the i-D guide to fashion terminology in 2018

After last year’s curation of fashion descriptors and definitions brought us bintern, vete-phrenia and shitegeist, we consulted with some of our best fashion biz buds to keep you firmly in the loop of today’s best/worst industry words.

by James Anderson
01 May 2018, 10:24am

Photogtraphy Mitchell Sams

The language of fashion endlessly morphs and shifts, practically requiring a PhD in linguistics in order to comprehend the words and expressions currently used by designers, stylists, PRs, editors, writers and photographers collectively toiling at the forefront of 21st century style. So, after we schooled you in the terminology of 2017, class is in session for 2018.

'Edgy' fell by the fashion vernacular-wayside many moons ago, the elongated 'Amaaazing!' and more succinct 'Fab!' are still hanging in there, but for any true fashion pro the only word that sums up a particularly successful shoot/look/collection/'gram post at the moment is a firm and decisive 'Strong'. (Some hardcore advocates choose to imaginatively prefix this with either 'very', 'really' or 'so').

Wintour Wonders
Anxious fashion luvvies endlessly debating and fretting on social media about
a) rumours that Anna Wintour might soon be leaving US Vogue and,
b) who on earth will take over from her when the iconic Editor-in-Chief finally flings those trademark dark shades in the bin? Keep necking the Xanax, huns, because, you know, the world will keep spinning even when she's gone.

There's been a fuckofalot of fugly fashion of late, but Crocs still own the crown. Firstly, Christopher Kane gave a kitschy makeover to the plastic shoes hitherto beloved of the new age vegan allotment-folk of Brighton, St Ives and Stoke Newington, then Balenciaga literally elevated the familiar footwear to new heights of insta-hysteria and best-selling success. The next hideous-hilarious Crocs collab is therefore eagerly awaited... by someone, somewhere.

Spotted on every high street from Essex to Edinburgh, and in every holiday destination from Love Island to Lisbon, is this UK geezer style tribe, comprised of perma-tans, steroid-induced pimples, plucked eyebrows and chunky gym-worked quads squeezed into skinny jeans with pre-ripped knees. Gawd bless 'em and their exposed mid-leg areas.

Initially a more general term used to describe brands which subvert the normal business model, being seen to creatively disrupt has since become an almost full time preoccupation of those at fashion's fierce helm. Tired of collections being presented on humdrum catwalks? That's okay -- there will always be some 'disruptive designer' proposing a 'new fashion narrative' by unleashing their latest collection of amorphous shapes in a disused porno cinema/toilet/their nan's front room etc. What's that? You want to see some clothes you can actually wear? You're just not embracing this disruptive thing, are you?

The Fashions
When it's London Fashion Week, the capital's inner fashion sanctum no longer say they are attending “the shows”, or express an intention to check out “the new collections”. Instead, a tongue-in-cheek and rather Northern-sounding phrase -- as pioneered by Ponystep magazine's Editor Richard Mortimer -- has swept through the industry like an out-of-control forest fire and now it's all about going to see “The Fashions”.

An incredibly obvious put-down, reserved for influencers who spend their lives going viral with, say, advice about nostril contouring/selfies wearing 'sponsored' head to toe designer clothes/podcasts about which socks to wear today, and so on.
(Note: this devastatingly witty dis tends to be mostly utilised by, ahem, moderately successful fashion creatives jealous of high profile influencers' eye-watering incomes, freebies and fame).

Turned off by British Vogue's former favouring of yawn-some white poshos and general irrelevance, the new breed of readers instead can't get enough of it's much more modern direction under the editorship of i-D's dear old pal and former employee, Edward Enninful.

Now that 90s-style big turn-ups on your jeans are a thing again, this pinpoints the awkward realisation that one of them has slipped downwards, resulting in an embarrassingly uneven aesthetic, aka a Turd-Up. (If you are hard-faced enough, however, any such micro-denim dilemma could be explained away as a 'disruptive' style statement).

The watered-down, post-Health Goth, clad-all-in-black clubber look is nowadays more likely to have been purchased from Primark instead of Rick Owens, and is typically spotted on any Saturday night in Wetherspoons as much as upon the dancefloor of Berlin's infamous Berghain.

On The Down Lo
The non-medical term for a painful ankle injury -- often requiring a wincing hobble to the nearest A&E department -- specifically caused by tripping or falling while wearing vintage or reissue Buffalo platform trainers.

The descriptor for the musical preferences of many young people who work in fashion, as used by older fashion bods who can't relate to this bewildering love of Britney Spears, S Club 7, Scooch, Backstreet Boys or any other 90s/00s mainstream pop act deeemed shite by too-cool-for-their-own-good types two decades ago. (i-D's favourite LOL-goss of late involves a Very Established Fashion Photographer furiously storming off a shoot because the fresh-faced assistants kept blasting out back-to-back Vengaboys and Steps' tracks to “liven things up.”)

Think Pieces
London Fashion Week
Edward Enninful
ugly shoes
fashion terminolgy