A tragically-short lived subculture of the 80s and early 90s, which only had a significant impact in New York and London. It was a contemporary of the then-fledgling punk movment in these cites, both of which emerged from the Glam Rock of the late 70s (New York Dolls, David Bowie, T. Rex).
While the music style of the glam rockers evolved under the punks, their iconic style and philosophy of glamor and fashion, which they developed as a reaction to the earlier hippie movment, flourished under the club kids.
Fueled by club drugs such as Special K and Ecstasy, they dressed themselves in fabulously ornate costumes and went to clubs, hence the name. In New York, club owner Peter Gatien provided the venues of choice, such as the clubs Tunnel and Limelight. Michale Alig, a promoter of Gatien's, organized the hedonistic, drug-fueled, otherworldy parties that created such club kid icons as James St. James, Amanda Lepore, Kenny Kenny, Richie Rich, and Astro Earle.
The journalist Michael Musto for the Vilage Voice and Details magazine thoroughly documented the club kid's exploits up until Michael Alig was arrested for the murder of his dealer, Angel Melendez, and Gatien was arrested for the drug supermarket his clubs had become, effectively ending the movement.
James St. James described the world of the club kids in his book, Disco Bloodbath, which ultimately was made into the movie Party Monster.
While the church in which Limelight once was is now the nightclub Avalon, and Suzanne Bartsch (another 80s party icon) and Kenny Kenny still hold parties at Happy Valley, and Richie Rich has started his own clothing brand Heatherette with Trevor Raines, and Amanda Lepore is still just as revered in New York nightlife as always, the club kids are a dead subculture.
The Club Kids would throw "Outlaw Parties" in public venues, including subway stations and a McDonalds in Times Square, whose defining feature was the arrival of the police.