It’s often said that there’s nothing new left in fashion. Everything we see is simply a rehash of creativity from days gone by. Although there is some truth to this, TikTok’s Gen Z trendetters have proven that it is not true. Their latest predictions for fashion direction in 2022? The rise of the Avant Apocalypse.
As trend forecaster Mandy Lee (@oldloserinbrooklyn) recently spotlighted in a TikTok, the Avant Apocalypse aesthetic is a slightly garish look characterised by “neutral maximalism, lots of deconstructed pieces and asymmetry, wearing clothes the ‘wrong’ way, and knits in neutral tones.” The styling doesn’t even have to make sense. Layering is a unique and untraditional way to show your creativity.
Lee posits that the look is a natural evolution from the “subversive basics” trend. That, fashion forecaster Agustina Pantzoni (@thealgorythm), saw us swap out our t-shirts for more fitted silhouettes with unexpected cutouts and sheer fabrics and led to Gen Z’s DIY craze.
It’s come up with the rise of archive collecting, where TikTokers have successfully resurrected the Y2K archives of long-forgotten collections and deadstock from niche designers of the time. Their pieces are now highly sought-after.
This mood is influenced by Rick Owens’ post-apocalyptic grunge aesthetic and the avant-garde designs of Maison Margiela. But more recently, Berlin-based label Ottolinger has made waves for its contemporary take on this alternative glamour.
We’re not only looking at runway archives or the newest designer collections, but also from runways. If the aesthetic feels a little cinematic, that’s because it’s also heavily inspired by the fantastical wardrobes of movies like Mad Max, Star Wars, Dune and, well, any other desert-y, action/sci-fi production.
And it makes sense that in our third year of a global pandemic, years that have been characterised by thoughtless governance, climate inaction, racial injustice and economic collapse, that fashion’s response would lean to these sources of inspiration. It is clear that the main theme of these movies is rebellion.
Panzoni pointed out that sculptural styling is a booming trend among Gen Zs. TikTikors such as Nora Gallagher (@n0rab0ra), have gotten millions of views sharing how they transform second-hand, unattractive pieces into looks worthy George Miller heroines.
Personally, I’m going to be wearing sweatpants at the end of the universe. To anyone else that feels hesitant about the (fairly impractical) products of the Avant Apocalypse trend, and wonders about its longevity and .sustainability, it actually seems surprisingly promising.
Sure, on the one hand, we may become easily bored by these shapes, and they’re not exactly timeless outfits to wear again and again. The aesthetic is, however, a movement to repurpose old clothes into something new.
All over the globe, TiktTokers are sharing their tips on how to give new life to unwanted wardrobe items and thrift store leftovers. Because the look encourages creativity and abandoning traditional ways of wearing pieces, there are ten times more options for a single wardrobe item. Only your imagination is the limit. A trend that encourages reuse is a great idea in a fashion industry that is producing more waste than ever before.
Although we may be drawing inspiration from the end, it’s creative movements such as these that show fashion is not a barren wasteland.