30 years ago today, MTV changed cable television forever when it launched a channel completely dedicated to music and the culture that encompasses it. Although the original message of the station is now somewhat lost among reruns of Jersey Shore and Teen Mom, we don’t think that we’ll ever forget what MTV represents and the impact it made on our generation.
It’s the network that brought 20-somethings the news they really cared about — like breaking reports on the death of Kurt Cobain and live coverage from Live Aid — and revolutionized the music industry by turning music videos into an art form and exposing small bands to a nationwide captive audience. In turn, the programming on MTV was more than just a little bit stylish, and people everywhere turned to the artists and the VJs they watched every day for hints about what was trendy and en vogue.
In honor of MTV’s 30th birthday, we’ve rounded up the most stylish of the station’s personalities (known to most as the “VJs”) whose killer style and signature looks resonated with America just as much as any new Madonna music video. Here’s wishing you 30 more successful years!
PS: As an added bonus, check out this retro promo clip for Cindy Crawford’s House of Style!
Happy 30th birthday, MTV! Let us count the ways in which you changed the world of style...
Martha Quinn: 1981-1991
One of MTV's original VJs, this girl-next-door dressed her petite frame in an eclectic mix of floral dresses, rock tees, leggings and bold patterns -- all topped off with a quirky haircut.
Nina Blackwood: 1981-1986
The network's original rocker babe, Nina Blackwood sported some crazy '80s-metal band hair, leather aplenty, retro scarves and black fishnets paired with combat boots. Trends that don't sound too different from those we're wearing now, right?
"Downtown" Julie Brown: Late '80s
The perfect mix of '80s flair and urban hip-hop, this British transplant wasn't afraid to take a risk, which resulted in some cray cray outfits. She even had her own catch phrase: "wubba wubba!"
Julie Brown: 1989-1992
This fiery-haired comedienne hosted her own music video show called Just Say Julie, and her funky outfits were just as smile-inducing as her comedy routines.
Cindy Crawford: 1989
A supermodel hosting a show about the fashion industry called House of Style? Brilliant! I'll take this over The City any day. Sorry, Whit.
As the host of Alternative Nation in the early '90s, Kennedy had that mix of Seattle grunge and Cher Horowitz-esque "Valley Girl" down perfectly. She and Tavi should probably be BFFs.
Jesse Camp: 1998-2000
The winner of the 1998 'Wanna Be a VJ' contest can't quite decide if he wants to channel Jim Morrison, Steven Tyler or Britney Spears in his sartorial choices, but that's precisely what makes him amazing!
Alexa Chung: 2009
Her show It's On with Alexa Chung was short lived, but her adorable look inspired thousands of girls around the country, brought little known designers like Vena Cava and Rachel Antonoff to the forefront and helped skyrocket her to international style stardom.