Fashion has seen many drastic changes with each grand decade and within mere seasons. The forward-thinking, daring looks that debut either become instant hot commodities, or they become memes and the source of many parodies.
Levi’s fell under the latter category when they recently introduced a line of unisex clothing proudly celebrating inclusivity and found themselves becoming the basis of an Saturday Night Live sketch. The faux commercial presented “Wokes,” a pair of quite unsightly “not brown but not not brown” parachute pants made “sizzles, style-neutral, gender non-conforming denim for a generation that defies labels.” Levi’s was quick to jump in on the joke and placed the link to the “Wokes” on the front of the line’s page, embracing the sketch and the publicity that came with it.
Gucci had a full #TFW meme campaign to present its new Le Marché des Merveilles collection of watches with notable memes. From starter packs to “When she asks you ____,” the wide array of memes that are usually sent to friends as a mood reflection or something to cackle over became the basis of a fashion campaign.
As Anna Wintour so bluntly yet so surely put it, “You either know fashion or you don’t.” And at this point, it’s clear that fashion has become less exclusive and more open to be made fun of. Instead of turning a blind eye and refusing to acknowledge harsh criticism or spoofs of a design that perhaps took designers months of meticulous perfecting, there seems to be a light-hearted and more careless approach, making things quite interesting. Whether it be during NYFW or just a spread in Vogue, the looks that are proudly displayed can be quite forward-thinking or just outrageous.
After fashion shows, these loud outfits are noted by publications, but this isn’t quite the same as fashion brands being a part of the joke. Extravagant and artistic runway pieces have always been mocked for being too awkward to incorporate into regular, everyday outfits. The beauty of artistic expression has never been completely invalidated. On the contrary, it now appears that fashion has come to a comfortable place of making fun of itself — enough so to make and embrace memes. By doing this, the consequences of potential jokes that may have arisen become truly meaningless. It’s a refreshing unveiling of uncensored possibilities for something greater to be seen on and off the runway.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 23 print edition.
Email Liv Chai at [email protected]