You never have to look very hard to find ‘ugly fashion,’ but one might argue that it’s enjoying a particular moment.
Fashion’s relationship with ‘ugliness’ dates back decades, with the emphasis on designers as visionaries to discover beauty and aesthetic value in out-of-the ordinary places. Leandra Medine‘s original Man Repeller blog, for example, was premised on the idea that front-line fashion is weird. Too weird to be appreciated by the uninitiated, perhaps. It is the job of the designer to twist, to uncover, to celebrate new and different kinds of colour, texture and form. To the insider: beautiful, to the mainstream: ugly.
With models like Jazzelle, a.k.a. Ugly Worldwide, however, enjoying widespread acclaim, it seems that ‘ugly’ is now being embraced on a much wider scale.
The Dad trainers were the ‘ugly’ footwear of choice last year, with Balenciaga’s offering snaffled up and copy-catted by every fashion star, influencer and teeny bopper on both sides of the Atlantic. This year’s version of the ugly footwear trend comes in the form of the chunky, fashionable walking sandal.
Once the preserve of warm-weather hill-hikers and Flanders-type squares who wore them with (God forbid) a sock, now these velcro-fastening, tractor tread sandals are seriously hot. And if you’re not popping them on underneath a smock dress, are you even doing summer style?
Don’t believe us? Just ask Prada. The brand has so far produced the most covetable walking sandals of the season, with literally everyone bagging themselves a pair.
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This article first appeared on ELLE.