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Subversive Basics: How We Rebelled Against Fashion During The Pandemic

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

How, through the pandemic, people have taken up their scissors and rebelled against the status quo through fashion.  

You may have seen the “subversive basics” microtrend going around your TikTok or Instagram. People everywhere are currently wearing outfits full of mesh, layers, cutouts, asymmetric strapping, and more, a bit like the good old punk style we all know, but going mostly for the basics, black tank tops, bodysuits, and loungewear turned into rebellious and futuristic outfits. 

As said by trend forecaster Augustina Panzoni on TikTok, the trend corresponds to “basics that rebel up to the point of losing their utility,”  architectural looks that deconstruct trends whilst praising comfort and body positivity. With lots of cutouts and negative space, one of the subversive basics’ goals, as a self-aware style of the gen-z, is to embrace one’s body and enhance the silhouette, instead of trying to change or hide it, going against what historically has been part of fashion trends. 

Despite having already been incorporated by some ready-to-wear collections of high fashion, the subversive basics trend can be seen as a response to the waste and lack of social awareness of fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M. Side by side with thrifting, the trend gives people the opportunity to use old clothes they no longer wear and most probably have in their wardrobes and turn them into something new and trendy by simply cutting some holes and layering them with other basic clothing items. 

Some believe the subversive basics trend has a lot to do with the social and cultural moment we are currently living in: after the destabilizing turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic and the countless social problems it brought to the surface, it’s no surprise that people start rebelling, and fashion has always been a strong form of self-expression.  

By getting away from fast fashion and leaning towards a style that values self-expression and upcycling of materials through DIY techniques of creation, people rebel against the status quo. As says Panzoni, “people are leaving their jobs and looking for flexibility out of a capitalist system that is eating everything up.” So if you too want to rebel against fashion and why not the whole system, take an old pair of stockings, cut it all up, and layer it over those basic pieces in the back of your closet. 

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Carolina Azevedo

Casper Libero '24

I am Carolina, a journalism student at Faculdade Cásper Líbero. I take great interest in the issues of intersectional feminism and wish to take part in the movement through the art of writing. My other interests include music, film, and photography. Instagram: www.instagram.com/caazvd/ Medium: link.medium.com/3vS6dTwCaeb