Internet Fashion Trends That Took Over 2022
December 21, 2022
Is that a look? Or is it just a 2022 thing? As the world of fashion becomes increasingly entangled, between the latest trends lighting up like wildfires burning off sparks from TikTok, runways mirroring the limitless digital galleries of OOTD postings, and Instagram launching a single item into archive-of-fame levels of eminence overnight, the online world has never been more influential in determining the fate of our apparel.
Before readying your closet for the newfangled fashion and designs to come in 2023, let’s rifle through the clothing rack of styles and signature pieces that achieved icon status in the year that’s just passed.
What’s your 2022 aesthetic?
Black Swan Who? — Balletcore
Comfortable yet adorned with girlish textures, dusted mostly in shades of pastels and neutrals, the fantasy of balletcore draws from the appeal of effortless elegance the cultural imagination associates with ballerinas. This partnership has long been apparent in the industry, way back to when Chanel famously popularised tulle dresses initially inspired by the costumes of 1932 "Cotillon" recitals.
Perhaps an offshoot from the clean girl aesthetic, with trace elements from 2010's Tumblr poster girls Lana Del Rey and MARINA (formerly Marina and the Diamonds) who were beloved for their vintage coquettish stylings, the dancer’s closet draws from components that are overtly feminine yet retain a sprightly pragmatism to them.
Merging the practicality of athleisure, with the emphasis on visual presentation, which is crucial to the art of ballet, the trend could well signal towards a new era in the zeitgeist where we are looking to romanticize our daily toil. Or, it could very well simply be the next stage of enlightenment for green juice sipping girlies who want to reassure us that life really does get better when you journal and begin your day at five.
Get the look: The composition of an outfit strikes balance between sportiness and graceful silhouettes; pairing formless cardigans with firm bodysuits, flouncing miniskirts with simplistic flats, and big bow ribbons with knitted leg warmers. Colours are kept muted, or at least restrained towards lighter tones, whilst decadent textures are free real estate to toy around with. Lace, tulle, flounce ruffles, satin, and knits, are the usual materials that have a role in this performance.
Welcome Back to the Black Parade — The Return of Emo
Thrown into the other side of the spectrum, some of us have further spiralled over the past year into doubling down on our darker sides and simply embracing the hopelessness of it all. Expressing this grating despair with a moodier, grungy aesthetic, we see the Y2K resurgence and incoming (it’s inevitable, be prepared) Tumblr subculture’s AED-assisted reanimation leading emo fashion to emerge from the shadows once again.
Though it must be said, perhaps the major top-down fashion catalyst—that also doubles as a “the simulation is glitching” moment in pop culture—responsible boosting the style into Kardashian levels of eminence, was, well, the union between Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker.
Breaking through to internet fashion discourse under the moniker of “rockstar GF” fashion, our dear Kourtney attracted eyeballs to her outfits of leather, vintage band tees, heavy duty boots, and smudged kohl-rimmed eyes that differed from the glamourous getups we are used to seeing her in. Coupled with a resurgence of pop punk sensibilities in music, with the legendary comeback of My Chemical Romance, the aesthetic returned to the limelight and took off.
Still based around the intermingling of dark, angst-ridden palettes and DIY-inspired accessorizing, the new era of emo has brought with it a broader range of interpretation. Whether you would like to achieve a more polished look that calls to the roots of emo rather than directly referring to it, or kick things up a notch through fabrics emphasizing distress and distortion, the 2022 emo is one who flits between the streets and the red carpet with ease. Signature pieces of the style hasn’t changed much, but the accessibility of the subculture attached to it, and the subculture’s place in the mainstream culture machine very much has.
Get the look: The wearability of emo fundamentals could explain why the style is so powerful in drawing in tweens looking to outwardly rebel for the first time, since the basic look mostly consists of a few staple brands, pieces, and patterns. Leather, ripped jeans, plaid skirts, and band tees compose of the starter pack. Outfits are then elevated with personalization through rips, buckles and chains, pins, or whatever best conveys that you’re broken inside.
Textbook emo remains contained in the colourway of black, white, red, and black. Thick ochre eyeliner is a must, and accessories are where you go wild. Flitting between a trio of shoes on rotation, almost all looks end with a variation of heavy-duty combat boots, classic vans, or converses.
