Fraser Abe on Absurd Trend-Reporting

Jumping straight to the style section when I pick up a newspaper or magazine or click my way through the interwebs may make me sound like a philistine but, hey, the school system failed me. I always find it interesting to know what the media-powers-that-be determine to be hip. Beyond that, I love to read the bullshit made-up stuff. After all, there’s a news cycle, so every Saturday someone’s got to come up with something new that the Brooklynites are doing. They can’t always be creating trends, so for every piece about rolled cuffs, there’s one about dog yoga (called “doga,” natch). With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite “What the fuck?” moments in style writing.

When Fraser Abe isn’t belting out drunken karaoke, he writes for Toronto Life. Like Garfield, he loves lasagna and hates Mondays, and any time someone thinks he’s funny it’s because he stole the joke from a TV show. Follow him on Twitter @fraserabe

Fraser’s five links

1. Poverty chic

Details, the go-to mag for straight gays, wrote at the height of the recession about how looking like a hobo is the newest thing in cool cat–dom. Basically, they say, conspicuous spending is totally déclassé, but if you look like a “Trostkyite grad student” in $300 Acne jeans and an artfully mussed $150 hairdo, you’re part of the burgeoning counter culture. Will it be long before Dior starts selling bindles?

2. Thousand dollar jeans

GQ is basically the style arbiter for men’s clothing. Sure, blogs like A Continuous Lean and The Sartorialist are doing their part, but for menswear reading, nothing beats GQ. So when it pimped this pair of $1,100 Balmain jeans (which to my mind look like a patchwork project from my grade seven home-economics class) I wasn’t shocked, just disappointed. The writer of the article says, “But really? $300, pricey? Have you been to Paris lately?” True ’nuf, GQ, shit’s expensive everywhere, but no matter what you say, these bad boys will not transform a man into a “Stooges-era Iggy Pop.” Do you know how much heroin $1,100 buys you?

3. Band-Aids as accessories

Here’s how I imagine the conversation went around the NYT editorial table when they pitched this story. Editor A: “Remember Nelly? He wore Band-Aids on his face. Is there something there?” Editor B: “Run with it!” So they went out and found some twentysomething (who works at Esquire, no less) who wears Band-Aids as an accessory. He makes sure to coordinate them with his Kris Van Assche sweater and his Balenciaga bag, and, duh, to balance them by wearing one on the left hand and two or three on the left leg. Who knew the dude who sang “Hot in Herre” would turn out to be a sartorial influence?

4. Fixed-gear bicycles

In Toronto, where the bike is perhaps the most ubiquitous thing on downtown roads (much to the consternation of its new mayor, Rob Ford, I’m sure), fixed-gear bicycles have always been popular. Washington must also be a biker’s city, because the WaPo wrote about fixies: “Any place that’s fallen victim to gentrification will have these parked outside. It won’t be cool in a few years, and people will be back to geared bikes.” Fucking gentrification, ruining it again for the early adopters.

5. Harem pants

Now these actually are a bonafide thing, to everyone’s confusion (see: Hipsters love them because Alexander Wang makes them and everything he does is geeeeenius. The Wall Street Journal distills the phenomenon by slapping every trend known to the fixed-gear bicycle loving masses into this sentence: “Jean Hall, 24, says the low-slung crotch of her American Apparel African-print harem pants got caught on her bike pedal while she was riding through Brooklyn, causing her to fall off. Her friend, who was riding with her, wrote about the incident on Twitter.” Hipsterdom just imploded on itself.