A fetish (derived from the French fétiche; which comes from the Portuguese feitiço; and this in turn from Latin facticius, "artificial" and facere, "to make") is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value or powers to an object.

Sexual fetishism, or erotic fetishism, is the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object. The object of interest is called the fetish, the person a fetishist who has a fetish for that object; ; "common male fetishes are feet, breasts, legs, hair, shoes, and underwear".  Initially, the concept of fetishism was used by the Portuguese to refer to the objects used in religious cults by the West African natives.  Arousal from a particular body part is not to be confused with fetishism because it is classified as partialism, which refers to a sexual interest with an exclusive focus of a specific part of the body.  Partialism is categorized as a paraphilia (A paraphilia involves sexual arousal and gratification towards sexual behavior).

Most of the material on fetishism is in reference to heterosexual men, with most of the objects fetishized being highly feminine items such as lingerie, hosiery, whip and high-heeled footwear. In contrast, for homosexual men most of the objects fetishized tend to be highly masculine.

  • In the 19th century Karl Max appropriated the term to describe commodity fetishism as an important component of capitalism nowadays, (commodity and capital) fetishism is a central concept of Marxism.
  • Later Sigmund Freud appropriated the concept to describe a form of paraphilia where the object of affection is an inanimate object or a specific part of a person.


Cultural Origins:  Early-Mid 1950s United States
Typical Instruments:  Guitar - Double bass - Drums - Piano, vocals
Mainstream Popularity: Popular in 1950s, revival in early 1980s. Rockabilly continues to have cult following at the present time

 The term rockabilly combines “rock” (from rock 'n' roll) and “billy” (from hillbilly music of the 1940s and 1950s) that contributed strongly to the style's development. Other important influences include western swing, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues. While there are notable exceptions, its origins lie primarily in the Southern United States.  The influence and popularity of the style waned in the 1960s, but during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
There was a close relationship between the blues and country music from the very earliest country recordings in the 1920s.  During the 1930s and 1940s, two new sounds emerged when  Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys combined country singing and steel guitar with big band jazz influences.  After blues artists launched a nationwide boogie craze starting in 1938, country artists began recording what was known as “Hillbilly Boogie,” which consisted of "hillbilly" vocals and instrumentation with a boogie bass line.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose were at "the leading edge of rockabilly with the slapped bass that Fred Maddox had developed".  Others believe that they were not only at the leading edge, but were one of the first Rockabilly groups, if not the first, followed in the 1950s such artists as Zeb Turner, Bill Monroe (the “father of Bluegrass”), Merle Travis, Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Curtis Gordon.  In the early 1950s there was heavy competition among Memphis area bands playing a mix of covers, original songs, and hillbilly flavored blues.

Sun Records was a small independent label run by Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee.  As well as recording and releasing performances by blues and country musicians, Phillips also ran a service allowing anyone to come in off the street and for $3.98 (plus tax) record himself on a two-song vanity record. One young man who came to record himself as a surprise for his mother, he claimed, was Elvis Presley.  According to Phillips, “Ninety-five percent of the people I had been working with were black, most of them of course no name people”.  Elvis fitted right in. He was born and raised in poverty and was surrounded by people who had very little in the way of worldly goods.


Stylistic origins:  Blues, garage rock, rhythm and blues, punk rock, rockabilly, rock and roll
Cultural origins: Late 1970s England
Typical instruments: Guitar, double bass, drums
Mainstream popularity: Popular in England and Europe in the 1980s. Gained popularity in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The term "Psychobilly" was first used in the lyrics to the country song "One Piece at a Time", a Top 10 hit for Johnny Cash in the United States in 1976.  The rock band The Cramps appropriated the term from the Cash song and described their music as "Psychobilly" and "rockabilly voodoo" on flyers advertising their concerts.  They have since rejected the idea of being a part of a psychobilly subculture, noting that they were just trying to drum up business.  It wasn't, they said, meant as a style of music.

Psychobilly is a fusion of rock music that mixes elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and other genres.  It is often characterised by lyrical references to science fiction, horror and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other topics generally considered taboo, though often presented in a comic or tongue-in-cheek fashion.  Psychobilly gained underground popularity in Europe in the early 1980s, but remained largely unknown in the United States until the late 1990s.  Since then the advent of several notable psychobilly bands has led to its mainstream popularity and attracted international attention to the genre.

Psychobilly musicians and fans often dress in styles that borrow from 1950s rockabilly and rock and roll, as well as 1970s punk fashions. Men often wear brothel creepers or Dr. Martens boots and shave their heads into high wedge-shaped pompadours or quiffs, military-style crops, or mohawks.  Women of the psychobilly subculture frequently model their fashions after B-grade horror films and hot rod culture.


The Goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the Post-punk genre. The Goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify.The phrase was coined by the band manager of Joy Division, Anthony H. Wilson, who described the band as 'Gothic compared with the pop mainstream'. The term stuck, and as punk eventually died, Goth survived and became its own subculture. The punk clothing and hairstyles mellowed, and the core 'rejection of society' attitude alone lived on in the gothic subculture.

Goths are a group of people who feel comfortable within each other’s company. There is no specific thing that defines what you need to do or be to fit into the Goth scene (except of course the implied black clothing). People in the Goth scene all have different musical tastes, follow different religions, have different occupations, hobbies, and fashion sense.

