So I have a working theory now: fashion is experiencing something like the “long tail” effect that is happening in other art forms — increasing segmentation. So instead of propagating through the culture as a whole, fashion trends are more likely to appear as either an entirely new sub-genre (such as steampunk) or within an existing sub-genre (as in “all the goths are suddenly wearing wings this year.”)
In that model, the persistance of the ugliest fashion trend ever makes more sense — it’s not a trend that inexplicably refuses to die, it’s a sub-genre, like punk or something.
Thanks to those of you who contributed earlier.
Mitch already said what I was going to say–I guess I took too long trying to formulate my thoughts.
I disagree about fashion hanging in stasis. In the nineties and through the first four or five years of the double-aughts, we were getting desperate attempts to recycle the sixties, seventies, and eighties, but what I’ve seen in the past half of this decade has been pretty new.
Girls especially began wearing a bizarre combination of tall furry boots, short skirts, tight leggings, T-shirts or comfy closely-fitting blouses, and patterned hoodies. It looks like post-apocalyptic chic, and every time I see another nerd rip on it, I wonder why the hell they can’t look past the hair highlights and fake tan and see how totally Tank Girl those outfits are.
It also looks to me like mainstream fashion is steadily becoming more of a mirror for those same segmented trends–it’s just not going to let them on the front of Vogue without some Barbie-ifying. Imagine those same outfits in black and grey with skulls on them, the gold hoop earrings made silver, the highlights in their hair blue or purple instead of blonde; goths could wear them. I hated the rehashed past decades look of the nineties, but I like this. They’ve successfully suckered me in.
Imagine those same outfits in black and grey with skulls on them, the gold hoop earrings made silver, the highlights in their hair blue or purple instead of blonde; goths could wear them.
Well, there certainly is a goth influence on fashion these days. Look at the Hallowe’en fashions where black comes into vogue.
I even remember a few years back seeing a “Vampire” shirt going for triple a triple figure sum, and remembering that I had gotten my shirts for a tenth of the price through mail order. Go figure.
Alternate theory: since you and Mitch are both, like, 12 years old, you perceive changes in recent fashion as more significant because you are closer to it. So you can say “furry boots!” and I can say “what? Uggs were passe three years ago!” and then you can say “but these are different furry boots!” Or whatever.
Alternate alternate theory: I’m an old fart and old farts hate everything.
GET OFF MY LAWN!
I am with, and will remain in company of the Julie here. this last weekend was a severe exercise in resisting, “come here a little closer so I can slap the stupid out of you.”
I think you need to distinguish between people who wear something because it is the ‘fashion’ and people who wear what they do because it is what works in their lives. Case in point: “grunge” which is what I wore in High School because it worked for me, that is, was comfortable and serviceable. It became “fashion” when Pearl Jam & Nirvana hit the mainstream. Before that it was just what people on the Peninsula wore…
We saw a steampunk kid shopping for tomatoes in the supermarket the other day and were quite charmed. He had goggles and jodhpurs and earflaps and black eyemakeup and everything.
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