Fashion! We’re the Goon Squad


Posted by in August's Magazine

A lecturer, whilst addressing the room, once told us that “when clothes appear in Topshop they are no longer cutting edge fashion.” This, for the lack of a more intelligent statement, made me sad. Try as we might, the lowly consumer will normally be at the tail end of what is considered fashionable. Are the fashion gods looking down at the majority of us as we go about our business and laughing at our ineptitude? If they are, should we care?

Fashionable, is, by definition, characteristic of, influenced by, or representing a current popular style. After years of subscribing to Vogue and trying to keep up with whatever new embellishment designers have decided to add to a blazer this season, I have made up my mind that if being fashionable means decking yourself out in unsuitable colours and clothes, then fashion be gone.

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Much of my money and time has been spent on the pastime that is called fashion. I really should have learned to think for myself earlier. When first entering the world of lady face paint I was gifted a lipstick in a lovely shade of pink by a family friend. Being naive about the ways of fashion, I was devastated when a contemporary provided this fashion insight while we dressed up for a Friday night watching our favourite pre-teen television shows: “That lipstick colour really suits you, it’s a shame it’s not in fashion.” The light bulb should have switched on over my head, but I wouldn’t have allowed something like that to mark me out from the crowd. So I unwisely toyed around with what was fashionable at the time, hues of dark brown lip colour – which on the chroma scale lends a banana tone to my skin (much to my current embarrassment when looking through photographs from my youth). This lasted until my innate style sensibilities developed of course, which, as this article points out, unfortunately took a bit longer than I would have liked.

Despite the fact that nobody dresses according to the season anymore – wearing denim shorts throughout the year but varying the denier of the tights worn underneath – stores seem to have new stock every week. Imagine being a clothes designer and having to come up with new styles endlessly.

Actually that would be great, but the idea of there being such a need is what is interesting. While having to come up with and market new styles (most likely every week) could be both a trial and exciting, in order to be considered fashionable buying the result has become something of a need, the whole cycle working unsurprisingly around money. I have enough problems with money (money problems) without letting it dictate even more aspects of something so close to my soul as what I choose to wear.

Bill Hicks inspired
Now the fun part: ragging on a recent trend! In this age of daylong fashion fads it has become a chore to keep up. The geek chic trend has persisted a little and continues to bemuse me; the latest form (latest meaning it’s been in the shops for a good few months now so it’s probably time to retire these garments to nightwear, if you’re bothered by things like that, and buying a sweatshirt with a photo of a grumpy looking cat on it) is the “geek” t-shirt (or dork, nerd, dweeb). You no longer even have to wear the prescription Buddy Holly specs to lay claim to this trend, you can just have the word emblazoned across your chest.

Admittedly, when I first saw these t-shirts around I thought they might have something to do with taking a stand against bullying. There was a time, before the manic pixie dream girl, before Google became an extremely cool place to work, before all of this, when geek, dweeb and nerd were properly pejorative. When at school, these were the words thrown at those in the lower ebbs of the schoolyard hierarchy.

It would have been great if all these geek t-shirt wearers were actually saying, “Hey, bullies, we’re all a little bit dork/geek/nerd, so go pick on yourself instead until you’ve dealt with all your issues!” But alas I fear this is not the case and stronger, meaner methods and words have developed for bullying since my knee grazing days of childhood.

Regardless, the idea of having to put something new on a t-shirt in order to sell it will continue. It would be better for everyone if each of us were comfortable purchasing what we felt good in and suited not only our bodies but also our personalities, than buying into something just because it’s there and someone declares it as now being ‘the thing’. Though if someone made a Bill Hicks inspired ‘reader’ T-shirt I’d immediately hand over some cash.

Twitter: @reddotbluedot

9 responses to “Fashion! We’re the Goon Squad”

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