Forbes India – Fashion: How ‘ugly’ Became The Coveted Fashion Aesthetic

Anything that has long been considered kitschy, tacky, vulgar, or antiquated has apparently been made beautiful and desirable by the magic wand of the so-called ruling classes. (Image: eversummerphoto / Shutterstock photography)

IIn what feels like a click of the fingers – or, at least, a pandemic year – all the bad things have suddenly become even more desirable than the really good ones. To put it another way: the clothes, accessories and shoes that were once popular with those who despised the fashion world have now become chic when worn by the great and good of this world, in turn taking these pieces to new heights of fashion. . Anna Wintour, for example, made a big impact when she was photographed wearing jogging pants in her plush library, elevating a garment popularized by athletes and then appropriated by the street, to fashion star status. Sweatpants became “THE” must-have piece of 2021. Previously associated with a more street hooligan and low-rise style, sweatpants now suddenly sported the logos of the world’s biggest luxury fashion houses.

From fashion scraps to catwalk stars

Collaborations that combine luxury with ugliness have continued to multiply, pushing pieces that were once frowned upon to ever higher levels. The bucket hat? Has been! Crocs? You couldn’t be cooler! Sleeveless down jackets? Surely a step too far? After so many years of criticism, the codes of the masses – real, anonymous, out of fashion people – have (finally) entered the social elevator, taking them directly to the catwalks of Fashion Week. Christopher Kane and Balenciaga are some of the fashion houses that have “dared” to collaborate with Crocs, making rubber clogs instantly more desirable, as Justin Bieber showed when he dared to wear them with socks. And the clog-sock combo also shone on the runways this year. Maybe those fashion fanatics had something in mind after all …
Anything that has long been considered kitschy, tacky, vulgar, or antiquated has apparently been made beautiful and desirable by the magic wand of the so-called ruling classes. “This can be explained by the fact that a certain chic has become extremely mainstream. This is the basis of” La Distinction “by Pierre Bourdieu, who explains that the day the masses have access to the codes of the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie will reject these codes and will also do the exact opposite “, explained Alice Pfeiffer, last May, on the occasion of the release of her book ‘Le goût du moche’ [A taste for the ugly]. Just like Crocs, the bucket hat has been invited into the collections of luxury fashion houses, along with the sleeveless down jacket, dad shoes, bling jewelry and other pieces previously attributed to the working class, to the street.

Vulgar in vogue

The phenomenon has grown over the course of the year to the point that these once considered ugly pieces have slowly but surely become attractive – or at least desirable – in the collective imagination. It’s no longer shameful to crave the latest Crocs collection or jelly shoes, the latest cycling shorts, or even a bucket hat. Nor is there anything shameful in spending hours outside a Lidl store waiting for the last drop of sneakers, or Christmas sweaters, let alone wearing them. Who would have thought that? The low-cost retailer has also become highly desirable, and whether it is marketing or not, the idea that Lidl’s fashion collections are selling like hot cakes proves that the rules of the road have now risen to the top of the line. ladder.
The late Virgil Abloh is among those who have helped push these codes of the non-cool on the luxury scene through a series of collaborations, taking names from Ikea to Nike, from Levi’s to Champion. Then there’s Balenciaga, a fashion house known for its non-conformism, which designed a parka halfway between the construction worker jacket and the garbage man’s suit, as evidenced by many comments on social media. And all for the modest sum of 2,990 euros.

It is very different from the 2008 road safety campaign “It’s yellow, it’s ugly, it doesn’t match anything, but it can save your life” with Karl Lagerfeld. But times have changed and the cyclical fashion system has shifted to something else, giving a new dimension to clothes: less aesthetic, more functional and, above all, more focused on self-expression and affirmation.

But more than anything else, these are people who were once scorned and derided: the losers, the unfashionable of this world. And they can go out loud and proud in the knowledge that their style is now more fashionable than ever. They can promote and reaffirm their codes: the codes of the road and popular culture. From hoodrats to Beach Lotharios, rednecks and suburban dads, it’s a whole counterculture that’s now giving style lessons to the elite.

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