Fashion: What’s the go with fluoro?

Image for Fashion: What’s the go with fluoro?

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?

Comments arrow left
Comment Added

patrout said on the 8th Oct, 2007

I work at a menswear store on sydneys north shore, and 6 months ago, I was selling an intense amount of fluoro tops, for the simple reason, you stand out. doesnt everyone want to stand out a little bit? I agree if everyone wears fluoro then clearly you

Rated E

Rated E said on the 8th Oct, 2007

Nice article. Couldn't agree more.


seb_322 said on the 8th Oct, 2007

all attention seekers, especially at festivals and at the beach


skandalus said on the 8th Oct, 2007

If you missed it the first time round fucking suck it up. Try starting something original.

Jeremy Cheung

Jeremy Cheung said on the 9th Oct, 2007

i hate is the stupidest phase i think i have ever witnessed...worse than big hair and those vizor hats that stupid people use to wear


Burn2Shine said on the 9th Oct, 2007

I must have missed the point of this entire article.


Rockah said on the 9th Oct, 2007

What skandalus said - straight up. And I would say this is more of a 80's thing... not 90's. But I get the reference. I was born in the 80's, and I don't have the slightest urge to dress like a retard... so why would a 15 year old be compelled too? These

alex sillan

alex sillan said on the 9th Oct, 2007

i agree massively. . . . and while were on the topic on dressing the same all those ppl whole scrawl lame msgs all over thier fluoro shirts or otherwise normal t in markers or some kind of ghetto iron on print you guys suck just as much or if more than


sec_ said on the 9th Oct, 2007

as long as they wear it and it looks good i don't care.. what i can't stand are those supre shirts- "dirty dirty house music" eeeeuurggh.


kwasmund said on the 9th Oct, 2007

My biggest fashion concern of the moment isn't really fluoro, but dudes wearing short, tight (very tight), cut-off jeans. Seriously - it's just a disgusting look! Only girls should be seen wearing tight jeans.


mattforsyth said on the 9th Oct, 2007

The reason ITMers have been moaning about this so much is because the fluoro trend has been directly linked to a massive mainstream turn towards electronic music (with kanye using daft punk samples and justice being played between awards at the MTV MVA's)


Mr_D said on the 9th Oct, 2007

fluoro hypercolour industrie polos with the collars up is where its at


almanac1 said on the 9th Oct, 2007

I'll tell you exactly why the fluro trend is so abhorrent... Because with most hideous trends, like the aforementioned cross colours jeans (which I must confess I owned a pair of, I was 13 and knew no better) it usually takes a few years before we look b


Wald0 said on the 9th Oct, 2007

Fluoro is for the attention seekers at festivals


Spekman said on the 9th Oct, 2007

all i gotta ask is why do you all give a sh!t what someone else choses to wear?!?!?!


dleklas said on the 9th Oct, 2007

I don't like fluoro, but I also don't like n00bs saying they hate fluoro just to seem cool, despite the fact that they probably were wearing it 2 weeks ago. Fluoro is good in a way, in that it makes me look even more stylish to those who care than I alrea


hannahbrown_ said on the 9th Oct, 2007

everybody should get over it, its a horrid phase adopted by the try hards at festivals who arent even there for the music, they are there because "it's a festival, everybody's doing it"


petecraig_101 said on the 9th Oct, 2007

Flouro or Fluro it doesnt really matter. The best T-shirts I sore at PARKLIFE SYDNEY was the ones that said 'FUCK FLURO' in black and white, well, ok, ill admit..i was one of the two guys wearing them and might i tell you we had an overwhelming positive r


Timmac said on the 9th Oct, 2007

Thanks for your comments everyone; looks like we've opened ANOTHER can of worms.


drdan said on the 9th Oct, 2007

i think someone once said it best: meh, whatever...


zooky said on the 10th Oct, 2007

fluro kids are just bang-gangers, who entered the scene two years too late... But, you do know there is a problem when men are shopping at supre...


