Bowie Fashion.jpg
   Lyrics                           Video
from the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B-side “Scream Like a Baby”
Released 24 October 1980
Format 7″ single
Recorded The Power Station, New York, February 1980; Good Earth Studios, London, April 1980


Length 3:23 (7″ single edit)
4:46 (Full-length album version)
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) David Bowie

Fashion is a track from David Bowie’s 1980 album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps). It was released as the second single from the album and was accompanied, like “Ashes to Ashes”, by a highly regarded music video.

According to co-producer Tony Visconti, “Fashion” was the last song completed in the Scary Monsters sessions, its bassline and some of the melody taking inspiration from Bowie’s 1975 hit “Golden Years”. Guest guitarist Robert Fripp contributed a series of harsh, mechanical riffs to complement the band’s funk/reggae arrangement.

Noted for its emotionally vacant choir effect, and the recurring onomatopoeia “beep beep” that Bowie had first used in an unreleased 1970 song called “Rupert the Riley”. Another phrase in the lyrics that Bowie borrowed from his past was “People from Bad Homes”, the title track of a 1973 album he recorded with his protégés The Astronettes, which went unreleased until 1995.

References to a “goon squad” coming to town provoked theories that the song actually concerns fascism. However Bowie played down this interpretation in an interview saying that what he was trying to do was “move on a little from that Ray Davies concept of fashion, to suggest more of a gritted teeth determination and an unsuredness about why one’s doing it”. Some believe the song “poked fun at the banality of the dance-floor and the style fascists” of the New Romantic movement. star2