Fashion Goes Ugly

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In recent years, increasing of designers have designed some things that are unusual and abnormal; in other words, they have paid much attention on how to design “ugly” products. Gucci, Balenciaga as well as Vetements have used awkward proportions and downmarket fabrics to make the products’ look “ugly” and unmatched. What does “ugly” mean the for fashion industry? Mismatched colours and ungainly designs all indicate “ugly”. The designer Dries Van Noten said “nothing is so boring as something beautiful, I prefer ugly things, I prefer things which are surprising.” Increasing numbers of designers use colours that are normally not liked by customers. In 2014, there was a word, called “normcore”, appearing in fashion industry. The word was a kind of attitude, meaning flavourless, and nondescript clothing.

This is not just a recent phenomenon, “ugly” looks actually have appeared throughout history. Caca-dauphin, a colour of shade of brown was like the excrement of the infant prince Louis -Joseph, who was son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, became very popular for wealthy individuals in 18th century in France. Influential and wealthy individual wore the colour to demonstrate their fashionable tastes and support of the monarchy. Moreover, “ugly” look also raised in art history like painting around 1513. “An Old Woman”, but the painting is popularly known as “The Ugly Duchess”. Bayley said in the book, “the painting of the malformed lady is a hugely popular attraction at London’s National Gallery and one of its most popular postcards.”

Thus, “ugly” look could be one of cultures in human history. It could be the opposite of beauty. Humans could be tired of beauty norms and perfect colours and looks. “Ugly” apparel could be seemed a cool thing for individuals who are bored of perfect beauty. Miuccia Prada said in 2013, “the investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty, and why? Because ugly is human. It touches the bad and the dirty side of people.” For instance, when you see a guy, wearing a dad hat, a t-shirt with a flip phone graphic tucked into high-waisted, high-water black jeans, and some Raf Simons adidas Ozweegos, what do you think about the guy? It is the look of the contrast of the beauty. You would be surprised and feel cool about the look. However, different individuals have different views. A part of individuals may think the look is not preferred.

Therefore, sometimes individuals need something that is “ugly” to be surprised and impressive. Individuals need different feelings, which are not their usual and normal feelings in daily time, to be shocked. Designing “ugly” collections could be the the goal for many brands. Fashion industry needs prominent collections to create the trend.

I am Fashion Merchandising major and Business Administration minor at University of Delaware. I am going to graduate at the end of 2017. I am planning to find my careers in New York city after graduation and reach the degree of graduate in the next few years for my next step. It makes me excited to know and enter the fashion industry, and I will dramatically pursue it in the future.

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