How Gen Z Killed Basic Black

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At the beginning of February of last year, 25 years Adrienne Réau was employed as a dancer with Carnival Cruise Line. When news of an infectious virus that could cause impending global disaster began to swirl, she was temporarily fired and sent home to Tampa, Fla., To wait for things to happen. Considering her next move, she turned to her wardrobe. While rummaging, she began to put together eccentric outfits, pairing a orange ruffled tube top with lilac pants, for example, or completing sparkly pink bell bottom with tank “Viva Las Vegas”.

“Because of the pandemic, my style has undergone a renaissance,” says Reau. She entered what she describes as a “creative renaissance,” putting together colorful, creative, and chaotic looks and then posting them on TikTok. Since then she has managed to increase her count from 2,000 to over 65,000, she has moved from Tampa to New York and she can earn what she earned in a month as a dancer in just one day thanks to to a partnership with a brand. She describes her style as “Bratz Doll went shopping”.

If the pandemic has caused a single identifiable fashion result, it is because utilitarianism has been replaced by a spirit of experimentation. Gone are the days of refined and edited “capsule cabinets”, and in their place, drawers filled with vintage treasures from Poshmark or Depop. The unbridled energy of the early plaster of the pandemic, illustrated by the Instagram account @wfhfitsdopamine dressing. This burgeoning aesthetic is characterized by a cacophony of bright colors like lime green, international Klein blue and fuchsia worn together in one outfit.

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While chic style was defined by wearing all black – think of the ineffable cool of a woman smoking in black cigarette pants and a motorcycle jacket – the clothes that now feel fresh are a kaleidoscopic explosion of color. Minimalist brand The Row recently released a capsule collection of children’s clothing in jewel tones rich in sapphire, pumpkin and magenta. Even Grace Coddington, the fiery mane dean who once ran Vogue, reportedly ditched her all-black wardrobe in favor of color.

Looks like black, a shade that once symbolized the pinnacle of sophistication – think Audrey Hepburn, classic cocktail dresses and bohemian poets – has started to lose its luster. An all-black wardrobe is no longer a shortcut for a mysterious and brooding individual. (“I’ll stop wearing black when they do a darker color,” fictional ingenuous Wednesday Addams said.) More and more, it’s telegraphing that a person is, well, old-fashioned.

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“I call him kidcore”, content creator based in Melbourne, Australia Maxine Wylde said, describing his propensity for orange two-piece suits and bright green blazers. “We’re still locked in Melbourne, and the only thing that has helped me every day is getting dressed. Putting on a blue top and yellow pants just takes away the situation I’m in.

For Wylde, the decision to dress up in bold colors is to bring the “human element” back into fashion. The previous yen for minimalism, illustrated by The Row and Celine by Phoebe Philo, was axiomatic in its statements of simplicity. But clothing was also taken extremely seriously. After a year of exhaustion, the need for joy has become imperative, and the old Philophiles abandon their minimalist wardrobes and embrace color. “When I look at my Instagram and come back to before I do my [fashion] count, I think, Wow, was I just wearing jeans and a white T-shirt? “

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In April, The New York Times used the term languid to define the collective feeling of “stagnation and emptiness” that had set in after a year of the pandemic. At the risk of sounding obvious, stacking the most colorful clothes one can imagine could be interpreted as a way to use visual stimuli to shock our nervous system out of similarity and depression. After all, it’s hard to imagine someone languishing in checkered pants.

Black tends to be seen as ubiquitous in clothing, but it was reserved for evening wear until the early 1980s, after the rise of avant-garde Japanese designers like Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme. of Boys, Philip Fimmano, trend analyst and creative director of Trend Union, said. For decades, a heavy black wardrobe has historically telegraphed a heightened sense of sophistication and adherence to a strain of unfussy elegance. Until recently, it has aligned itself with something else: uniforms.

“If you are in a bar or a store, you will be asking the person in black for help,” Gregoria Reyes-Lou (aka @greivy), a content creator who describes pink as her “color of power,” says. Currently, the ultimate expression of style resembles an individual. Everyone wants to be the center of attention – a trait dubbed “main character energy” – and fashion has simply followed suit. No longer an ultra chic expression, black has become inexplicably associated with the desire to disappear.

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“When I see someone wearing black, I don’t necessarily think they’re stylish,” says Reau. Neutral clothes are easy to style and don’t present much of a challenge. The hallmark of true fashion these days is the ability to blend contrasting colors into a cohesive outfit. It’s not that black has gone completely down the drain, “I guess I wouldn’t necessarily notice your outfit that much,” says Reau.

Visibility is everything in the attention economy. “When trying to show off 15 looks in 15 seconds on TikTok, you have to embrace the color to stand out,” Casey Lewis, Gen-Z brand consultant and newsletter author After school, said. “A black dress can look fantastic at dinner or on a date, but on TikTok or Instagram, a black dress is just going to look like a black dress. It’s not going to explode.

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Michelle norris, an Atlanta-based artist whose multi-colored outfits include a pink ruffled crop top worn with pants adorned with red, pink, green and purple scribbles, suggests that the current passion for color is also an aspect of fashion’s democratization. . “The only way to achieve a chic all-black look is when the pieces are raised and well constructed,” she says. Colorful clothes have a cheap and cheerful effect; they don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful.

Ironically, the only way to reaffirm your individuality in a sea of ​​color over time will be to wear … black. But Fimmano believes it will take at least five more years to get there. “This trend still has a lot of growth before it’s over,” he says. “We’re going to need it to get through the rest of the pandemic. “

For now, it’s best to embrace the little pleasures where we can and hang on to things that offer a little respite from the overwhelming similarity of everyday life. Bright colors are a balm for the senses – a conscious decision to embrace optimism in the wake of all that has been lost.

“[When I wear color], it’s very welcoming. I feel like people can approach me and give me a compliment without being shy. It makes me happy that they are happy to see what I have cooked up, ”says Reyes-Lou. “Life is a party, so why wear beige? “

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