VIEWPOINT: The Surprising Rise of Ugly Fashion
From overpriced puffers to platform Crocs, Louise Heller takes a look at some of the most unusual social media trends in 2018.
According to Wikipedia, a trend called Normcore or "Hardcore Normal" began in 2014 by a trendcasting group called K-hole which took the unisex aspects of fashion and in-turn celebrated the 'special' in 'nothing special'.
'Ugly Fashion' - a recent follow-on from this has filtered down. In layman terms, this means the uglier these "normal" fashion statements are, the more people want to covert them.
Words to describe Normcore possibly include: Orthopaedic, Colleen Meets Gordon? Or Clunky meets Couture? Whatever the case, it is a flashback to the Nineties when Mums and Dads wore bad denim, and in turn - equally bad sneakers.
While Fashion or “Far-sharn” is definitely subjective, 2018 has delivered a succession of perplexing looks.
The Chunky Sneaker
I’ve seen you Chunky Sneakers, I’ve tried to like you, I’ve even tried to emulate you to pretend that I like you because I work in fashion. I’ve had to succumb to the realisation that I’m just not cool enough to pull you off.
What started out in the Normcore era as a slim-lined white Stan Smith sneaker, has progressed into a heavy-soled, bulky fabric outfit-stand-out.
These are for the fashion die-hards, the ones who can push the boundaries and I salute you. These are the essence of coolness in the age of social media and there is no sight of them dying away just yet.
Ill fitting Mom jeans
Worn by many millennials, mocked by Saturday Night Live and despised by children of the Eighties, Mom jeans have become a huge power-player in denim culture of today.
It's fairly difficult to wrap one’s head around this trend. They are wedgie-inducing and bum-expanding, so why would we want to wear something that says, “I’m not a woman, I’m a MOM” !?
Made of a heavy-set denim, pale in colour and worn with frumpy sports-sneakers (or *Sneans as we used to call the look in the Nineties), this surprising look is now converted by some of the hottest international models in their off-duty dressing.
Below: Bella Hadid looks sideways in her Mom Jeans
*Snean: The wearing of sneakers and jeans.
Millenials: Do you really want to dress like a Mum when you’re in your early 20’s: There are some great versions of these jeans available. If so, shop for a pair that fits you in the right places, and wear with a fitted top.
Above: Hello Mom jeans!
What a Croc
Have we hit pinnacle of ugliness with rise of the high-end Croc?
These ergonomic foam creations were originally designed in 2002 to alleviate discomfort and quickly became the shoe-dujour for nurses and chefs worldwide. So how has this “ugly” shoe managed to reign-supreme in the world of high-fashion? Have we become so numb to fashion that we need to expect the unexpected?
Shock value is key and the desire to stand out from the crowd is what sells fashion in the first place. When Balenciaga collaborated with Crocs in 2017, it took an every-day comfort shoe and transformed it into one of 2018’s hottest “it” shoes. It has almost become a badge of honour to turn one of fashions darkest moments into the heights of untouchable materialism.
Starting at $450, and up to $850 a pair - for the "bejazzelled" version, these meme-inducing shoes sold out in record time after launch.
The case of the Balenciaga Croc is succession, failure and irony all at once. The irony is that we are want to stand out, but 'standing out' is actually fitting in. Or are we simply fitting in with the crowd that's standing out. Exhausted much?
What will be next..... shoe-mops?
Above: Balenciaga Crocs, a cool $850 a pair.
The House of Windsor Headscarf
Yes. This is a thing. (Mic drop).
The Queen's most worn accessory has royally caught on.
As iconic as her corgi’s, the Queen’s life-long love of the headscarf is one to watch (with aghast). And as much as we love The Crown on Netflix, this is not the source we expected to get our fashion cues from.
Practical? Yes. Wearable in everyday life? Maybe.
Silk scarves have certainly become a winning fashion go-to piece. They're timeless, elegant and interesting and can be worn in a myriad of ways to uplift an outfit. So why has this accessory become so hot, when styled like Nana on a windy day?
Highlighted in a recent Stella McCartney fashion show, UK designer, Richard Quinn also took inspiration from her Royal Highness and hosted Queen Elizabeth in the front row watching as models paraded a extreme version of her signature look.
Giant Puffer Everything
Whilst researching this story, we didn’t have to look far to find some of the fashions biggest "WOW" moments!
With designers such as Balenciaga and Martin Margiela breathing new life into the puffer, this does come with caution. These are next level puffers and not to be worn on the rugby side-line without an expectation of being ridiculed by your peers.
Living in a colder climate we often deliberate over how much “arm-pit space" a puffer has to have to accooadate layers of jerseys underneath with ease. BUT with this trend, there's enough room for a small village under these.
Above: Who says looking like a human beetle is out of fashion?
Bike Shorts Worn As Pants
"Hey Kim, Bike Barn rang.. they'd like their shorts back".
Bike shorts are popping up all over Instagram; as worn on bloggers, paraded down fashion runways and gracing the bodies of It-girls.
It wasn't too long ago that we were throwing some serious shade towards MAMILS or Middle aged Men in Lycra for wearing these into the cafes in their packs. But have we become so lazy now, that active-wear means we literally do not need to shower after a spin class - we can simply throw on a top, heels, handbag and we're out for cocktails?
Resurrected in 2016 by Kanye West through his fashion label, Yeezy, bike shorts have been worn on every female Kardashian ever since.
A personal fashion crush and Vogue Australia's fashion director, Christine Centenera (pictured below) has released a pair onto her own wardrobeNYC.com. They're slick, smart and when worn in the right way with a longer slimline tee, and blazer seen on Christine below, you have yourself a winner. It also helps to have incredibly good pins.
Above: Psssst... "Kylie, you forgot your pants".
Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to what drives the fashion set. Trends come and go and today it seems the more extreme, the more social-media acceptable a trend is. It takes a sense of dare, or inner confidence, to be able to pull these UGLY looks off, because you have to have a sense of not giving a toss.
So where to next? With fashion being brought forward from the past, I say bring back kung-Fu shoes and bubble-gum jeans. Now there's an idea.. Stella? Martin? Hello. Anyone?
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