I was recently on the Overground from Hoxton to New Cross when a girl in a Burberry check windbreaker, grey adidas trackies and Reebok workouts sat next to me. It was leading up to Halloween and I wasn’t sure whether this was a serious outfit or just a bit of an offensive joke, but as we pulled through the next station one of her friends got on in an equally as offensive outfit. The two of them squawked in their shrill middle-upper-class voices as their sovereign rings and gold chains clinked in time to the train. I even heard one of them describe how “jokes” it was that their mate had bought an ounce of weed and how they were “totes going to get blazed”. I felt a bit sick.
These girls and their pseudo-estate outfits were too much. Their decision to ironically wear clothes that were once associated with the working classes spoke volumes about what is wrong with fashion and it’s followers. The adulation and piss-takery of working class culture has gone too far.
While covering yourself in the latest trend items doesn’t say a great deal about you, certain styles are intrinsically linked to cultures with roots deeper than the trainers on your feet, and those clothes should be left to those who are a part of that culture.
As someone who lived in Liverpool for several years before moving down to London (bad move, I know), I became pretty accustomed to scally culture in its truest form. And while I was a million miles away from it personally, being someone who came to the city as a student, I had a lot of respect for the guys who were willing to blow a couple of hundred quid buying a trackie. I learned to appreciate their clothes, but would personally never copy them. Not only because I would look like a bit of a tit going into my English Literature lectures wearing a bum bag and a MaStrum jacket, but because it just wasn’t my culture to mimic. These guys weren’t doing it because they thought it was cool or ironic, or as a form of abstract satire. They were doing it because it gave them their sense of personality and identity.
Dressing the part certainly doesn’t mean you fit the part. If you dressed like a mid-90s rapper but only liked N-Dubz and Eminem you would be chastisised for being a bit of a prick. Just as if you start wearing Stone Island jackets, Hugo Boss polos or Air Max's, yet you’ve never set foot on a terrace or an estate, you should be told to go home and change. As this certainly isn’t a way for you to express yourself, you’re just making it into a craze, something you and your mates can wear for a couple of months before ditching it in favour of the next ironic socio-political statement piece. (I’ve heard dressing like an Hasidic Jew is going to be the next craze. Better start growing your hair and beards, boys.)
Clothes are a way for you to express yourself, your beliefs, influences and your roots, not a quick way to fetishise something you were never a part of. Leave the clobber to those who appreciate it.