Derelict Fashion

  • Fashion
    Derelict Fashion

Source: Illustration by Serena Cowie

Hazardous materials, re-purposed industrial waste and the destitute clothes off a homeless person’s back are all fashion trends we laughed at during the 2001 cult film Zoolander. But the eccentric statements circulating throughout the 2018 fashion scene are uncannily reminiscent of this comedy blockbuster. After nearly 17 years, did fictional fashion egomaniac ‘Mugatu' get it right? Is fashion today derelict?

Matty Bovan would have to agree. His daring destroyed hems, splashes of bio-hazardous florescent green and plumes of netting distinctly embody a derelict-chic aesthetic. The only point of difference is where Mugatu took from the streets, Bovan has rummaged through the piles of unwanted clothes at the salvation army.

Bovan’s clothes are revolutionary because of the striking way he synthesises garments associated with high fashion, such as the very British tweed jacket, with modern and dynamic materials including cotton-blend sportswear. Symbols of the old are conflated with statements of the new, forming a style that satirically fuses all aspects of British fashion. 

Bovan has not been the only designer to play on this unique aesthetic. A multitude of labels such as Vetements, Prada, Richard Quinn, Calvin Klein by Raf Simons and even Alessandro Michele’s renown Gucci could assimilate seamlessly into the dystopian Zoolander world. But there are more to these clothes than an alternative, somewhat confronting form of inspiration. 

Calvin Klein’s fall 2018 show juxtaposed utilitarian work-wear, such as brawny fire-man jackets with high-vis trimmings, with luxurious leopard print coats and matronly maxi-skirts. The stereotypical style of each individual class demographic has been shaken up into one homogenous look. 

In addition of the theatrical sea of popcorn that enveloped the runway, the glamorisation of the working class might be viewed as a somewhat patronising statement - it turns the casual clothes of the working class into an expensive novelty. It’s as if the rich and famous have run out of trends so they emulate the proletariat. 

However, I don’t think it’s a classist attempt to mock the majority, but rather encourages everyone to be apart of the trend. Sure, it won’t have the brand name (or the price tag), but your local op-shop, high street store or in Calvin Klien’s case Hard Yakka workwear will likely provide alternatives. 

But more to the point, most of these clothes are blatantly comfortable. They do the job of covering our bodies without the unnecessary restrictions of a nagging strap or a corset-detailed t-shirt. The recurrent theme within this trend, besides freaky knitted balaclavas, is optimum comfort. It’s care-free fashion that still looks good. 

Of course, most of these clothes aren’t nearly as extreme as it’s comical equivalent and don’t in any way mock the marginalised, but rather glamourise themes and motifs from everyday life. Oversized coats paired with a relaxed, cotton maxi dress might seem a little weird now, but it probably makes more sense than obsolete detached sleeves or high-waisted skinny jeans. 

It instils a unique creativity that invigorates otherwise neglected and destitute materials. Architectural plume skirts, neon plastic tops and hyper-realistic latex severed heads reaffirm the artistic integrity of fashion. The future of fashion has finally arrived. We should all look forward to Gucci’s next fashion show being held in a waste facility. 


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