Ugly chic is the style that Miuccia Prada based her whole business on, wanting to move away from the hyper perfect fashion in the 1970’s. Reinventing uniform wear for “ugly girls” was the main objective. This was still the 1970’s however, and subversive clothing was just at its infancy in high fashion. A lot has happened in the world since then and the absurd and grotesque have nested themselves in fashion to a high degree. Many people looking onto a runway may justifiably ask, “who would ever wear that, that looks awful.” Come 2022, we have Georgian born Demna Gvasalia as creative director of Balenciaga and co-founder of Vetements making big moves in combining street styles with high fashion to create beautiful abominations of baggy jeans, oversized shoes, massive sports jackets, and tacky graphic design on shirts.
The contexts that Gvasalia, Prada and others base their fashion on is the subversive nature of the ugly, the carnival, the grotesque. In this sense, wearers of the clothes identify at least somewhat with these natures. This look gives off an extremely personalized style that cannot really be replicated so easily, and that is why that fashion world loves it. The style, and the pieces that make the outfit are frequently on a ‘if you know you know’ basis, making there be an exclusivity to the style overall.
Indie ugly chic is what I like to call one of the new waves of secondhand archive fashion. Rather than Vetements’ ugly chic, this style incorporates a ‘Tumblr aesthetic,’ to the uniform, making the look more indie chic, hence the name. Championed and inspired by the Miu Miu Spring 2022 ready to wear collection, which caused a stir because of their ridiculously low waisted skirts. Miuccia Prada nailed the indie ugly chic aesthetic with the concept directed towards returning to professional settings after everything that has gone on during this pandemic. Although still not being size inclusive, the concept she created with that collection has spread all over social media. For the top, a blouse, a jacket, and a tie, but know that the style is all business on top. For the bottoms, an interesting selection of dark jean skirts, brown pinstripe trousers, floral long skirts, and quirky short skirts just like we saw with Miu Miu are also included. A formal shoe is a must for this outfit, a loafer, short heel, even cowboy boots can work. Certainly, a very eclectic outfit, but that is because the ‘editorial’ and or ‘serious’ parts of this outfit that come from uniform attire and tumbler core are being laughed at by the otherwise sloppy and subversive pieces you are wearing. Another fun part of this outfit is the bag; whether it be a shoulder bag or a baguette, it must be large. One of my favorite examples is a Thierry Mugler shoulder bag.
Ripping apart and past that indie Tumblr fashion, the ugly chic aesthetic joins in and shoots past many of the pretentious gatekeeping and gaslighting of the uniformed Tumblr indie. With an indie ugly chic look, neutral tones, beautiful graphics, and simple pieces come together to ignore norms while exuding personality. Maximalism with a sophisticated minimalist palate. I would not necessarily say that this style is new, but between Prada and Gvasalia, they have ushered in a new age of the ugly chic and the sophisticated scumbag. Indie Ugly Chic.