How Guns N' Roses Changed Rock n Roll Fashion

Happy Birthday to Slash! We're looking back on the group's fashion impact

GnR mobile
Getty Images

Today marks the 57th birthday of the legend Slash, so it’s only right that we continue our style history series with one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, Guns N’ Roses. Formed in Los Angeles in 1985, the band instantly set the rock world on fire with their bold expressive music and clothing, with Slash himself developing his own unique style that would eventually take the world by storm.

GettyImages 535921600
Getty Images

Whether it was the leather jackets, top hat, or ripped clothing, Guns N’ Roses have certainly made their mark in the fashion universe. Let’s take a look back at how it all came together. 

1987 Debut

We were also introduced to Slash’s top hat for the first time during this era (which wound up becoming his signature look), and we also saw the group rocking tank tops, leather pants, leather jackets, and bandanas. 

G N’ R Lies and 1990s Success

GettyImages 135939848
Getty Images

As Guns N’ Roses continued gaining massive popularity, they struck gold again with their sophomore album G N’ R Lies. With the album being released during the tail end of the 1980s, we saw some fashion changes, but for the most part the group kept the core look they sported for their debut, which was 1980s/1990s rock n’ roll at its finest. 

By the time the group released their widely successful two-part album series Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, it’s safe to say that they had already become fashion icons with their own individual style. Guns N’ Roses weren’t Metallica, Nirvana, or the Rolling Stones, both with their musical and fashion style, and those groups weren’t them, which is something that Slash in particular was very proud of.

Who Styled Guns N’Roses?

A chance encounter with Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw led to Brown getting his first major work in the industry, paving the way for him to work with Bon Jovi, Barry Manilow, Cher, and…you guessed it, Guns N’ Roses. If you could pick a musical genre that best defines Ray Brown’s designs, it would definitely be heavy metal, which was heavily reflected in the pieces he styled his clients in.

As we mentioned before, no other rock band or artist was anything like Guns N’ Roses, and when it came to their style it’s possible that the group could take the honors of having the most “heavy metal rock” look (though Motley Crue might like a word). Like so many other artists, however, Brown only enhanced the style and ideas that Guns N’ Roses presented him, as each member had their own individual style that was reflective of their musicality and personality.

Guns N’ Roses Impact on Style

GettyImages 85218282
Getty Images

From the very beginning, Slash always maintained that Guns N’ Roses wanted to go down a different direction than their contemporaries. Remember, the band debuted in 1987, a time where we were still seeing trademark 1980s fashion in the form of big voluminous hair and heavy makeup.

GettyImages 96715378
Getty Images

While the group were very much “rock stars” in terms of their overall look, there was an element of their style that was more street and toned down in the sense that they could walk down the street, and blend in with the crowd. You could even say that from a rock perspective, Guns N’ Roses played a part in ushering in that early 1990s style we saw amongst rock bands like Nirvana and Green Day.

Guns N’ Roses Legacy Today

Screen Shot 2022 07 22 at 3.20.49 PM
Guns N' Roses Store

Guns N’ Roses merchandise collection is loaded with an official store to boot, and there are various different colors and styles of Guns N’ Roses t-shirts available to purchase. In fact, there’s people with Guns N’ Roses t-shirts that aren’t even huge Guns N’ Roses fans. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you know you have power.

Thirty-five years after their debut, Guns N’ Roses is still out there rockin, rollin, selling out concerts, and doing so in style. Their style. Happy Birthday to one of the GOATs. 

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down