"Best of" lists are mandatory and important at the end of each year for the sake of posterity and to highlight those people and things moving the culture forward. "Worst of" lists serve a similar purpose for almost the exact same reasons: so we and our children won't continue making the same mistakes.
More than ever, people have been grossly consumed by fashion and the concept of style. Media outlets chronicle stars sartorial choices while we track and share our own via social media. Brands and companies sprout like weeds now that wannabe trendsetters can print up their cheaply wares and place them on Shopify for the world to (not) buy. Frankly, store shelves are littered with retreads, retros and copycats who don't deserve the space.
That said, we called on H1HGER LEARNINGS's KJ Kearney, a man whose life's work centers around fashion and streetwear, to pinpoint the lows in trends committed by brands and the people who wear them. If any of readers are offenders of these, please stop now and don't carry bad habits into the new year.
Men Tying Shirts Around Their Waists
This is something a drunken young lady does to hide the pee stains incurred while laughing uncontrollably at a house party, preceding the walk of shame she takes back to the car in before anyone sees her soggy bottom calamity. So, how in the heck has this become an acceptable form of dress for “stylish men?” Apparently wearing a jacket, shirt, jeans, shoes, socks, watch, chains, hat, coin pouch, survivor and/or silicone bracelets, carabiner key ring, iPod, cell phone, wallet, buttons, lapel pins, and stunner shades is not enough. One must also tie a flannel shirt around their ass for extra accessory swag points.
Think Outside The Box Logo
Conceptual artist Barbara Kruger created the now infamous red box with white Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed font images that most people recognize from the logo of legendary NY based brand, Supreme. Unfortunately, the images have now infected the rest of streetwear culture like a friggin’ plague. When Supreme did it, it was original in the “remixing someone else’s work way” that was once a subversive, fresh, and wholly accepted part of doing business in the streetwear world. When Married To The Mob's Leah McSweeney made noise by flipping Supreme’s flip on Barbara’s work, it was still cute.
But now, especially with the legal haranguing between both of the aforementioned brands about something that DOESN’T EVEN BELONG TO EITHER OF THEM (something Barbara herself spoke on in classic fashion), it’s time to retire this clichéd artistic form of expression.
The Lck Of Vwls In Brnd Nms
I’ve written about this before, but it certainly deserves to be repeated. Read the commentary I posted on why I wish the “red box & white text of death” would go away and replace the name “Barbara Kruger” with “Mega from Black Scale” and subtract all the litigation proceedings. In my humble opinion, this practice is becoming passé as well. It allows people to believe that they can bypass good design and clever art concepts by sticking to some “tried and true” cookie cutter format that’s supposed to do what, bring credibility to said brand? There has to be a better way, bruh.
Leather Sweatpants/Tank Tops/T-Shirts/Shorts
No one in the history of going to the gym has ever reached for a leather tank top or basketball shorts to work out in. I know that this is more of a status symbol purchase, like iced out Jesus pieces and iced out toothpick covers (‘member those!?!) but this kind of borders on insanity, right? Unless you’re trying to look like Master P in the “Make ‘Em Say Uhh” video, this stays in 2013.
Although, with Jay Z giving these items his sign of approval, I fear we won’t actually see the end of this trend for a while. Leather sweatpants: luxury loungewear for the non-athlete with a ton of disposable income who can't find a better way to spend his money.
The Misappropriation Of The Word "Trill"
What on Earth gives someone based or born outside of the great state of Texas the right to profit from such a beautiful word? NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT! To most people, this word is less associated with the Lone Star State or Southern colloquialism and more a symbol of the overall culture of hip-hop. To paraphrase Steve Stoute, the rampant use of “TRILL” is just one of many examples of the “Southern-ning” of global Hip-Hop culture. You’re all becoming Southern and there’s nothing you can do about it!
I’m all for pushing the envelope, but sometimes I think brands are so interested in doing something shocking that they get downright insane (see: leather sweatpants). Simply put: Is nothing sacred anymore? Upside down crosses on bandanas, pentagrams on tee shirts, lookbooks shot in churches serve what purpose again?
To each his own and maybe growing up in the Bible Belt makes me sensitive to this stuff (in fact, my town’s nickname is the “Holy City”) but I’d prefer if this trend would stay in 2013.
As an admitted fan boy of all things Yeezy, even I was shocked by him putting Confederate flag imagery on something as meaningless as tour merchandise. Kanye West's a master at evoking (or provoking, depending what side of the Kanye narrative you subscribe to) emotion but this was tasteless because it lacked meaning. He seeks to take “ownership” of something that those of us who grew up in the South would rather just go away. I see that flag being waved around like some badge of honor. I see cars with VANITY LICENSE PLATES that give shout outs to those that fought for their “way of life” to prevail.
So yeah, needless to say, I hope he is the first and last to do this shit.
If grown men talking pictures of themselves and having the audacity to label them as #Selfies wasn’t enough, now I’m forced to examine their narcissism via the almighty outfit grid as well. Seriously, how much time does this take out of your day to do? One must first select, fold, then place the clothing, get the lighting right, get in an elevated position, take the picture, review the picture, re-arrange the clothing, get in an elevated position AGAIN, take another picture, review THAT picture, upload to Instagram, select the right filter, write a description, add the appropriate hashtags, then click finish.
I’m 99% sure your grandfather would punch you in the face if he knew you were spending your mornings like this.
Stop Visiting the Land Of Make Believe Fashion
Allow me to bring you YRNs down a peg as I've taken it upon myself the audacious task of letting you know that buying luxury accessories (or Versace shirts) every once in a while does not make you a card-carrying member of high society, thus nullifying your decision to act like a friggin' jerk when in the club. Your Givenchy sweatshirt (that cost a month's rent) doesn't tell me you're balling; it says you're willing to make poor fiscal choices to impress people you don't know. Expensive belts holding up Levis has NEVER been in style. That's like putting rims on your Honda Accord--oh, you do that too!?! #FacePalm
Dependency on Retros
Over the last five years, many have lamented on the lack of innovation in sneaker culture. While the claim isn't without merit, it should be pointed out that the lack of "innovation" (in this case, I'm referring to new silhouettes) is a direct reflection on consumers buying habits. Something new comes out and it's met with mix reviews (see: Nike's CJ81 Trainer, the Zoom Revis, DRose's adidas & Kevin Durant's entire signature lines) while something old comes out (see Jordan 'Taxis,' any Jordan 11) and people lose their collective minds.
While the process to creating new models can be a long one (8-18 months from conception, prototyping, wear-testing, etc.), the decision to compel brands to release new stuff depends on the consumer. In 2014 speak with your money--if you want new classics to be created - just say NO to Retros or at least cut down your consumption.