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Extremist Fashion

Photographed by Josie Ransley of Marc Woodworth and Kailyn Walsh

By Joelle Beauchamp

It is a common lesson in fashion school that trends travel from one extreme to the next, to opposite ends of the same spectrum.

During the peak and decline stages of the fashion cycle, after one trend begins to become oversaturated in the market, typically, we see a new trend emerging that is the exact opposite. This typically happens to fit needs in the industry. If large, oversized coats are on trend, there is typically a need for cropped, tight-fitting jackets, which will soon emerge.

We see many examples of this by looking at past and present fashion trends. At the beginning of Summer 2022, maxi skirts were all the rage. The style had spread throughout the media, receiving extreme popularity due to a TikTok trend in which fashion leaders described themselves as “long skirt girlies.” By the end of Summer 2022, there was still a trend in maxi skirts, but they slowly became saturated in the market, and the trend moved to the opposite side of the spectrum as micro-mini skirts became popular. “Skirts should be the size of a belt” as Paris Hilton would say, and micro-mini skirts truly emphasized that statement.

Another great example of trends cycling in the fashion industry is the emergence of the “clean girl aesthetic,” characterized by slicked back hair, often in a bun or ponytail, simple gold jewelry, often hoop earrings, monochromatic outfits, and overall, a highly simplistic color-blocked look. These “clean girls” got their name from the clean look of the sleek hair, paired with minimalistic dewy skin, fluffy brows, and a bit of blush on the nose. This trend was first given the name after popular influential celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner began sporting it.

I could not help but wonder, when will the extreme opposite trend emerge, and what exactly would it be?

Enter the grunge girl era. As I scrolled through Instagram, I stumbled upon a picture from Bella Hadid, in full grunge. As a trendsetter of her time, I was not surprised to see her being one of the first to start the transition from the clean girl aesthetic to the extreme opposite.

The photo shows Ms. Hadid in dark, smudged eyeliner, fluffy crimped hair, bleached brows, and a black vest. Other examples of this trend include dressing comfortably, often in oversized band tees, flannels, with details of faux fur, lots of layers, and thick black eyeliner.

To stay on top of ever-changing trends in the fashion industry, one must constantly be on their toes, watching for the sign of the next extreme coming along, and being conscious of when the market is oversaturated in one area. Each time a trend cycles in this way, there is slight variation in which extreme emerges, often influenced by trends in the media. Change in inevitable in the fashion industry, the grunge girl aesthetic will shortly be replaced by another trend, but where will we go from here?

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