There are many things out there that are supposed to be fashionable items but look straight up ugly. Being a sneaker addict myself and having had finished my studies at a university on this subject, I know one thing: Jorge "Popmaster Fabel" Pabon of the Rocksteady Crew was right when he said, "It isn't what we wear, it's how we rock it!"
Fashion or style is definitely nothing more than a matter of opinion and personal taste. Ugly clothes or accessories you wouldn’t want to touch or see may be just what your best friend thinks is trendy (and/or even expensive).
Living in Berlin makes me see many fashion victims and hipsters every day. They wear what I had sold at the flea market several years ago and even what I wore last time for a “bad taste” party. It makes me think about the next possible trend based on the clothes stored in my parents’ house from about 10, 15, or even 20 years ago! It also reminds me of the times I myself had dreadlocks and wore baggy pants and huge t-shirts in the mid-’90s. I even had a cord basecap!
But the hipsters today wear the ugly stuff like a duck takes to water. So in a way, they earn my respect. I had the courage to wear such clothes at a motto party, while they have the courage to have it as part of their style. That’s what I mean when I say, “It’s how we rock it!”
Take a look at the woman below. I was really impressed seeing her by the traffic light while wearing a visor. I wear a visor only when I do sports. But even though it didn’t fit into her outfit well, she looked cool in it.
And now take a look at these two guys.
It’s not really stylish to wear a bathrobe outside of a hospital. I would probably have changed clothes, but this guy thought that a hat would be good to highlight his outfit.
The twin haircuts these two are sporting here looked stylish to me even though on her it looked nice, while he just looked more or less like having a tiny mop on his head.
The picture above is an original photo of the artist Daniel Josefsohn. I found it in a magazine and made a double out of it. I really liked his style in this picture. It looks pretty much like a holiday shot, and he must have been at a tourist attraction in Italy or wherever the shot was taken. Here is the pic!
And finally, this is a photo of a friend of mine when she was pregnant and we had a shoot at a major street in the heart of Berlin. Now that looked really stylish: a pregnant Spiderwoman in a ripped outfit. I was and still am really happy that she did this shoot with me.
Just some last words. In the 1970s, the poor kids in New York made weird things with their sneakers/trainers/kicks just because they couldn’t afford new ones. Today, some of these inventions and certain way of wearing things – like wearing fat laces or no laces (even though the latter is originally a safety precaution in American jails), and high socks (as worn by the skater above) – are still part of the culture of the youth. You may want to take a look at the book HipHop Files by photographer Martha Cooper, who documents this culture.