Student Fashion Trends and Subcultures

Student fashion, how could we define it, describe it? Is it a stereotype? Or are we all sheep following the ram in the trend stakes desperately seeking ‘a look’? I’m going to probe into the more recent history of student fashion and investigate the unfortunate faux pas and the triumphant get-ups that we all endure, seek out the good, the bad, the ‘what were you thinking?’ and discover what actually is the student ethos?

So Ugg boots died a death after a supreme reign of the student ‘shoe’ (and quite frankly it was long overdue!) and then in came the Converse, the Thoms and the cute little pixie boots we have spent our loans, bank loans and of course wages on. The baggy jumper, messy up do and that little can of batiste salvation that will be with us forever and ever, amen. There’s the spray on skinnies, guys checked shirts buttoned tight around the neck, so many trends, so many different characters, all subconsciously placed into mini ‘subculture’ categories, the indie kids, norms, hipsters, sports society and of course the ‘d***heads.’ ‘Being a d***heads cool’.  Now, is it though? I haven’t yet decided (for those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to here see: above video) Choose a few items that couldn’t clash more if they tried, wear them. And some glasses. Even if you don’t need them. Obviously. Who first decided this was a good idea, who was the original ‘d***head?’ They had initiative and they scored. People loved it (well, some) and I’ve got to admire their genius as with any trendsetter (Kate Moss, Agyness Deyn, The Beatles). They hold power over the masses, people want their look, maybe to be different, who knows? Maybe they just like it and have no alternative motive. Perhaps we students just wear what we can, throw together what we have and make do?

Perhaps our lack of money is no hindrance but a blessing in disguise when it comes to the alternative styles, the weird, wacky and wonderful trends and the ‘interesting’ haircuts, a chance to express creativity and sometimes ridiculous opinions of what (we believe) looks totally awesome. “It’s well cool to dress like a square.” Maybe not? Who cares! Pass me my bow tie and retro jumper. We should be wearing whatever the hell we want, why not? Of course you should wear those really quite awful furry yeti boots with pom poms and bits flying off them everywhere. (Not a suggestion) but nonetheless. I admire the trier, the one that puts that little bit more effort in, one day they channel the stepford wife look, (circa iconic Chanel tweed jacket and pearls) the next, a leather jacket adorned with safety pins, red doc martins and a god save the queen ripped T (circa the 80’s skin). Inventive and fun. Then there’s the Kate Moss, the ‘I just threw this on with a bit of this and these shoes and yes I do look this good without really trying at all.’ Still managing to look positively quirky and effortlessly cool.

The lifestyle of a student certainly makes a difference to their attire, the influence of their musical grouping, (dub, synth, electro, pop, drum ‘n’ bass, reggae, rock etc). This may be a stereotype in itself, but, quite honestly it is plausible,(to a certain extent of course) take the hipsters grouped with synth/electro and the pop culture staple look, vintage, colours galore and a gameboy hanging around their neck. It’s ironic, fun, satirical. Typically we all have a ‘look’ whether we’re trying to impose it or not, trends will come and go, style stays. I wonder in 20 years time how fashion will take in the student world, same as ever? A mix of subculture groupings as is now, or a complete conversion to even wackier adornments where everyone’s set in making political statements a la Gaga and her meat dress. It is inevitable that more subcultures and fashion grouping will stem from what we see now. If you look back to the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth centuries, every women and every man was dressed in the same way, same dress shape and bodice, same breeches and waistcoats. All that really differentiated was the wealth of a person and in turn their ability to buy a more detailed dress or suit. Fast forward to our generation and there is a multitude of trends, from the urban hippie to the goggle wearing cyber goth. Students of 2030, do us proud!

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