SneakySundaySlut said on the 10th Oct, 2007

Fluoro is only ok at fluoro/80s specific parties. Or perhaps 2 years ago. Anyone toting fluoro at this point in time, particularly a plain tee or tee with tacky 'bang-on' slogan, is merely confessing they have no taste, no style, and little more than $20


lucy_lu said on the 10th Oct, 2007

firstly i dont think there is anything wrong with going to a festival if you dont give a FUCK which djs are playing! like fluro, electro is so COMMERICALISED! im over the fluro because everyone seems to be wearing it. esp little 12 year old girls. i


troytheboy said on the 10th Oct, 2007

well said. so sick of peope whinging about it. who the hell cares if everyone is wearing something? noone is forcing you to wear it, they obviously enjoy wearing it you can do whatever you damn well please, just stop whinging about it argghh.


housedout said on the 10th Oct, 2007

its ugly, you look like a major puppet, attention seeking... it should be a sign to stop wearing it when you see 12 year old girls wearing large block lettered shirts saying "hugs not drugs" in bright writing.... pathetic!


patrout said on the 10th Oct, 2007

I think the lot of you should stop being so judgemental and just have fun, get off your fashion high horses and ENJOY YOURSELVES.. drop your opinions at the gates and just revel in the sun, the atomosphere and the music. in my own opinion, the biggest


digi88 said on the 11th Oct, 2007

Theres one aspect here that the author hasnt covered, which btw this fluoro topic is one that me and my mates have recently discussed as we have seen it at festivals, and that is that these fads are all spread by girls, and the only guys that wear this cr


c0ntagi0us said on the 11th Oct, 2007

i bought a fluro t-shirt the day before parklife it didnt have any hugs on drugs impact block caps on it it was just a bright orange shirt with a blue pattern in the middle rockah knows the score though, fucking mono kiddies suck it so hard


chowy said on the 11th Oct, 2007

Like everything, if done in moderation fluoro could be cool. But as per usual the attention seeking majority has to ruin it for everybody. am i one of few who takes pride in trying to dress individually? personally seeing 10 other guys wearing the same th

red fox

red fox said on the 11th Oct, 2007

To be honest, fluoro is something that just over a year ago, we craved more of. IT was great because 1: It makes you stand out. 2: It makes you look more tanned. 3: it appeared origianl. All are still true, except for the latter. Since fluoro moved from t


Ronnie said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I would never ware it. Simple reason - I looked back at photos of me when I was 8 waring fluro, my boyfriend, a friend and I all laughed at how bad I looked. I had an excuse, I was 8 and knew no better. What will my excuse be in another 15 odd years? I do


greerlean14 said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I have to admit I do like the fluoro, but now I flat out refuse to wear it. About a year ago I made myself a t-shirt that incorporated the fluoro and slogan elements (the slogan was a reference to the simpsons and a personal joke between a friend and I),


existenz said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I must say I was disgusted at Park Life this year. I felt like a minority, which I'm quite sure I was. The sea of fluro, the stupid sunglasses etc. There is just no verve to these clones, it's an epidemic of high school graduates who have hit the legal dr


partydavo said on the 11th Oct, 2007

The reason for this expression of COLOUR is the coming of a higher state of consciousness that is spreading across the younger generations. People feel the need to express themselves in a sensory manner, and what is more intense and eye catching than a ti


existenz said on the 11th Oct, 2007

P.S They'll never take Orbital from me, I wont let them :)


lozylonglegs said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I'm not sure what to make of it....I don't mind a little bit here or there but when people are covered in it from headband to shoelaces and the guys are in these little shorty shorts - Its a no go.....Makes me a little sick actually :)


timsolo16 said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I think 'mattforsyth' nailed it on the head!!! The amount of peole i asked "so who are you going to see at parklife?' and so many people said "i dont know whos playing?, i dont really care" Is it all about the image now at these festivals, i think there


Zest4life said on the 11th Oct, 2007

Fluro is for council workers!


