Thom Browne FW 2014

From the Thom Browne FW 2014 collection

The fact that there is a difference between clothing and fashion is a clear thing. Clothing is simply functional, while fashion is something that uses certain elements to express an idea that is not stated otherwise. Fashion and clothes are never independent of each other, they always intertwine and woven into an organic fabric. Some people claim that they don’t care to express anything through their clothes, but fashion and clothing are an involuntary a medium of self-expression: if you don’t want to express anything, you will express that you don’t express anything. Expressing something through your clothes is inescapable, and, even if you were to walk around naked, you would still express the fact that you oppose clothing and fashion, which is still… an expression.

Some clothes, however, express more than others, the more sophisticated a garment is in terms of lines, colors, fabrics and shapes, the more complex the message that is being send across to anyone who sees it. The great thing about fashion is that it allows you to mix and match clothes, therefore creating an endless stream of possibilities, which allow you to express whatever it is you want to say, down to the smallest detail and to make very refined statements. It is hard to talk about the way someone dresses without talking about who they are. There is always a relation between the way you dress and who you are: some people dress in a way that expresses their personality, job, the way in which they want to be seen, while others dress simply… inappropriate.

 

 

Wearable art?

We all like good-looking things, should they be clothes, cars, furniture or anything else. Humans have an innate need for beauty and instinctively know how to appreciate proportion and balance.

 

Weird fashion

This outfit has such weird proportions that it is hard to imagine wearing it seriously.

 

However, in the fashion world, the creations that are put on the runways by designers can sometimes get downright eerie. We’ve all heard the term “wearable art”, but are weird fashions really art? Art can be defined as a lot of things and each person is allowed to choose his or her criteria for what makes something a piece of art. There are many factors that can make an object art: intent, universality, recognition as such, etc. Are therefore, weird clothes, art? Arguing that strange fashion is art can be easily done, but this does not mean that it also has a lot of value. Just because something is strange and out of the ordinary, doesn’t mean that it is a valuable work of art.

 

 

Aesthetics and cultural backgrounds

But why do we see some things as strange or weird? What makes a piece of work so eerie that we automatically reject it?

This outfit is not strange due to shape, but many people would think that it is strange for a man to wear so much pink and a dress - or kilt inspired piece. In the end, it is a matter of taste.

This outfit is not strange due to shape, but many people would think that it is strange for a man to wear so much pink and a dress – or kilt inspired piece. In the end, it is a matter of taste.

The reason why we usually label something as “strange” or “creepy” is because it is something that have not seen or imagined before. Our personal and cultural background as well as our cultural norms tell us what is something that is OK. The human brain is programmed to put order in things, to catalogue and understand, and when we see something that we can’t figure out what to do with; we become defensive and reject it. Some people find it strange to see a men wearing prints or mixing patterns. This is of course something which is the result of their vision of what men should wear and expresses a limitation in terms of aesthetics and cultural expansion.

 

 

Eerie fashions

Going one step further, there are certain things that almost all of us see as eerie in fashion. Weird shapes, strange textures and strange volumes make most of us cringe when we see them go down the runway. The reason for this is because we know that the things we wear should be not only beautiful, but practical as well. By using our instinctive empathy, we automatically understand that this is not something one can actually wear and therefore, we don’t know where to place it in our brains. Moreover, as humans, we know that garments are made to frame the human body well, and seeing something that is so remote from the human form makes us feel that we just met with an alien being.

The pants are nice...

The pants are nice…

Another thing that makes us defensive when it comes to eerie fashions is that most times, these creations defeat their purpose. Clothes are always communicating something about the person wearing them and when we see someone wearing something that looks like a house which fell on top of them, we don’t know who that person is and therefore feel reluctant towards it.

 

 

Avant-garde or fashion no-no

And lastly, even if we are avant-garde and open to all types of aesthetic innovations and creations, some pieces that walk down the runways of the world are simply funny because they use elements that don’t work together now and probably won’t work in the future either.

 

The amazing style expert Tim Gunn from Project Runway has a saying, which is that in order for a fashion item to work, the person wearing it should be able to get in a taxi while wearing it. And maybe that this is a rule all designers should live by.

If something doesn’t work, and you inner voice tells you it doesn’t work, give it a chance, but if it doesn’t make sense, then don’t try to find sense where there is none.

 

 

Fraquoh and Franchomme

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading:

11 weird runway looks

P.S. What do you think of eerie fashion creations? Are there some that you like? What do you make of them? Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!