Revival of 'ugly' trends

Molly Macnamara explores the growing designer interest in the revival of the fashion trend blacklist

24th October 2016

As this season’s Fashion Weeks surpass us we are left with the sweet aftertaste of fresh trends and subliminal streams of new designers emerging from behind the curtains. However, it’s not all bright young things and photographic flashes- this year, there has been a multitude of ‘niche’ trends revisiting the catwalks of London. In particular, Christopher Kane divided opinion with a move no one saw coming. Whilst perfectly capturing the whole ‘pretty with a smidge of edge’ aesthetic on his catwalk, he raised the metaphorical bar and adorned his models with the so-called ultimate ‘ugly’ shoe, Crocs, promoting a sea of backlash and comments.

Christopher Kane, AW16 LFW

Instagram @christopherkane, Christopher Kane, AW16 LFW

Vogue recently did a poll in which the results demonstrated that 70% of readers would not wear Crocs. Despite this the predominant question on my mind is would the fashion forward wear Christopher Kane Crocs? Who doesn’t want to be part of his quirky, cool brand even if a shoe that squashes femininity so far into the catwalk it ceases to exist is swallowing your feet? Kane exercises his natural skill by transforming this clinical everyday shoe into futuristic rock-embellished slip-ons. This ‘ugly-turned-fashionable’ revolution causes me to beg the question, what is style?

Why is it that crocs, shoes that were once your childhood cast-offs, are now not just an acceptable commodity, but a fashionable one as well? Pool sliders followed the same rise to fame, before Cristopher Kane sent an army of models down the runway wearing interesting yet simplistic metallic sliders. These shoes were mere plastic, which only graced the feet of middle-aged men who had nothing better to do then tend to their pools while a barbecue sizzled in the corner. Surely middle-aged men wearing sliders isn’t stylish?



Another designer who was most likely prepared for a fashion tongue-lashing was our beloved Brit Henry Holland. His models exploded onto the runway covered in head to toe gingham. This fabric has surely only featured in the wildest of rodeos dreams. I definitely won’t be donning an outburst of pastel gingham for my next supermarket drop-in. So why are we so set on classifying these obscure trends as stylistic expression, and why is that as soon as a designer promotes something ‘ugly’ as cool it will undoubtedly become a trend?

Image:, Henry Holland

Image:, Henry Holland

Maybe this says more about us as slaves to fashion, rather than the taste of the designer, who intentionally provokes his followers into redefining style. We will still consider wearing the ugliest shoes on the planet if it is considered a trend regardless of how stylish it is. The definition of style is a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed. Yet most fashion followers would argue that there are no set principles, and that the likes of Christopher Kane and Henry Holland don’t follow the rules and create great fashion as a result. They twist the obviously ugly until it becomes acceptable as fashion by us- mere mortals.

All of these examples have shown me that really anything is acceptable, there is no ‘ugly’ when there are trends, style is wearing whatever you want and just simply owning it!

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