These are difficult times for someone with a lack of taste, fantasy, courage, and irony when it comes to fashion. Why? Because the latest trend in underground fashion in London is “The rule is no rule,” as one very hip store-manager recently summed it up.
She is the manager (who’s names shall remain anonymous) of one of the coolest shops in the Brick Lane area, where you can find new and used items from the 1950’s to the 2010’s, and all you have to do is to make incredibly difficult choices of putting it all together. Everything, in fact, can be cool and trendy, if you are cool enough to make it your own trend. And the less predictable your outfit becomes, the more you will be an underground catwalk hero.
When I noticed her, she was wearing a few layers of clothes from really different styles and periods such as an ethnic/folk/hippy leather-and-fur waistcoat jacket over an indie polka-dot lightblue vest T-shirt and, moreover, an optical black and white long-sleeve/large-neck jumper probably from the ‘70s, paired with black leggings and a black miniskirt, from which you could of course notice her black and light greys with burlington rhombs socks and light blue knitted leg warmers on black tennis shoes. The entire outfit worked, but it’s hard to say where and when it could have been from. To add to her accessories and attitude, she had her hair gathered up with some big bone earring. This really dangerous mix was almost perfect on her.
That’s when I said, “I noticed you for your style,” and she said back, “My style is no-rules style.” Here’s the secret influence happening in underground London: she told me she’s from Denmark. That was illuminating. Northern Europe, as I’ve noticed in other cases, is the backbone behind the “no rules” generation in Europe in general, which also goes further with the preferences for “no logos.” (This is also the case with stores such as Uniqlo from Japan picking up on this trend, but read the Japan Special newsletter from earlier this month for more on that.)
Overall, it’s a real understatement attitude that doesn't mean you’re not paying attention, but only, you spend your attention on your creativity—which is more valuable than money can buy. But cheaper. Such mixtures of folk, punk, indie, and period pieces that work only if you have your own taste, and you feel your own times. No one can pretend to be a no-rules kind of person without risk. While it may seem like some styles have an attitude of “I just opened the wardrobe and put on what I found,” it takes thought and energy, mixed with charm and individuality, to create such coolness.