How The Skull Transformed The Fashion Industry

Known for representing a dark and ghoulish world, skulls are now reshaping the fashion industry…

Skulls are represented as legends of the prohibited territory of menacing symbols but are now being used noticeably as fashion statements. From trending teenager shirts to skull boots, skull helmets, skull leggings, bracelets, skull rings, and skull hoodies.


If you are an avid fashionista, you will see what has never changed for aeons - the extraordinary symbol of a skull. It is distinctively the same no matter what fashion trend is popular. 

The fashion world is powerful. New styles appear and disappear all the time. But singularly, this does not seem to affect the symbol of the skull which is perpetual and revered by many in the fashion industry. The skull is a consistent image in all of fashion, even when trends are changing.

sugar skull


I like to think that people’s deep attraction to skulls is what keeps them relevant. What some people find so special is its association with mortality, death and the afterlife. So what is so special about skull symbolism? To get to the bottom of this, we must first relive its past.

The history and symbolism of the skull

The lasting image of a skull has been around for centuries shared with many cultures around the world. It is unknown as to how the human skull entered into the mainstream fashion industry. Many are convinced that the biker gang subculture was the primary reason to bring it into the public eye.

The skull emblem became ever-present among bikers and they continue take pride in their culture by adorning the skull image. They embedded the skull emblem in all assortments of fashion including rings, t-shirts, jackets, helmets and even more outstanding on their bikes. They would even get skull tattoos.

quetzalcoatl skull ring


Today, bikers adorn themselves and their bikes with skull rings, stickers of skulls, skull patches, skull necklaces, and other skull accessories to present the uniqueness and an undying commitment to their biker gang and the motorcycling culture. It is also a sign of their pride and loyalty to the club to build a brotherhood. A motorcycle rider will commit to their legacy with pride until death.

The skull was adopted by stars in Hollywood which made a big statement in the fashion to maintain its significance. Today, the emblem is everywhere. Celebrities are seen to wear skull fashion including skull rings, skull hoodies and other skull fashion items on the world’s biggest  stages.

striped skull ring


Where did the fashion of skull culture begin? The first known use of the skull emblem is dated back to the 1600s. Albrecht Dürer, the German Renaissance artist, was one of the first artists to signify people of their mortality by adding skulls in his works of art such as paintings and woodwork. His work included portraits, engravings and altarpieces that featured skull symbolism. Some of his notable work is the Knight, Death and Devil master print that featured a skull emblem engraving. 


The majority of people lean away from experiencing the skull culture as it is associated with darkness, risk, and mortality, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg for the symbolism. Skulls have been recorded in multiple ancient cultures to deliver messages and symbolise different meanings.

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