Whistles Icon: Renton

19.01.2017

He was the 90s poster boy for post-punk looks and bad habits but now, 20 years on, it seems there’s more to Renton’s style than a shaved head and shoplifting.

Danny Boyle’s original Trainspotting film recreated the late-80s Edinburgh of Irvine Welsh’s novel through a mid-90s lens. Its seminal soundtrack is the perhaps best example of how he overlapped influences to achieve this, from 70s Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, through to modern indie and electronica like Pulp and Underworld. He shaped Welsh’s characters the same way, using the musical and cultural tastes of each to define their style – subtle mixes of inspirations and eras that still feel authentic, because they mirror how we dress now. And that explains Renton’s ongoing relevance; he’s a 90s fashion icon, but has a look that spans subcultures.

Renton’s cleaned-up return for Trainspotting’s sequel, T2, revives memories of how he left us in the first film: all freshly laundered stonewashed denim over a crisp V-neck T-shirt. His older self’s more contemporary wardrobe mixes military classics and sportswear basics, updating the well-worn staples and slim silhouettes young Renton lived in. And it’s those same late-80s touches in the original that still inspire, as we remember how his look transitioned from the grungy, retro mood of post-punk to the brighter, baggier styling of early rave. Choose bomber jackets and vibrant prints. Choose zip-up tracksuit tops. Choose life.