Arc’teryx in the Shower — Gorpcore
“Hydrophobic” became the unlikely name of the game on TikTok, when everyone who owned (or rushed out to buy) an Arc’teryx jacket demonstrated the material’s extreme levels of protection against water by standing in the shower fully clothed. The Canadian outdoor brand has become one nearly synonymous with the aesthetic of Gorpcore (short for “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts”, as coined by Jason Chen), which in 2022, became blasted into popularity as a shorthand for the sect of fashion where camping brands and outdoor apparel constitute everyday pieces to brave the city in.
Low effort, and arguably high reward thanks to all the innovative functionalities that come with these utilitarian designs, the style reiterates that we are all entitled to convenience and comfort no matter where we are. Elements of gorpcore can even be seen linking off to the ultra-popular and extra-comfortable cargo bottoms trend that we’ve seen cycle through other different styles too. Be it appropriated into upscale streetwear, worn as a centrepiece in ravewear, or re-introduced through a Y2K lens, the comfort of slipping into a pair of wide legged parachute pants or a baggy cargo skirt is a welcome sensation.
Get the look: The typical Gorpcore silhouette is voluminous and boxy, jigsaw-ing together garments that each carry with them hefty volume to allow for the athletic dynamism required in getting to the grocery store. Winter tends to be where the style shines most thanks to the emphasis on materials like Gore-Tex, knits, and fleece, as well as the strong emphasis on layering. The key palette revolves around earthen tones you would encounter amongst the natural landscapes conjured up by these clothes.
The Ultimate 2022 Capsule Wardrobe
Not Those Double CC’s — Crocs Becoming Cool
These days, how you answer the question “are Crocs cool?” is a tell of your age.
In part a continuation of the rising preference for comfort as a residual symptom of social distancing at home (we have trauma), in part a natural motion of the 20-year-trend cycle, all we know is that this holed plastic footwear has become a seminal era-defining item of 2022. Riding on the hype train to push out collaborations with revered upscale designers, pop stars, and even brands of food, Crocs have become a highly coveted statement shoe. Even at a glance that barely registers, these shoes instantly becomes the most ostentatious part of any outfit.
Arguably tracing it’s lineage to the dad sneaker trend that opened up the pathway for “ugly” shoes to become subjects of debate rather than an object of immediate outright ridicule, what feels like the sudden 180-degree shift in attitude towards Crocs in mainstream fashion might in fact been in the works for longer than it seems.
Far in Between — Maxis and Minis
A manifestation of the ever self-contradicting existence of fashion, this year saw a play between these extremes of length. First infiltrating the zeitgeist’s consciousness by sweeping across fashion week by storm, the Miu Miu matching set was a look that had the fashion world in its chokehold when first dropped as part of the label’s SS/22 run. Though not the first collection of the annum to star the micro-mini length, the near-inescapable circulation of this uniform-like look could be considered the apex of the trend’s reach.
On the other hand, almost like an overcorrection, there has been a concurrent spike in attention on maxi skirts. Mastering the fit that gives the piece it’s decidedly 2022 twist was a feat in its own, as the cut that became the definitive version of the maxi that stayed on-trend would sit right at the ankle and fall in between tapering to shape your silhouette and the fabric draping as is.
Loud and Proud — Big Statement Accessories
Like the decadent flappers that emerged from after the war, we’ve seen the revival of grand statement pieces as a statement of showy excess to end an era of pestilence. Not longer simply a supporting character, big accessories are taking centre stage in hyping up everyone’s outfit to reach the next level, as reflected in the grand maximalism that comes as a by-product of the Y2K resurgence that has been sweeping across runways and online feeds. Bold ski-goggles-esque sunglasses, chunky headphones, and thick belts are several examples of the perfect ammunition.
Cut You Out — Subversive Basics
Perhaps the most avant-garde and concept-driven trend to make it to this list, the rise of subversive basics shows the marriage between TikTok tutorial-fuelled DIY culture and future-facing trends in the industry of fashion. The crafting of subversive basics sees usual staples like tank tops, tights, body suits, and loungewear being deconstructed and reshaped to give wholly unique new looks closer resembling artwork and architecture than runway pieces.
The emergence of the trend is one that summarizes, in our eyes, the best facets of today’s fashion. From the spirit of injecting our own creativity and personality into the way we alter and tailor the pieces, the accessibility of the style for all budgets and body types, implications for sustainability since the trend allows for upcycling old pieces and fabrics, as well as the futuristic appeal of the subversive look itself. The vision truly breathes life into what’s “basic.”
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