Complex Kits: Machine Gun Kelly Talks Personal Style, Punk Fashion Icons, and Tearing Up His Jeans

Complex Kits: Machine Gun Kelly Talks Personal Style, Punk Fashion Icons, and Tearing Up His Jeans

Complex Kits: Documenting the style of the stars and personalitites who come through our office.

Photography by Liz Barclay

Machine Gun Kelly has slowly but surely created a diehard fanbase of millions who come out in droves to see the Cleveland-native put on an insane show that lives up to his "Wildboy" status. The gangly, tatted-up emcee was one of the first to inject a large element of punk music and culture into hip-hop, and that extends over into his sense of style. If you slept on "Black Flag" this summer, make sure you correct that mistake immediately. Same goes for recognizing punk style legitimately awesome and something you need to infuse into your wardrobe.

So what are you rocking right now?
Some Chucks that been stepped on, some $30 jeans that I cut open, some silver jewelry, my EST bandana. This is like, what Iron Man has, that fucking thing glows in his chest? That's like that to me, man. I don't think you'll ever see me without an EST bandana on me. And then just these silver caps in my teeth that make me look like a fucking demon-child. Shirt's an All-Saints shirt.

Do you modify all your shit, like cut them up yourself?
Yeah pretty much.

So you don't buy your stuff like that.
Fuck no, man. What kind of shit is that, dude? 

I mean, people buy it. 
'Cause they're fucking corny, and it's a fucking era of bitchassness and I hate people. Nah I love people. You hear me? I love people! Nah I really do love them, man, 'cause they're so stupid. [Laughs] I'm just playin'.

You were talking earlier about adding a punk element to hip-hop before anyone else. Do you think you did that with the way you dress? 
Yeah! I don't know. Shit, no? I don't fucking know. Nah. I think I just brought the, like, I mean I'm not even gonna be the corny motherfucker sittin' here like, "I was the one!" I ain't do shit. I don't know what I did, man. Be your own judge, man. You know what it is. 

Do you have any classic punk icons you look up and respect the way they dress?
Fuck yeah, man. Are you fucking kidding me? Fuckin' Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx. Just everybody. Fuckin' Vivienne Westwood. I shouldn't even say anyone else, I should just say Vivienne Westwood. She's the fuckin' OG of punk. But all those guys. Billy Idol, you know, just cool people. 

What were kids dressed like at EST Fest?
Dressed like me. People come dressed in like EST gear, Lace Up gear, Machine Gun Kelly gear. My fans don't come to look cool, they come to support. Them motherfuckers come to support. 

When did you first start noticing fans tattooing "Lace Up" or "EST 19XX" and all that?
2011. I'll always support my fans who support me like that.

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