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When fashion goes mainstream

October 4, 2010

I know nothing about fashion. I – like most people – know why combinations of clothes work and others don’t, even if we don’t know why.

What’s disturbing me is that every now and again a fashion trend emerges which is embraced by a section of society to such an extent that the look is copied ad infinitum and refined within an inch of it’s life. And when that happens the impact the original fashion statement had is lost.

The ‘hoodie’ look acquired that status a few years ago, moving from gangland wannabes to late shaven headed twenty-something men (and women) who saw ‘cool’ oozing from the streets.

Burberry went the other way, going from ‘acceptable’ upper class / middle class aspiration to working class, embraced by Essex boys and incorporated into as many difficult fashion accessories as possible.

The preppy look not only became popular but went mainstream to such an extent that clothes shops started selling v-neck jumpers with a thin cotton lining uniformly poking out from underneath the seam, guaranteeing the look for all who wanted to achieve it.

Mass-produced fashion quickly becomes uniform. We all strive for the look because we reckon we’ll feel good. Yet applying it ourselves chips away at our individuality, bit by bit.

Maybe it’s that last bit which is what fuels my irritation. Now, as I wait for my train home, I’m reminded of another look young men seem desperate to emulate.

It’s the psuedo retro 80s look complete with spikey hair, drainpipe jeans and pixie boots. Important as the gripped-around-the-ankle look is (to show off the expensive trainers presumably), an elasticated band now appears to come as standard on the vital jeans. A hideous nightmare concoction of leg warmer and skinny jeans, finished off with sprite-like boots. Unlike other desperate throwbacks, this one didn’t look good first time around. God only knows why it’s come back now.

Yes, I know I’m being a complete bitch. But really, I wouldn’t feel comfortable being such a bitch if I hadn’t seen so many blokes around London sporting the same image, fooling themselves they were making a statement.

God only knows what I would have been like if I’d been a parent.


From → Life & Society

  1. Karen Redman permalink

    If you were a parent – and let’s face it, it’s not completely outside the bounds of possibility … you pray to have a son like mine who doesn’t take any notice at all of designer labels & from a very young age is resolute on wearing his “own” style. He has a teeshirt that remains my firm favourite. It says, “You laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at you because you’re all the same”. If only other yoofs would realise how daft they actually look by being “non-conforming comformists”. Good blog, Jon. x

    • Individuality comes from strength of character, rare when young. How do we go about promoting that kind of strength of character? I’m not sure.

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