Pins are the cheapest form of fashion accessory, or maybe the most expensive, bought and paid for with experience and time in the scene. Giving away pins or selling them dirt cheap is a tried-and-true technique going back well before The Clash and The Misfits pins appeared on every spiked leather jacket in the world back in the 1970s. -Sarah Levi displays her collection of lapel pins at Punk Rock Night.- Properly done, they serve as a visual shorthand record of your travels and tastes. Merit badges for itinerant scene-sters. Levi’s collection includes more than 50 from out-of-state shows. “I like to let people know what kind of bands I listen to.”
I’ve seen grizzled veterans of the activist/rally circuit still wearing equally grizzled McGovern 1972 pins or longtime nerds with “I grok Spock” or “Frodo Lives!” pins. It’s cheap and an easy way to distinguish yourself and customize an otherwise bland jacket or bag.
Plus, it’s a great way to make aesthetic and political statements, whether it be an iconic image, pithy saying or a Zen-esque blank badge like the one John Lennon once wore, explaining simply, “It’s a button with nothing on it.”
Don’t overlook those countless little pins available at most local shows. Not everyone can have a pin from the 1977 Bowie/Iggy/Blondie tour, but you never know when the Malcontents, Slurs or Mudkids might finally hit it seriously big and you can prove to everyone You Knew Them When.