2021 is the Year of Anti-Fashion
By: Mireya Perez
This year, the world is seeing fashion trends that differ from anything we’ve seen before. We are experiencing the boom of internet subcultures and aesthetics, the pick-up of historical patterns like corsets and crochet, and the making of clothes as a way of challenging the fast-fashion scheme. All of those can be considered anti-fashion.
What is anti-fashion?
There is no easy way to describe the movement. Anti-fashion does everything fashion doesn’t do. It is a movement that goes against the mainstream. During the last decades of the 20th century, there were two different approaches to anti-fashion. There was Kawakubo, creator of Comme des Garçons, whose runways showcased dark colors, shapeless garments, and deconstructed items. On the other end of the spectrum, Vivienne Westwood promoted punk, chains, leather items, and rebellion. One approach challenged fashion through austerity; the other, through superfluity.
What does anti-fashion look like in 2021?
Think about the corsets, visible seam tops, and chunky boots that were popular in the 70s. Those are three examples of trends going viral on TikTok and Instagram, where we see the influence of antifashion. Are corsets worn as a t-shirt that different from Vivienne Westwood’s opulence? Are visible costures not similar to Comme des Garçons messy fashion?
Styles and aesthetics such as cottagecore and dark academia are becoming popular because they resonate with people. Far from mainstream, these styles result in a diverse fashion scene that doesn’t feel bizarre to the public eye anymore. Aesthetics make it easier for people to find a style they find comfort in.
Also, making clothes by knitting or embroidering is part of the anti-fashion agenda that goes against the industry model while encouraging creativity and self-expression.
While one could argue that those subcultures are alt-fashion not anti-fashion, the latter distances itself from current trends as much as possible. Alt-fashion doesn’t act as a response to fashion, it does its own thing. When choosing a certain style or aesthetic, we often do it to distance ourselves from others, as a way to stand out or express ourselves.
Perhaps the rising of these trends and aesthetics will change the concept of fashion the world possesses. Without a doubt, 2021 has the potential to be a year that challenges the industry and embraces the differences and innovation that makes us human.