Dystopia-core: what is the new pandemic-era punk look? | Fashion

Tired of sweatpants? A new fashion trend that replaces elastic waistbands with more rigid and utilitarian garments could be for you.

Taking inspiration from dark cinematic fantasies like The Matrix Resurrections and Dune, the “core of dystopia” comes as we approach the third year of pandemic life.

Dystopia-core, which is in direct opposition to “dressing on dopamine” – wearing overtly fun clothes to help lift your mood – can be seen as the next step in the grunge and goth revival.

“Fashion statements often have an element of challenge. In this particular case the challenge is the darkness and the dystopian aspect, “says trend forecaster Geraldine Wharry.” The idea that optimism is not beautiful and does not reflect our present times, similar to what they represented punks in the ’70s. “

Ready to wear summer 2022, New York, USA, Khaite - September 12, 2021
A model wears an outfit from the Khaite summer 2022 ready-to-wear collection. Photo: Khaite / PixelFormula / Sipa / Rex / Shutterstock

The items that have come to define the trend – long leather jackets and cargo pants – have both seen a surge in popularity. Online searches for the former increased 117% between the third and fourth quarters of last year, while searches for cargo pants increased by 45% year over year, according to Jewelerybox.co.uk.

Dystopia-core can also be seen on TikTok, where the DIY trend of draping thin clothes over each other to create an edgy, futuristic look is gaining in popularity. Dubbed “avant apocalypse”, the hashtag has more than 265,000 views on the social media app.

“People have stopped the rather passive onesie / pajama trend of staying home, working from home in comfortable clothes and realizing they need to be more active and go out – and to do that, you need to wear something more functional, more durable and more classy, ​​”says Nick Groom, the author of The Vampire: A New History.

Hailey Bieber
Hailey Bieber who embodies the look. Photography: Broadimage / Rex / Shutterstock

It is, says fashion professor Zara Anishanslin, a reaction to the current post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

“The experience of going through a pandemic is a bit like going through a war: both are traumatizing collective experiences, both have people fighting on the ‘front line’, both cause an agonizing number of deaths,” he says. “Given these similarities it makes sense that fashion originally popularized by military use will see a renaissance.”

Francesca Granata of the Parsons School of Design sees these dresses as a kind of armor against the hostile outside world. “Over the past couple of years we have been constantly thinking about protecting ourselves from external pathogens, so it’s not hard to see how clothes can function, at least symbolically, as an extension of this shield we’ve created around us,” he says. .

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in Matrix Resurrections
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in Matrix Resurrections. Photograph: Album / Alamy

“One reply to [the pandemic] is trying to develop a lasting, autonomous and sustainable image, “says Groom,” not obscuring it with fringes, scarves and tassels, but making the human form elegant and sharply defined. “The largely black and menacing clothes worn by the new couple Kanye West and Julia Fox – all made by Balenciaga – talk about this look.

In addition to Balenciaga, fashion labels like Khaite and A-Cold-Wall * are articulating these emotional states.

“The idea of ​​protection is now a little more universal in luxury, contemporary and streetwear now, for sure,” says Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall *, who tackles dystopia-core in his fall / winter collection 2022 in Milan this week.

“We played it a bit more in terms of length I would say and overall volume,” he says. “We’ve always had a utilitarian point of view, but this season we wanted to add a more ‘on the nose’ look, so we used mottled, hand painted and baked canvas and twill to convey a feeling [to that]. “

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