Group 4

Q+A with Digi: Fashion's shift from core to sleaze

Digi x Screenshot on the trend cycle and the rise of sleaze aesthetics


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We spoke to Screenshot Media about the resurgence of indie sleaze, the shift from ‘core’ trends to 'sleaze' ones and the shifting behaviours of the trend cycle. Where is the trend cycle heading? Read to find out more…

Screenshot: How would you define the 'sleaze' aesthetic on TikTok?

Digi: The sleaze aesthetic on TikTok is not yet fully concrete, as it's currently in an innovation stage of the trend cycle. People are still finding ways to interpret the late 2000s/early 2010s via indie sleaze not just on TikTok, but in niche fashion circles on Tumblr and Instagram through how people take pictures, the fashion inspo they post, not just how they dress. There was a similar shift around 2012-2014 online and offline with niche fashion and creative spaces finding inspiration in the Y2K aesthetic before it started really “showing up.” Looking back, the Y2K aesthetic of the early 2010s was different to its mainstream interpretation in the late 2010s. As time goes on and as more people reimagine the indie sleaze era, the aesthetic itself will have a more concrete identity. So far, the sleaze aesthetic means taking any look or style reference, from balletcore to cabincore, and making it darker, grimier, or more undone.

Screenshot: Do you think Gen Z are attracted to the sleaze aesthetic because, as you've said in your video, it's less rigid and there's slightly more room for expression?

Digi: Yes, that's definitely a major part of it. The past decade has seen a massive shift when it comes to social media, from how we present ourselves online and how it all influences us – we went from posting random pics of our daily lives to now creating carefully curated simulacra of our true selves. The sleaze aesthetic is messy, less rigid and less put together than social media driven-trends of the recent past – which lends to more room for personal interpretation and playfulness in expression.   

Screenshot: Why do you think trend cycles change and evolve so often, is it in response to cultural shifts or just the fast-paced nature of the internet?

Digi: The trend cycle is impacted by cultural shifts in conjunction with the fast paced nature of the internet – trends are circulating faster and wider as a result of fashion’s quickened dispersion via social media. Back in the day, it could take a trend that started in New York one year or more to reach the UK, but now a viral trend can cause an aesthetic to show up across different places across the world simultaneously.

Screenshot: What fashion items would you typically associate with indie sleaze?

Digi: Thick-rimmed ‘nerd’ glasses, wrist and head sweatbands, sports socks, denim shorts with tights, American Apparel clothing, digital flash photography, Isabel Marant wedge sneakers, fur coats and big handbags, skinny jeans, slogan tees like those by Henry Holland, snapbacks, wedge platform heels or Jeffrey Campbell Litas + many more. You can identify whether a person is referencing indie sleaze by the overall vibe of their outfit, along with how they’ve taken or posed in their picture.

Read full article by Charlie Sawyer here.

✨ Contributing Fairies

  • Rukiat Ashawe, Culture Specialist

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