Rant: the razor-blade necklace fad

When I was a teen — late 80s, early 90s — the razor blade necklace was a fad.  You have probably seen them before.  You start with a ball-chain necklace and attach something that looks like (but is probably not actually) a double-edged razor blade.  Voilà!  Instant “edgy” “punk-rock” fashion accessory.  A Google Image Search will yield more concrete results if you’re still having difficulty picturing this.

I really do not know the origins of the razor blade necklace.  I’d guess we would be talking Sex Pistols era punk rock, spawning from either drug use or self-mutilation.  When I was a teen, Hot Topic hadn’t quite been founded yet, but there were a variety of local record and alterna-shops (The Electric Chair, Bionic Records, Zak-Attack) that you could walk into and purchase a hunk of metal resembling a razor blade on a metal chain, manufactured in China for some faceless corporation, ready to wear.

I find the entire concept of a fake razor blade annoying.  I mean, really, do you think you’re going to be all hard-core by wearing something that looks like a razor blade, but so obviously isn’t due to the lack of chest lacerations?  A recent promotional pack for Trent Reznor’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack includes a USB razor blade necklace!  (I’ll save my rant on the Holywoodized film of a Swedish film of a book for another time; though I will say that what I’ve heard of the soundtrack is great.)  This is not just a hunk of dull metal masquerading as a razor blade, this is a high-tech USB flash drive in the guise of a razor blade.  Punk rock!  Though I guess this falls in line with the same sort of marketing-thinking that brings the Lizbeth Salander line of clothing to H&M.  A recent tweet that I can no longer find the source of suggested the Lizbeth would more likely set H&M on fire than buy “punk rock” clothes from there.

In my entire life, I have never seen a razor blade necklace made with an actual razor blade.  I’m not advocating people take up the DIY ethic and build their own razor blade necklaces.  That would be a bad idea.  Even when “dull,” those suckers can be sharp.  I cut my finger slightly when removing blades from my “spent” box for the following photo.

I simply feel that the whole fake razor blade thing has jumped the shark and needs to be put to sleep.  Let’s move on and find something else rather than recycling a fad from the 80s, which was in turn a recycled fad from the 70s.  Or at the very least, mutate it and make it something new.  Gluing a gear to it won’t necessarily make it steampunk, or good, but at least it would make it DIFFERENT from the original.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

9 thoughts on “Rant: the razor-blade necklace fad”

  1. Thats your opinion and a “fad” that certain people did.
    Ive been wearing my razorblade necklaces since I was 6 years old.
    I started wearing it because my favorite guitarist Dimebag Darrell wore it until the day he passed away back in 2004. His girlfriend originally got it custom made for him because one of his favorite albums was the British Steel album by Judas Priest which had a razorblade.
    He wore it because of an album he liked not because it was edgy or punk rock of him.
    I wear it because my favorite guitarist wore it.

    Yes maybe it was a fade but only to a select few.
    Because most punk rockers still wear it.
    Because almost every fan of Dimebag Darrell wears it because he did.

  2. also agreeing from the first comment, but me and some of my friends wear it as a symble of somthing that some of us going through, that we are in it togever, not because its ‘punk’ or in other words cool. x

  3. The start of wearing a razor blade necklace came from post-prisoners wearing them to symbolize that they had their neck cut by a razor in prison.

  4. I remember a members of some punk rock bands wore them and I think they were DIY necklaces. Shortly after that (later 70s, into the 80s), it became a sign that the wearer was a cocaine users. At some point in the 80s, you could not buy double edged razor blades because of the large amount of cocaine that was coming into America.

    I hadn’t realized that these type of razor blades were available again.

  5. I wear a razor blade around my neck because I used to c*t myself with one. It’s a symbol that I’ve healed from that period of time in my life. Not because it’s “cool.”

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