Punk Fashion Pioneer Judy Blame Dead at 58
Judy Blame, a pioneering jeweler, fashion stylist, and art director whose aesthetic helped shape the look of the British punk scene in the '80s, has passed away at the age of 58.
Blame's work first made an impact in U.K. clubs early in the decade, latching on with consumers who responded to his low-budget approach — most notably the practice he dubbed "mudlarking," which involved fishing detritus out of the Thames River and repurposing it for his jewelry. By the middle of the decade, he'd risen to such prominence that he was involved in the founding of the art collective known as the House of Beauty and Culture.
While the punk movement proved relatively short-lived, Blame's career continued unimpeded beyond the music's time in the pop culture spotlight. He consulted for a wide variety of designers over the ensuing decades and was also instrumental in helping shape the public images of a number of pop stars, including Boy George, Björk, and Kylie Minogue. Blame was still working steadily shortly before his death, offering what he called a "montage" of his work, the solo exhibit Judy Blame: Never Again, in 2016.
"I’m not classically trained in anything, I kind of use my gut instinct, or it’s about the pure visual of it. It’s quite organic, the way I do it, it sounds really corny to say that, but it is how I do it," Blame laughed after the show opened. "I get a lot of pleasure out of making something physically with my hands, and I think that’s why I’ve never got bored with it, because I’m forever looking for something else."
Blame's passing has already been publicly mourned by a number of his friends, peers, clients, and acolytes — among them Boy George, who paid tribute via social media to an artist he summed up as "beautiful, talented and arch as hell."