Dadcore? Is Scruffy the New Stylish?
Last January, fashion influencer site Teaching Men’s Fashion ripped into celebrities whose off-screen wardrobe screams…well…I-was-dressed-in-the-dark-by-someone-who-hates-me.
But at the same time, the Fall 2018 shows (which also took place in January), took that unlikely fashion trend and offered shows dedicated to chunky sneakers, tucked-in hemlines, baggy sweatshirts, and high-waisted pants.
Under the guidance of Demna Gvasalia’s “ugly is actually pretty” aesthetic, Balenciaga’s runway showcased “Dadcore,” and, most notably, the now-sold-out $800 Triple S Sneakers, which seem to have migrated the holiday season’s “ugly sweater” down and into summer.
But is this an insider fashion joke, or a fashion moment to be taken seriously? GQ featured them as “Sneaker of the Week,” MEL writer Michael Richardson enthusiastically endorsed “the uniform of giving up,” and Grazia writer Emma Firth hedges her bets, but ultimately comes down in favor. And, in fact, these fashion trends are valuable because they take a light-hearted look at the real world through the hyperbolic lens of high fashion, and they invite us to think about how (and why) we’re drawing the line between beautiful and ugly.
But like the art that you admire in a museum, but wouldn’t necessarily want in your living room, dadcore probably shouldn’t replace your highly functional running shoes or lovely leather dress pair. As these expensive, “pre-dirty” monstrosities make evident—the problem with “intentionally ugly” as a defining aesthetic is that it really only works when it has shock value and proper context. But as soon as an “ugly” trend becomes mainstream, it’s less interesting than a refrigerator magnet Mona Lisa.
And, of course, there are two essential questions: what do the moms think of the guys wearing “dadcore”? Verdict: about the same thing that guys think of women wearing stained, shapeless grey sweats four sizes too big. Which is to say, not much. Dadcore may be PB&J proof, but it’s a little too ironic to inspire the stuff of romance. And, in the real world, what happens to fashionable young dads wearing enormous shoes with two-inch soles and an extended footprint? Kids of the world, it’s time to make a run for the cookie jar, because dad probably won’t be nimble enough to stop you.