One blamer recently brought up the idea that fashion models are getting younger and more pornulated with each passing moment, with which idea nobody within barfing distance of a keyboard could argue. Following the tangent, someone else noted the increasing ubiquity of a creepy subgroup who sport the “young abused drugged look.”
A propos of which, an Urban Outfitters catalog recently showed up at Spinster HQ. The catalog is basically blank-faced, doped-up teenagers wearing tight, disheveled, thrift-store-looking outfits in gritty bohemian settings. The photos aren’t in-yer-face shocking or anything, but that’s what’s so creepy about it. The honky pubescent girl, looking sallow, emaciated, forlorn and exploited, is now such a standard figure in contemporary pop culture that nobody bats an eye. Behold some scans, all from the wrinkled August 2011 catalog I pulled out of the trash.
Above: pallid teen junkie corpse is a variation on the theme. Below: cornered teen is too malnourished to fight back.
Above: stoned 14-year-old wears ratty $80 sweater in a sexy, off-the-shoulder look. Below: another corpse variation: teens passed out on dirty linoleum floor, someone throws pineapples at them.
Above: exploited teen wallows in melted popsicles on dirty linoleum. Below: two more sexy cornered teens.
Skeletal, zoned-out teens in ready-to-wear rags, as a fashion aesthetic, really chaps the hide. Like most stuff that is supposed to be transgressive, it merely plays to a normalized pervy fetish. And it’s disingenuous. Remember when homeless-chic was lampooned by Will Ferrell in “Zoolander” (the inventor of the piano-key tie designs the cutting edge “Derelicte” line)? Culture-appropriating mainstream designers simulate the look of junkie runaways to sell to latter-day Warholian boho scensters and the milk-crate furniture set. But anyone who’s ever been around any real teen drug subculture can tell you it’s about as romantic as a jar full of scabs.