Bella Hadid on the streets of New York in December, hinting at the ‘weird girl’ aesthetic.
*Zoe Walker Ahwa is the style editor of Stuff, and co-founder of fashion and beauty website Ensemble.
As a fashion editor – and fashion lover – I’ve always believed that weird is good. But mostly, it’s very subjective. So when I started seeing the “weird girl aesthetic” pop up on my TikTok and social feeds, I was intrigued.
My first question: who decides strangely? Second, why was this ‘trend’ happening now, just the latest in TikTok-influenced micro-trends (remember quirky and beachy granny, and more recently, Barbiecore?).
At its most basic level, the ‘weird girl’ aesthetic is: layers, colours, textures, prints, often worn all at once. It’s considered a playful outfit that embraces expressiveness (including makeup that’s proudly messy) and is inspired by ’90s and Y2K style; a look that says, “I found these pieces at a thrift store you’ve never heard of.”
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Its influence can currently be seen in the proliferation of tight baby t-shirts, skimpy mini skirts, vintage logos, distressed denim, sheer fabrics and cutouts, and chunky shoes in vintage shops and chain stores in malls. commercial. It’s the reason companies like Glassons are selling printed mesh tops and a cotton midi skirt.
Supermodel Bella Hadid has become the epitome of this Gen Z way of dressing, with street-style looks that hint at “weird”: a chunky knit beanie, pierced with earrings and sunglasses around the point petrol, a jacket paired with one of those bad knees. -long denim pencil skirts, knee socks with sneakers. They are looks that are the antithesis of her usual, hyper-glam fashion, and are therefore considered ‘weird’.
This word may have negative connotations for some, and of course this aesthetic has been met with criticism. Earlier this year, Twitter user @kaiageber (no, not the model and daughter of Cindy Crawford) tweeted about it asking if it was “anti-fashion”.
“Are people trying too hard to look ugly? Does it only work on bella hadid? Let’s discuss”, she wrote.
The discussion led to more criticism of the trend, including that it was oversized and fat, and that by holding Hadid as the ‘leader’ of the look, it dismissed or whitewashed its origins (ie, the heavy layered aesthetic and Tokyo Harajuku Girls accessories and streetwear photos featured in the pioneering street style magazine Fruits).
There was also criticism that by turning it into a fashion trend, she chose an approach to style that was all about DIY and consciously rejecting fashion.
“The ‘weird girl’ aesthetic that high-end brands are jumping on was literally invented by people who are thrifty, make their own clothes, and buy from small independent brands,” wrote TikTok user @ hunnygloss.
This is a reminder of the true spirit of ‘weird’: not a trend, but an attitude. Locally, you’ll find this at exciting multi-brand stores that celebrate DIY brands, sustainability and young creativity with an art school bent, such as Sabotage MFG, That Looks and NVV World in Auckland and Bizarre Bazaar in Wellington. And there are plenty of local independent designers to support, whether you want to go full ‘weird girl’ or just rock it (try brands like Crappy Lovely, Emma Jing, Karaoke Superstars and Caitlin Snell).
I visited Wellington last week and saw a lot of this ‘weird girl’ aesthetic out in the open, layered and worn by students who were clearly developing their own sense of style and identity through affordable clothing that they bought and owned. self made.
In other words: self-expression, the embodiment of true personal style, whether there’s a common buzzword for it or not.