Fashion predictions, the thin line between iconic and ironic

Versace 350pxA few years ago, at the Amsterdam Fashion Week, I asked some of the pros to define “fashion”. Their answers basically all started with an “Ehhh”, and weren’t very convincing… When I asked them to predict upcoming fashion trends though, most of them really got into it. But despite their enthusiasm, most fashion predictions proved rather inaccurate, whereas most definitions were pretty good.

Oh, the actual definition? Well, just think of something along the lines of “Popular apparel during a specific time or among a specific group”. But anyway, I found it interesting that so many who work in fashion, don’t have a clue of what’s coming next. For example, few in their right mind could have predicted the following trends: UGG Boots as summer wear, celebrities starting to wear fur again, silk Versace shirts (see left) being worn by anyone but Russian gangsters and the occasional blinged-out rapper, or Crocs…

Fashion or Fake - Avenue21From boobs to boots

UGGs are a great example of a fashion trend that came out of left field. Sure, they’re comfortable and warm, but they’re also ugly. So initially they were purely worn as functional, warm boots, until they became popular among surfers in Australia and New Zealand. They have a cold gulf stream there, and those sheepskin boots are a great way to warm up again. But then California surfers started wearing them too, so next came the beach bunnies, surfer wannabe’s and Hollywood trend spotters. And once Pamela Anderson started wearing them, the fashion press did the rest.

In 1992, Pamela Anderson was one of the world’s most popular women. The Canadian blonde was a star of the successful Baywatch TV show, Playboy model and poster girl for the all-American stripper look. Up until that point, her main contribution to style was the popularization of plastic D cups. But when she started wearing UGGs under her Californian mini-outfits, she became a fashion icon.

Zoolander movie poster 350px

The whole UGG story sounds like a script for a comedy. A centerfold becoming a style-icon for butt-ugly footwear? Only in Hollywood…. Talking about comedy, remember Zoolander? This 2001 movie, starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, was pure comedy and satire. And yet it may have predicted more fashion trends than the average style guru. Popular publications, like The Guardian and ShortList, actually wrote articles about the Zoolander predictions that came true.

I don’t envy the serious gurus, they have a tough job. I mean, trendspotting, which involves the skill of recognizing trends early, can be learned. But fashion predictions, they’re just hit or miss, well mostly miss actually. And to complicate matter, recently hipsters came along and added irony to the prediction process. They started wearing fashion ironically. So they would wear unfashionable items that they were trying to mock, thus making them fashionable, but only in an ironic way. Try predicting that trend…

Bondi Hipsters

There’s an Australian duo of self-proclaimed hipsters that make a sport of filming their ironic fashion predictions. They call themselves the Bondi Hipsters, and “ironic” is the keyword in their predictions. You can see some of their 2015 predictions in the video below.

The Bondi Hipsters are often hilarious, but you never know, they may incidentally get it right. Because honestly; UGGs, Kim Kardashian, Crocs, those couldn’t have been predicted by anyone serious…



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