dizzyhimself said on the 11th Oct, 2007

im so over seeing team green or team pink. WHO THE FUCK INVITED FLURO????? was the best shirt i think i saw at parklife. i like to wear kids shirts to festivals and stuff i.e. tonka tough shirt, minnie mouse shirt generally anything uber retro with a lot


zoeee said on the 11th Oct, 2007

Totally agree with mattforsyth. Fluoro is the new emo, and it's making me so pissed off. When emo was 'in' I was getting paid out for listening to dance music, and now dance music is 'in' we have to put up with those same people going to festivals and e


OLD GILL said on the 11th Oct, 2007

good read timmac! does this mean we cant wear our fluro propeller hats to summerfieldayze now...damn

the elektro kitten

the elektro kitten said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I ususally wear flouro gators/acessories to raves. At Parklife, i decided to wear just black boob-tube and white shorts for something different. This made me stand out even more cause flouro was everywhere! I love people who love to flaunt their style and


sigourney said on the 11th Oct, 2007

i used to love slogan tshirt, they were hot. then shops like supre got a hold of it and ripped it to shreads, i see 12 year old girls wearing the "dirty dirty house music" tshirt. i mean do they even know what real house music is? same with fluoro and eve


dienacht said on the 11th Oct, 2007

I loved fluoro a few years back, when it was about the daggiest thing in the world to wear. So I have been eyeing off some of the irridescent coloured clothing, I admit. But I won't buy it or wear it because I hate fashion and the the pack mentality that


ladyinred said on the 11th Oct, 2007

i want these ****s to get into the happy pants vibe. Come on supre bring on the happy pants!!!!! So i can laugh my head off and punch them in the face. yeah i'm not making sense now. i'm THAT excited about the thought i can't type properly!


LukeIrwin said on the 11th Oct, 2007

the only time fluoro is acceptable is festivals and raves... if you go anywhere else (even a club) in fluoro then you should be shot for being a wanker... its basically the electronic music version of emo's wearing all black the whole time and trying to s

Omz Lay

Omz Lay said on the 12th Oct, 2007

it is my opinion that people who are apart of this fluro craze dress this way because they believe it makes them look like they are apart of the electro/house scene. why parklife? because it isnt an underground event, it is for everyone, every average joe

liev turoq

liev turoq said on the 12th Oct, 2007

When I go to festivals, I go to listen to loud music, have a boogie, and talk crap to perfect strangers I'll probably never see again. Why hasn't anyone told me what I'm supposed to do is bemoan the commecialisation of "my scene" , try to look as differ


rotisserie said on the 13th Oct, 2007

doesnt conformity just shit you to bits though ? that whole emo phase was really annoying people trying to be different by being the same .. and this is similar. its not so much caring what people wear, but being annoyed by the masses conforming (for some


rotisserie said on the 13th Oct, 2007

"4 ?" what it was spoSED to say was. if you like a song and then later it goes mainstream, does it stop the song from being good? you dont like it as much anymore... why ? doesnt conformity annoy you ? first the emo thing, people trying to be differen


FriniK said on the 15th Oct, 2007

Its not fashion! ..its a safety precaution... Dont want to be hit by any cars on ur way home from a night out....


Alex_74 said on the 16th Oct, 2007

I think we've all noticed over the past few years at all events such as Parklife, Harbourlife, Shore Thing, Field day etc.... everyone seems to love dressing as clones of one another! Personally, im a bit over seeing people wandering around in fluro, avia


housesitting said on the 16th Oct, 2007

screw the fluro, its all about pastels.


jaxcarr said on the 16th Oct, 2007

i personally do not wear fluro, i often walk past supre and laugh at the intense amount of fluro that is in the store. but the thing with fluro now is, that everybody will be wearing the same clothes, and if people like to go out and see some1 else in the


