WTF — What the Fashion?

We aren’t even half way through 2017 and some of the worst fashions have descended upon us this year. On the good side, these fashion disasters are the only news stories that can even begin to compete with the Trump presidency:

“She’s a Goddess”. I am not a blindly supportive fan of Rei Kawakubo – the designer being honoured by the Met this year. She is an artist and pushes the boundaries of what is fashion, but she has a lot of bad ideas amongst the good – no designer can hit a home run every time. However, she also opens the door to less talented designers who think its cool to be irreverent and that ugly is the new black. Throwing paint at a canvas doesn’t make you an artist – you have to know what you are doing.

The effeminization of male attire. I can see there is a sartorial renaissance underway, but every time this happens and men start wearing pocket squares and colours other than navy blue, stupid stuff happens too. The last time this occurred was in the late 1960s-early 1970s with the peacock revolution — colourful print shirts and velvet jackets were great, but mini skirts and his & her velour jumpsuits sucked. This time it’s onesies and lacey shorts that are going to take the progressive men’s fashion movement down…

Poverty Chic. It’s actually offensive to see dirty clothes being sold as chic attire. What’s worse is that these aren’t being sold ironically, as a political statement about the declining standard of living, or with a cause – with a portion of all sales going to clothe the needy. These are overpriced brand new jeans being worn by trust fund millenials and dot com X-genrs to show how rich they are – like the French aristocracy of the 18th century that decorated their wigs with marzipan fruits and cakes during a famine.

Honourable mentions include: over-designed athleisure, camo-anything (that is so 5 years ago), attempts to restart a jean generation with novel ideas…, and anything Ivanka.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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3 Responses to WTF — What the Fashion?

  1. What about in the ’90s/early ’00s when there were lots of colourful and quite florid men’s clothes around – I had Moto/Top Man jeans in several colours, and a white cotton shirt with lacy stripes and pink rosebud print (actually, it was MUCH nicer than it sounds, I loved that shirt so much and wore it for over 12 years, and after I donated it to a local charity shop last year, I bought it back a couple of weeks later cos I had so many good memories tied up in it)

    My pet peeve is along the same lines as the pre-dirtied clothes – I LOATHE pre-distressed/destroyed denim fashions, I think it is absolutely frocking imbeculous to just go out and buy jeans that have had gigantic bits carefully cut out of them or are really obviously pre-ripped, and not even in a really complex, elaborate way, like some of the ’90s Vivienne Westwood Cut-Slash-and-Pull denim stuff. All it says to me is that the au pair wouldn’t allow you to use scissors as a kid and you haven’t the faintest clue what to do with them let alone any connection between them and updating your old unwanted jeans.

    There is none of the honesty and authenticity you get from clothes that have genuinely been worn again and again, and have achieved their appearance organically, it’s just fake, fake, fake, fake.

    • To be fair. I have seen some very nicely done distressed denim stuff though, there was a House of Holland collection a few years ago with really embellished denim where the distressing/cutting of the fabric was mixed in with floral appliques so that it all became part of the overall texture. But that was thoughtful stuff, with a vision, and it worked.

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