Fashion: What’s the go with fluoro?
Mon 8th Oct, 2007 Lifestylein
Stylish or sheepish? Fashion or farce? ITM reporter Tim McNamara proffers his point of view on the fluoro phenomenon…
Walking down Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall in the early 1990s, I remember seeing groups of homeboys loitering around in bright purple Cross Colours jeans, orange 26 Red t-shirts and American basketball caps with the brims folded over at right angles. It was hard not to think ‘clowns on patrol’, but mere months later I recall that I was seriously contemplating buying a similar pair of baggy, bright and – lets be honest here – utterly-repulsive jeans myself.
Fashion, my friends, goes in cycles, and the pack ‘mentality’ can sometimes be hard to resist. Like the homeboy of yesteryear and the emo of yesterday, Australia is today caught up in a whole new fashion trend, and it’s hard to miss. Yes, it’s fluoro. Like those Wham! shirts of the 80s, and the early 90s’ obsession with American sporting apparel, today’s impressionable and fashionable are flocking to fluoro. The latest cycle arguably began in mid 2005 when Bonds re-launched the infamous Hypercolour shirt, with the trend since developing to include headbands, singlets, shorts and just about everything else.
On the national Parklife festival tour recently, this trend seemingly hit its peak when it seemed as though every second punter had at least one fluoro fashion item or accessory added to their attire. As a result, the dance scene’s fashion gestapo are once again out in force and internet forums – ITM included – and they’ve been buzzing for weeks, bemoaning this latest trend’s dominance. For once, the poor emo kids are getting a break.
It’s hard to ignore though. Take a walk through any capital city mall and you’ll see many shops stocking many, many fluoro items. From General Pants to Jay Jays, from Supre to City Beach, consumers are snapping it up and cash registers are ringing. Fluoro seems to have its fair share of detractors, but the viciousness of debate following the Parklife tour begs the question: why?
Why has this most recent ‘trend’ caused such vicious debate? The fashion-conscious – a hard group to define at the best of times, and a group even harder to track down – debate its ‘wrongness’, those vaguely interested lament fluoro as an example of Australia’s ‘pack mentality’ when it comes to fashion. Most just can’t understand why something so ‘wrong’ a few years ago is so ‘right’ now and, more importantly, why it’s being worn by so many. So what’s the go with fluoro then?
It’s the fashion industry doing what it does best. Fashion conscious people are content to support the fashion industry’s system of telling people what is fashionable. If Kate Moss stepped out tomorrow wearing a “Kevin 07” t-shirt, you bet your bottom dollar Honest John would be on the blower to her quick smart, extolling the virtues of his new, ‘fitted’ equivalent. In short, it’s about consumerism, and the way fluoro is marketed is no different to how the trucker caps were marketed to us a few years back. Did you buy one? What’s most worrying is that the newest trend – one catching on rapidly and for no good reason – seems to be all about people attacking people who wear fluoro, or, more worringly for me, how you spell the damn word.
I conform; I don’t own any fluoro and, to be honest, don’t really like it that much, but that’s my opinion and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone from wearing it. It’s about horses for courses and, if many horses like the same course, so be it. To quote a long forgotten Cross Colours catchphrase, ‘Judge 4 Yo Self’.
The truth is, fluoro is just the latest trend and – like all fads and trends – it will run its course and perhaps return in another 20 years. In 12 months time we’ll have some other new trend to complain about, and I might be setting a new one by writing something about it. Perhaps the real reason the fluoro issue has been so noticeable is because it is bright; perhaps we should all follow its lead and ‘lighten’ up a little, eh people?