Most Goths become Goths because they have been spurned by 'normal' society because the way they want to live their lives does not fit in with how most people are told to live theirs. Goths are free thinkers, people who do not accept the moral rules of society because they're told 'This is just how it is' or 'this is what God says!’ Rather Goths tend to listen to what you have to say, and make up their own mind.

Typical Gothic fashion includes black dyed and crimped hair, bright lips, usually pale skin and black clothing maybe with a dash of spiked collars, dark eyeliner, black fingernails and black period-styled clothing; Goths may or may not have piercings. Styles are often borrowed from the Elizabethan,Victorian or medieval period and often express pagan, occult or other religious imagery such as pentacles or ankhs. While their appearance may shock the mainstream, they dress that way because it is what makes them feel right and they have little regard for anyone.

Because of public misunderstanding and ignorance surrounding gothic aesthetics, Goths sometimes suffer prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance. As is the case with members of various other controversial subcultures and alternative lifestyles, outsiders sometimes marginalize Goths, either by intention or by accident.  Goths, like any other alternative sub-culture sometimes suffer intimidation, humiliation, and, in many cases, physical violence for their involvement with the subculture.

The Goth subculture has influenced different artists—not only musicians—but also painters and photographers. In particular their work is based on mystic, morbid and romantic motifs. In photography and painting the spectrum varies from erotic artwork to romantic images of vampires or ghosts. To be present is a marked preference for dark colours and sentiments, similar to Gothic fiction, Pre-Raphaelites or Art Nouveau. In the Fine Art field, Anne Sudworth is a well known Goth artist with her dark, nocturnal works and strong Gothic imagery. Often, Goth visual art goes hand in hand with Goth music, such as artist Nathaniel Milljour whose gothic artwork is predominantly used by bands and nightclubs. Some of the graphic artists close to Goth are Gerald Brom, Luis Royo, Dave McKean, Jhonen Vasquez, Trevor Brown, Victoria Francés as well as the American comic artist James O'Barr.


Rockers, leather boys or ton-up boys are a biker subculture that originated in the United Kingdom during the 1950s among motorcycle riding youths. The rocker subculture came about due to factors such as the end of Post-World War II rationing in the UK and a general rise in prosperity for working class youths, the recent availability of credit and financing for young people, the influence of American popular music and film, the construction of race track-like new arterial ring roads around British cities, and the development of transport cafes that became their natural haunts. These factors coincided with a peak in British motorcycle engineering. Although rocker-style youths existed in the 1950s, they were known as the Ton up Boys because ton-up was English slang for driving 100 mph (160 km/h). It wasn't until the 1960s that they became known as rockers and they were immersed into rockabilly music and fashions and began to be known as much for their devotion to rock and roll music as they were for their motorcycles.

‘Cafe Racers’ The term originated in the 1950s and 1960s,when Rockers often frequented cafes, using them as starting and finishing points for daring road races. A cafe racer is a motorcycle that has been modified for speed and good handling rather than for comfort. Features include a single racing seat, low handle bars (such as ace bars or one-sided clip-ons mounted directly onto the front forks for control and aerodynamics), half or full race fairings, large racing petrol tanks (often left unpainted), swept-back exhaust pipes, and rear set foot pegs (to give better clearance while cornering at high speeds).

Rockers generally bought standard factory-made motorcycles and stripped them down, tuned them up and modified them to appear like racing bikes. They raced them on public roads and travelled to cafes such as The Ace Cafe, Chelsea Bridge tea stall, Ace of Spades, Busy Bee and Johnsons. Largely due to their clothing styles and dirtiness, the rockers were not widely welcomed by venues such as pubs and dance halls. This attitude remained prevalent in the UK until the early 1990s, when there was a notable change in the demographics of motorcycle riders in the country.

The rocker fashion style was born out of necessity and practicality. Rockers wore heavily-decorated leather motorcycle jackets, often adorned with metal studs, patches, pin badges and sometimes an Esso gas man trinket. When they rode their motorcycles, they usually wore no helmet, or wore a classic open-face helmet, aviator goggles and a white silk scarf (to protect them from the elements). Other common items included: T-shirts, leather caps, Levi's or Wrangler jeans, leather trousers, tall motorcycle boots (often made by Lewis Leathers) or brothel creepers.

Largely due to their clothing styles and dirtiness, the rockers were not widely welcomed by venues such as pubs and dance halls. Rockers also transformed rock and roll dancing into a more violent, individualistic form beyond the control of dance hall management. They were generally reviled by the British motorcycle industry and general enthusiasts as being as an embarrassment and bad for the industry and the sport.


 The punk subculture emerged in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa in the mid-to-late-1970s. The origins of Punk in the mid-1970s lay in the realities of disaffected working-class urban youth with little hope of employment, housing, and a meaningful future. Originally, the punk movement came about as a way for people to express their views towards political and social issues. The outrageous clothing and hairstyles were indicative of the youthful rebellion at the time, and stood as a way for punks to differentiate themselves from the masses.


Black leather, studs, chains, mufti fabrics, greyed sweated out black T shirts, bondage animal print bum flaps, military boots, tight leather pants and leg straps epitomise some of the looks that immediately spring to mind when thinking of the early punks. 


In the United Kingdom, a great deal of punk fashion from the 1970s was based on the designs of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and the Bromley Contingent. Mainstream punk style was influenced by clothes sold in Malcolm McLaren's shop SEX. Most Punk’s hairstyles were unnatural, dyed, cut it into Mohawks or other dramatic shapes and often spiked, with personal decoration in the form of safety pins, body piercing, and dangling chains.