By Molly Fitzpatrick
You know when something’s so wrong yet so right, like McDonalds chips dipped in ice cream, or Pierce Brosnan singing ABBA’s ‘S.O.S’ in Mamma Mia, or the Balenciaga and Crocs collaboration? Sometimes things that should be so wrong just work.
This is how I feel about ugly fashion, it shouldn’t work, but it just does. Chunky dad trainers? Send them my way. Fanny packs straight out of the eighties? I’ll take one in every colour. Puffer Jackets so large they make you look like a Polly Pocket? I simply must have one. Aesthetically pleasing clothes be damned, ugly is in, and there’s no escaping it.
2018 was the year we saw the ugly trainer hit peak, with many thanks to Balenciaga. At first glance Balenciaga’s Triple S trainers look absolutely ridiculous, in fact they look just like something your dad would have worn in the eighties. But these chunky trailblazers caused a ruckus in the fashion world, going viral and becoming the must – have for celebrities, influencers and fashionistas.
These Balenciagas became like gold dust soon after they launched. To the delight of many whose bank accounts couldn’t quite justify spending €695 on really ugly looking runners, their popularity lead to numerous high – street dupes and were soon sprawled across Instagram. The unsightly silhouette of the dad trainer is now considered as fashion as Anna Wintour herself, and is perhaps what really propelled mainstream fashion in the direction of ugly.
The transparent trend was another ugly fashion that left us all a little confused, but nonetheless the fashion world ate it up. On Chanel’s SS18 catwalk we saw clear plastic brimmed hats and knee – high boots which they made look elegant, chic, and dare I say, beautiful? For me this trend was short lived, soon realising life in plastic is not fantastic but actually quite uncomfortable. Also, no, I don’t really want everyone to be able to see my tampons and hoard of receipts I have at the end of my transparent PVC bag.
The most recent of the ugly trends is the oversized puffer jacket, and I don’t just mean one size up. These things are huge, comically so. But the bigger the better, and yes it may look like you love your bed so much you made your duvet into a coat and yes, every step may be laborious with the weight of that thing but its so fashun, and I’m on board with anything that cosy.
We couldn’t talk about ugly fashion without mentioning Crocs, I thought these words would never pass my lips and I’m sure many are still in denial, but Crocs are fashionable. The brand Crocs experienced a major comeback thanks to the ugly fashion popularity, with sales increasing majorly and Balenciaga creating the platform Croc which retailed for a whopping €650 and sold out almost instantly when they first launched. The ultimate ugly shoe has become the ultimate cool shoe in the fashion world.
This ugly trend perhaps will confuse the not so fashion forward onlookers, and certainly won’t encourage wolf – whistles (amen for that!) but there’s an attitude one radiates when they don their bejewelled Crocs or socks and Birkenstocks, it screams confidence. It’s a rebellion, a f*** you to what’s meant to look good, it’s proof that there are no rules when it comes to style.
So, whether you love it or loath it, the fashion world is appreciating ugly like it does beautiful, and it’s going nowhere. Bid farewell to all things flirty and feminine, throw on your Crocs, bucket hat and bicycle shorts (well maybe not all at once) and wear them with pride. You may even feel… empowered or something?