Why does AC/DC‘s Angus Young wear a schoolboy outfit onstage with the classic rock band?

Because as rock fans know, the guitarist’s unique image is synonymous with AC/DC’s music. But what are the origins of his signature schoolboy look? How does a rock star decide to make a school uniform part of their onstage persona?

If you close your eyes and think about AC/DC, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Young duckwalking across the stage as AC/DC’s swaggering brand of rock music plays, schoolboy garb on full display. After that, maybe you’d think of the lightning bolt-assisted AC/DC wordmark, the Australian band’s iconic logo — also a rock totem. All the touchstones of a rock legacy.

But beyond just memorable typography, how Angus Young cuts a schoolboy uniform is quite literally the AC/DC mascot. And the way he came up with the classic outfit was through some help from his family members — after a little trial and error.

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Before Young debuted the schoolboy uniform onstage with AC/DC in 1974, he’d donned bizarre stage costumes such as a gorilla suit, Zorro mask and Superman suit, as Grunge reported. In the early days, the band tried out different outfits onstage, including some of-the-era satin threads.

ac/dc

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But at one point, Young’s brother and fellow AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young decided the band needed an image overhaul for a big gig at Sydney’s Victoria Park, according to a report from Louder.

AC/DC Schoolboy Outfit Origins

It was then that the schoolboy getup’s origins came by way of a suggestion from Angus’ sister Margaret, who thought it would be amusing for Angus to perform in a school uniform as a nod to his youthful appearance and the fact that he’d just left school when the band formed. For the gig, Angus borrowed Margaret’s son Sam’s school blazer.

It became Angus’ trademark look, distinguishing him and the band as rebellious yet relatable rockers. Chuck Berry may have invented the duckwalk, but Angus Young owns the schoolboy uniform.

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Looking back on the schoolboy outfit’s origins, Angus once suggested that a famous rocker who came before him inspired him to dress in something eye-catching when he hit the stage with AC/DC.

“Some people look great in civilian gear,” the guitarist said, as 107.1 The Boss reported. “Like when I was younger and saw Jimi Hendrix, and went, ‘Wow!’ It’s the image, that’s the first thing when you’re younger. How cool he looked! How cool he played. And I thought, ‘I want to be that cool.'”

Angus added, “So I put the school suit on. That’s my thing. Why do people come to see us play? It’s the school suit. It works!”

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AC/DC, “School Days” (1975)

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