For years, fashion has always had a way of taking the uncool and making it the most coveted style for that point in time.
Prime example, Céline’s riff on the Birkenstock sandal.
And with high-fashion Crocs and luxe belt bags (aka fanny packs) are hitting the shelves of retailers near you, this season the trend seems to be: the uglier the product, the higher the social-media status.
Gucci recently decided to bring the fanny pack back to life and it currently makes up nearly a quarter of all belt-bag sales on Net-a-Porter, while Balenciaga’s sock sneaker tends to be completely sold out within hours.
Not only are these products considered quirky but they are truly considered practical and functional. With that, they also provide comfort.
And guess what?
You can ask brands, like Ugg, Birkenstocks and Crocs, who have built their entire business around comfortable yet ugly products.
So the consumer appeal around the belt bag is totally understandable as a belt bag doesn’t need to be carried.
Oh and sneakers are just way easier to get around in than heels.
With that, designers really do reap the benefits on putting their own spin on unfashionable items.
Because not only do they feed the consumer demand for the Instagram-worthy items (and some items are purely designed to gain social media attention), but they’re often cheaper to produce.
For example, Christopher Kane‘s Crocs retail for $623, while his other footwear can cost an upwards of $791.
Coco Chan, head of womenswear at Stylebop tells BoF:
“There’s a veneer of practicality to all of this — it’s almost a badge of honour, taking something from the fringes of fashion and raising it to the height of style. It’s the essence of cool and in the age of social media that’s a very powerful thing.”
Footwear is often considered the gateway drug for ugly fashion, as the Balenciaga’s triple-soled sneakers, sold out on Stylebop within an hour of going live on site. You rarely see this kind of demand for a pair of heels.
Need more convincing?
The Vetements x Reebok sneakers collaboration sold out almost instantly while the Vetements x Manolo Blahnik boots with a stiletto heel — did not.
“There is no getting around it, Crocs are ugly. It’s a bonus that they are so comfortable, that’s the whole point, that’s their charm. I like that they’re not designed to be feminine or flattering. My sister wears them in her garden.”
Oh, and you know those high-waisted, straight-leg styles you’ve been seeing?
You know, “mom” jeans. Those jeans have continued to top consumers shopping lists.
Karyn Hillman, chief product officer at Levi’s, thanks “near-now nostalgia” for that.
And the nostalgia factor is so key that women are even purchasing vintage Levi’s from second hand stores.
Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director at Farfetch, who has reported a spike in bumbag (aka belt bag) sales, also notes:
“It’s a testament to the demand for ’90s and nostalgia right now.”