Sergicle said on the 17th Oct, 2007

oh yes parklife, i didnt know weather to laugh or cry at the fashion hehe, all i can say is that god for the hip hop tent where normality was restored and i could gather back my thoughts and blinded vision hahah. Sorry just upset they missed the 70's aga


beakers said on the 17th Oct, 2007

i think the anti-fluro thing is becoming as bad as fluro itself... All of the sudden everyone pipes up and says why is everyone wearing fluro? I hate fluro, fluro is crap, i love hating fluro, fluro wearers are so not it. but fact is it's not something th


genevieve3 said on the 17th Oct, 2007

i hate fluro wearers. all i can say is that they are attention seeking sheep who obviously think they r pritty cool. I wanted to go to parklife but was completely put off because i knew there would b swarms of 'ravers' (thats what they reckon) prancing ro


magicangelisa said on the 18th Oct, 2007

I think it's kinda cute that my 15 year old daughter wishes I still had the fluoro pink "Frankie says relax" sweat-shirt that I bought back in 1984 when I was fifteen "How COOOOOL!" (it's not often mum's get to be so "cool") "But who's Frankie?" Te he


pioutus said on the 20th Oct, 2007

It must really suck to care so much about something as stupid as the colour someone else is wearing. How can something so small and irrelevant spart such hostile behaviour? I dont wear fluoro...if you do I couldn't care less. It's dissapointing that so ma

James Corbett

James Corbett said on the 24th Oct, 2007

Haha Spot on! It doesn't really bother me what people wear, but I do find it highly hilarious that people copy each other so much in today's "fashion".. I think the fluoro thing is worse because it stands out so much. I wish i got even just 50c for each f

Bug Powder

Bug Powder said on the 25th Oct, 2007

The fluro craze might be an eye-sore but I'll admit it's better than phat pants. Those things are a horrible wank.


l_stoj said on the 26th Oct, 2007

Just shows How shit AUS is, like u said Jay Jay's etc, supporting these clothes. Havent seen any fluro in decent shops like Diesel or Boss, etc.. Just got back from summer in Europe, and NO one was wearing Fluro!! , Heading to the States soon, ill keep

Cheeky Banjo

Cheeky Banjo said on the 26th Oct, 2007

worst fashion craze ever. what colours does flouro go with? black and flouro. rubbish.


geeza69 said on the 29th Oct, 2007

its not anything to do with anything other than australia is retarded


tamolive said on the 1st Nov, 2007

haha YUCK fluro. biggest attention seekers


peskey said on the 1st Nov, 2007

i used to do the fluro thing 10 years ago when i was doing the whole psychedelic bush doof thing, where it is popular due to the fact it is apparently something you usually see on DMT


mitch_swaney said on the 1st Nov, 2007

I think there maybe a direct link between the wearing of fluro and an individuals intelligence?


shaboogen said on the 1st Nov, 2007

For every apparent attention seeker wearing fluoro, there is another saying "Fluoro is shit". The actual truth is that neither of you is correct, because really who cares? If someone wants to wear a giant orange shirt that says "I love your boyfriend", le


Suspekt said on the 1st Nov, 2007

fashion sooo goes it loops. i feel like im in the early 90s right now... techno fad and all! :)


JayCee99 said on the 2nd Nov, 2007 check out blame electro very good


special_effects said on the 2nd Nov, 2007

The fluoro phenomenon has not only been exposed to music festivals, but it has been heavily showcased in the snow industry. Anyone that has been to a snow resort in AUS would have atleast seen a fluoro one piece being worn by your beloved punter. You can


wkd_ said on the 5th Nov, 2007

bring back wolf shirts!


reubot said on the 10th Dec, 2007

Seems to me there are quite a few sexists here...


reubot said on the 10th Dec, 2007

coughkwasmundcough coughdigi88cough


GroovyGeo said on the 18th Jan, 2008

Fluoro is ok in Moderation. a group of about 10 of us went to parklife with fluoro on but u gotta pull it off right. I prefer the less fluoro look as it makes me feel my age and not 12.


shouldbeariot said on the 3rd Feb, 2008

It's over. But no-one seems to get the memo. I knew it was over OFFICIALLY when I was in Target and I saw a section of clothes devoted entirely to acidic brights and to top it all off were disgusting pairs of eye-hemorrhage-inducing fluoro TRACKSUIT PANT