Consider the following proposition: even if David Bowie — genius author of countless classic songs — had never issued a single piece of music, his status as a cultural icon and legend would remain secure simply on the basis of his astounding contributions to the world of fashion. Who else could make that claim? Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, the Clash, the Replacements, and the Smiths all authored indelible, much-imitated fashion statements. Once. How many times has David Bowie managed the same feat? Seven? A hundred? It’s difficult to keep count, but the following facts we know to be true: He had Johnny Rotten’s haircut seven years early on the cover of the “Space Oddity” single in 1969. The created-from-whole-cloth character Ziggy Stardust represents one of the few utterly persuasive attempts to weld rock and roll and music theater, a gesture so audacious that its co-mingling of the alien, the aggressively pan-sexual, and the profoundly endearing still feels like an edgy outlier 40 years after the fact. Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs cemented his status as the archduke of glam, but soon he had moved on with stunning dexterity and detail to other preoccupations and personas. His circa-Young Americans take on blue-eyed soul predated and anticipated great acts like Squeeze and Joe Jackson. The foreboding and cold figure he cut while rendering the so called “Berlin Trilogy” of Lodger, Low, and Heroes is perhaps his most menacing creation ever — turning a kind of Teutonic roboticism into something frightening and seductive. The Berlin period was one of such artistic brilliance and commercial non-conformity that it seemed a reasonable assumption that Bowie had forever back-burnered any ambition to be a mainstream superstar in the United States. That assumption was emphatically disproved, as the Thin White Duke reinvented himself yet again for the commercial smash “Let’s Dance” — sacrificing exactly zero integrity as he successfully remade himself as the ultimate in British cosmopolitan cool, on an album that delivered hit after timeless hit with apparent shrugging ease. And so it goes. Just as we’ve never before had anyone in the tradition who so fully grasps the relationship between sound and vision, there is little surprise that the man has inspired countless craftsfolks to chase their own id in unique, compelling, and occasionally alarming places. On that note, here is a list of the best Bowie-inspired items available to YOU (yes you) on the Internet.
Start the craft-down here.