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Is trashy luxury fashion a new trend?

Yeezy x Gap in-store activation. Picture: Twitter

Yeezy x Gap in-store activation. Picture: Twitter

Published Jul 31, 2022


When Balenciaga showcased their Fall 2022 Couture collection during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, many were left stunned and confused by what the luxury design house considered to be couture.

From the skintight dresses made of rubber scuba gear fabric to the distressed faded denim suits, parts of the collection were a far cry from the delicate fabrics, sequin-embellished gowns and the impeccable embroidery work we’re accustomed to when it comes to couture.

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However, this isn’t anything new for Balenciaga. Their creative director, Demna Gvasalia, has been pushing the boundaries of fashion to a point where we no longer know whether what he’s designing is meant to be ugly or cool. Or cool because it is ugly.

Whichever way you look at it, judging by his huge following and diehard fans, who include megastars like Kim Kardashian and her ex-husband Kanye West, he’s clearly doing something right.

Gvasalia is the king of fugly fashion. The fashion you really want to hate because it’s so bad but end up becoming a slave to trend.

Crocs aside, that is.

Having said that, Balenciaga has in fact collaborated with Crocs many times and given the world everything from grotesquely chunky to high-heeled Crocs.

While what one would consider ugly is a matter of personal taste, one can surely tell the difference between what looks like trash and what doesn’t.

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In May Balenciaga released a collection of sneakers that looked like they were dug out of a trash heap and then soiled even more.

Balenciaga’s latest footwear collection. Picture: Twitter

The sneakers that resembled classic Converse sneakers that have gone to war and back caused a stir on social media, especially since they carried a hefty price tag.

People questioned why anyone would even consider paying R10 000 for shoes that look like they should be burnt.

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While Gvasalia might be the one designer who is driving this trend right now, his biggest fan, Kanye West, started it way back in 2011, when the musician released his first Yeezy fashion collection at Paris Fashion Week.

The collection consisted of a combination of oversized, shapeless pieces as well as second-skin leggings and tops. All in muted neutral tones ranging from peachy nudes to muddy browns. That was the basis of what became a Yeezy trend that, season after season, morphed into post-apocalyptic-inspired attire.

Models present creations at Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 Collection. Picture: Reuters Andrew Kelly

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Even his models looked like the walking dead.

Ye, as he is now known, has recently collaborated with Gvasalia on a Yeezy Gap collection.

Of course, the collection, which includes what looks like your average jeans, T-shirts, sweatpants and hoodies, is in true Ye and Gvasalia style anything but average.

Even the way the items are on display and sold at the Gap store reflects the ongoing theme of fashion being treated like trash.

Eager shoppers had to work through piles of designer jeans and hoodies that resembled a clothing rummage sale.

Yeezy x Gap in-store activation. Picture: Twitter

Why would one pay designer prices for a garment that has been crumpled and presented in a black bag?