The skull and crossbones, otherwise known as the human skull, is a representation that has accompanied our imagination since primitive times. Symbolising the time of death, “memento mori“, an emblem of death that already adorned the coat of arms of the “Order of the Dead Head” in 1652, represented by a skull and crossbones with a white ribbon. It expresses our fascination with the dialectic of death. For the enigma of piracy and the macabre side of the reaper. Getting a skull tattoo always makes an impression and if you add a ring with a Calavera on it, you get a total punk rock look.
The origin of the skull
The philosophy behind the skull symbol goes beyond appearances. It is a flag hoisted on the mast of freedom. The winds of a passion that translates into products such as clothing, jewellery, etc. without forgetting skull decoration or products related to Halloween. The skull and crossbones T-shirt has become a classic of its kind. Who doesn’t remember the movie “Easy Rider” or, in another register, Ghost Rider. The skull and crossbones design is also linked to the gothic fashion. The rockers also emphasised the rebellious and mystical side of this symbol.
With the arrival of bikers and biker gangs, such as the famous “Hells Angels” who terrorised the roads in the 1950s, whose logo was a skull and crossbones wearing a winged helmet. The “Skull” then became the very identity of these groups. This emblem is linked to their taste for risk and danger, with the philosophy of living life to the fullest until death comes for them. A way of braving death and shaking up conformity. But the skull is also a kind of protective talisman. You have understood that the symbol of the Calavera (Mexico) becomes a code of life. Other people, who are not part of a biker group, may be satisfied with a tattoo, a skull and crossbones bracelet and why not a cap. This way, without being a “real” American biker or pirate, you’ll be in the middle of the trendy look.
The skull in fashion
In fashion circles (e.g. Von Dutch, Fendi, Dior and Diesel) the skull and crossbones design is mostly associated with gothic fashion trends. This use supports an expression of rebellion but also of worship and mysticism. The skull and crossbones can be found on jewellery, bandanas, T-shirts, etc. as a result of the impact of rock bands displaying this symbol on stage, on their outfits and accessories, and on their album covers.
This new appeal of the skull and crossbones is primarily aimed at young people, but the major brands have used this trend to reach a wider audience by de-dramatising the morbid aspect of this symbol by transforming it into a trendy and fancy motif. Whether on bags, underwear, shoes or decorative items, the skull and crossbones have become glamorous and trendy.