Is modern fashion ugly?
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Esquire published a piece on their website last week, questioning the sanity of the fashion world in regards to recent trends. “Until recently, if someone said you looked like a joke, you’d be rather indignant. Yet today that may well be a compliment.”
Asking if fashion is ugly and has gone too far is a complex question. Just like the many definitions of beauty, there are many more definitions of what is considered to be “ugly”.
Modern fashion is about self-expression and wearing whatever you want to. For so many years, women’s fashion has revolved around accentuating certain body parts in order to catch a mans attention. Modern fashion has become a direct counterpart to this male gaze that for so long was a dominant force in the fashion industry.
A trailblazer for the 'ugly' dressing movement was Leandra Medine. Medine launched her blog Man Repeller in 2010 with the exact premise that we’re talking about, she found clothes that did the opposite of attracting men - they repelled them. In an interview, she said: "Good fashion is about pleasing women, not men, so as it happens, the trends that we love, men hate. And that is fantastic.”
Where man-repelling style was once a niche trend favoured by the bravest of style aficionados, in 2018 it has more than filtered into the mainstream, it has exploded.
First, we had “granny” shoes at Gucci, small block heels in garish colours and embroidered with florals that only your grandma could love, then came the equally “granny” handbags, small top handle bags that took inspiration from the queens classic Launer handbags she’s never seen without.
The ‘ugly’ invasion started off small, it was these small touches that developed into socks with sandals, mom jeans that covered every trace of shape in your lower body, huge oversized shirts and most recently...the dad trainers made famous by Balenciaga.
These styles are being adopted by the fashion elite, with models such as Bella Hadid often choosing a chunky trainer over a slinky stiletto.
I believe that modern fashion is far from ugly, it’s a movement. It’s women reclaiming their identity through clothes and showing the world that they’re worth so much more than a short skirt and a huge pair of heels (not that there’s anything wrong with wearing these things - fashion is all about choice.)
Fashion is about making yourself feel good, with no care about who’s watching. So pull up your socks, put on your grandad trainers and grab your top handle bag because in 2018 there are no rules.