also have an eye condition that the rebel in me has learned to embrace. Rather than trying to hide it, I'm owning this pirate look.” Now, that’s punk fashion.

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Punk fashion is more than just the items in your closet. As these Filipinas have shown, it’s a state of mind that never really goes away. Whatever your aesthetic, embrace the punk spirit by being .