Fresh off the runway, and in keeping with global narratives right now, it looks like next season’s obsession is about to be… distress. In large part thanks to Glenn Martens’ recent Diesel show, but also seen on the catwalks from many other designers, we seem to be undergoing an industry-wide shift into looking, well, worn out.
As mentioned, Glenn Martens has truly personified this shift with his AW22 collection under Diesel. Here, he showed a sensual, elevated and rough-and-ready collection, heavy on the leather and distressed denim. Arguably the standout piece from the collection was an intentionally worn-out leather mini skirt – belt hybrid, embossed with the brand’s ‘D’ logo and paired with a vinyl coated leather jacket. Elsewhere, we saw ripped jeans, as well as bleach wash denim making up everything from shaggy coats to a new iteration of the classic trench.
Leather motorbike trousers were cracked with ‘age’, and two pieces were considerably roughed up before being sent out on the runway. Reviving the brand from a years-long lull, Martens’ collection injected energy, movement and vigour back into Diesel, all by showing the clothes as they’re meant to be: lived in, worn out, and entirely used.
However, Diesel wasn’t the only brand doing this. Earlier this year, we saw KNWLS release a faded, worn out motorbike jacket which had corset and stripe detailing. Pictured on Julia Fox in her Ye era, demand for the brand and jacket instantly skyrocketed, with KNWLS releasing the style in faded black and brown colourways. Ye too has been a long time champion of distressed leather, wearing oversized jackets and chunky boots of the material.
Which leads us on to the next trend set to make it big come Autumn: dirty wash. Far from the ode to normcore that was stonewash, dirty wash sees things get darker, more earthy, and more distressed. Much like the boomer outcry when ripped jeans started to regain popularity in the mid 2010s, we can almost hear the inevitable objections to this coming trend, too: ‘why would you buy something that looks like it needs a wash?!’
Well, ask Rick Owens. Debuting one of Rick’s ‘dirty wash’ gowns at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party just last week, Hunter Schafer looked ethereal, yet grounded in a Rick Owens slim fitting, structured dress. Bringing out warmer tones in the denim, which are usually overshadowed or overlooked in indigo or stonewash, dirty wash feeds into the overarching themes of distressed, worn material that have been permeating catwalks recently, and beginning to filter down into fast fashion.
Maison Margiela also does dirty wash well – crafting lines of jeans that are described as ‘sun faded’, ‘meticulously distressed’ and ‘vintage blue’. However you choose to dress it up (or down), it seems fashion’s pivoted to a worn-out future – perhaps in retaliation to the pandemic-induced rejection of perfection, or perhaps because it’s just been a rough couple of years.
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