Thursday, November 26, 2020
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“Trainspotting” (1996)

  • Bertil Chappuis ’20

A film about a few Scottish heroin addicts doesn’t really sound like a source of influence for the fashion industry. But it was. Released in 1996, cult classic Trainspotting is the epitome of the anti-fashion movement, and its influence can still be seen today. 

Trainspotting’s rebellious, occasionally witty, and self destructive characters stumble through the movie looking both fashionable and completely disheveled at the same time. The charm of their effortless style is apparent within the first seconds of the opening scene of the film, which features the main character Mark Renton (played by Ewan McGregor) running from police and being hit by a car wearing a brown bomber jacket and absurdly skinny jeans.

In other scenes, he’s seen wearing an all over print long sleeve reminiscent of some pieces made by french designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Or his most iconic pre-sobriety look, the faded yellow crop top, that is both ill fitting and perfectly goes along with his aesthetic. The style of Mark and the other characters is everything anti-fashion is supposed to be. 

Anti-Fashion is an umbrella term for dressing opposite to current trends or intentionally not caring how you dress at all. This is readily apparent in almost everything the cast wears. For example, while style in the 1990’s was based almost entirely around baggy clothes, the cast of Trainspotting wears drainpipe skinny jeans throughout the movie. A trend that was many years before it came to pop-culture prominence. And despite how carelessly they seem to dress (of course because they have bigger issues to worry about, like their heroin habit), they still pull off wearing some iconic outfits.

Current brands like Vetements or Gosha Rubchinskiy follow in the aesthetic legacy of the anti-fashion and grunge wear that Trainspotting brought to the mainstream. Even runway models from these anti-fashion labels often bear resemblance to Mark Renton with his buzz cut and hoop earring. While Trainspotting may have faded from the mainstream, it’s style has had lasting influence in grunge and anti-fashion. 

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