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A rivethead or rivet head is a person associated with the industrial dance music scene. Unlike the original industrial movement (the members of which are sometimes referred to as "industrialists"), the rivethead scene had coherent youth culture with a discernible fashion style. The scene and its dress code emerged in the late 1980s on the basis of electro-industrial, EBM and industrial rock music. The associated dress style is militaristic with hints of punk aesthetics and fetish wear.

Initially, the term rivethead had been used since the 1940s as a nickname for North American automotive assembly line and steel construction workers and hit the mainstream through the publication of Ben Hamper's Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line, which is otherwise unrelated to the subculture.

Glenn Chase, founder of San Diego music label Re-Constriction Records, is responsible for the term's meaning in the 1990s. In 1993, he released Rivet Head Culture, a compilation that contains several electro-industrial and industrial rock acts from the North American underground music scene. In the same year, industrial rock group Chemlab—whose members were close friends of Chase—released their debut album, Burn Out at the Hydrogen Bar, which had a track called Rivet Head. Chemlab singer Jared Louche said he did not remember where the term came from, although he states that this song title was in his mind for years.

The rivethead dress style has been inspired by military aesthetics, complemented by fashion "that mimics the grit and grime of industrial sectors in major metropolitan areas". Additionally, it borrows elements of punk fashion, such as a fanned or dyed Mohawk hairstyle, and fetish wear, such as black leather or PVC tops, pants and shorts, along with modern primitive body modifications such as tattoos, piercings and scarification.

  • Tops: Black, gray or olive tank tops, plain t-shirts, industrial band shirts, sleeveless shirts (with the sleeves ripped off), tie-dye crinkle or burst pattern shirts; black leather jackets (frequently painted with band logos), flight jackets, occasionally trenchcoats.
  • Pants: Cargo and Battle Dress Uniform paratrooper pants, ripped jeans, vintage shorts, often but not always black or Woodland camouflage; usually tucked into boots, rolled at the bottom cuffs or worn as cut-off shorts. Black leather pants and bondage pants are also worn.
  • Footwear: Combat boots,steel-toe boots, or low shoes, such as Dr. Martens, Gripfasts, Grinders and Underground shoes.
  • Hair: Partially shaved (undercut), flattop, Mohawk or completely shaved. Sometimes long hair in combination with undercut or dreadlocks
  • Accessories: Teashades and Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. Battle Dress Uniform-style or military belts; spiked or studded chokers, collars, bracelets and belts; dog tags; sometimes jewelry that incorporates industrial elements such as nails, screws or cogs. Fingerless leather or fishnet gloves. Suspenders, or "braces", normally worn hanging off trousers or shorts.
  • Body modification: Primarily piercings and tattoos. Some rivetheads have scarifications.


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