14 October 2009

Homeless chic?

When Mugatu launched his Derelicte line in the film Zoolander with a runway show dedicated to 'homeless chic', we never thought this would be something the fashion world would become inspired by. Au contraire! Everywhere we turn these days it seems that someone is introducing the idea of homelessness into the industry.

erin wasson

Last year, Alexander Wang’s BFF Erin Wasson (see today’s story on Mr Wang!) said on her inspiration for her clothing line RVCA: 'The people with the best style for me are the people that are the poorest. Like, when I go down to Venice beach and I see the homeless, I'm like, "Oh my God, they're pulling out, like, crazy looks and they, like, pulled shit out of like garbage cans."'

And then in August this year, The Sartorialist published photos of a homeless man in New York. The majority of online comments focused on his outfit, ranging from 'He is so elegant even homeless!' to 'Are you sure that he is homeless? He is dressed a bit warmly for summer.'

In the same month, American Elle made web headlines after they took on a homeless intern. Sparking debate about the issue, Brianna Karp lives in a trailer with her dog and boyfriend and writes a blog for the magazine to address common misconceptions and what it really means to be homeless.

And then recently women’s rights groups have been up in arms about the Belgian Miss Homeless Contest where the winner gets a rent-free flat for a year (the runners up go back onto the streets…). Organisers said it would serve to highlight the issue of women on the streets, but we’re not so sure…

Is it just us, or is this all a bit uncomfortable? We’re torn between thinking this kind of thing highlights a real social problem and opens doors for people living on the streets, or that it trivialises a very serious situation. Perhaps it just depends on the circumstances. But what do YOU all think? Thoughts below please!


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