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Kustom Kulture

Posted on July 16 2017

Kustom Kulture was born out of hot rodding as a culture, with rites and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. It was began as a counterculture. Starting from the early depression years. When people found themselves not being able to afford a flashy car new car, they would strip down cheap Model T’s to make them faster. Soup up the engines, fender-less and loud, and of course with custom paint jobs, flames and pinstripes, names like the Sidewinders or The Low Flyers, they would get your attention. What they did to their cars was an art, a craft.

It has since spread into not only vehicles, but hairstyles and tattoos, art, music, and clothing. This was a full on cultural push of incredible magnitude.

Custom motorcycles appeared in the late 1950’s, around the same time as the term was applied to custom cars. The term, “Chopper” appeared in the 1960’s through artists such as Ben Hardy. Now in the 2000’s very costly customs assembled by the likes of Jesse James West Coast Choppers become lavish status symbols.

When you think of Kustom Kulture; what may come to mind is Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, the lowbrow art movement of Robert Williams, and of the artist Von Dutch (Kenny Howard). These men helped define this culture. “Rat Fink,” one of Ed Roth’s caricatures, an anti-hero to Mickey Mouse, was often seen on many a hot rod. In 1968 Mattel introduced Hot Wheels and Roth’s Beatnik Bandit was one of the first 16 die-cast toy cars produced by the company. It had spread that far. 

Of course Kustom Kulture is about also about the ink. It is about American traditional. Old School, Sailor Jerry, motorcycles and most definitely, Hot Rods. You cannot forget the style. Kustom Kulture is usually identified with the working-class youth subculture of the 1950’s, the “greasers,” and the rockabilly’s and punks of the 70’s. It has morphed into the 2000’s with the artwork applied to not only fashion, hairstyles such as pompadours, creepers, tattoos, t-shirts and logos.

Here at Inked Boutique we have our favorite Kustom Kulture men’s and women’s MotorCult t-shirts as well as the perfect Retro-a-go-go Compact Mirror’s to keep your lipstick touch up a reflection away. We cannot resist the Sourpuss Kustom Kutie Peggy Dress Black. Picture that on a rockabilly lady sitting on a custom hot rod basking in the sunshine one fine afternoon! 

Car shows are a huge part of Kustom Kulture. What would be the point of working so hard on your hot rod if you don’t have a platform to show it off? These gatherings are about talking shop, showing off the wheels, and that one car…the one with no oil in the engine, running with bets down to see how long it will last. You can be wearing a Kustom Kreeps shirt in that sun while showing off that 1961 Chevy Biscayne with the custom paint in Columbia Blue. Sweet.

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