Birkenstocks. Dad sneakers. Fanny packs. All of these anti-fashion must-haves are either going to send a shiver down your spine or make your heart skip a beat, because they are comfortable, familiar, practical, and until recently have been categorised as ugly. Now that they are part of streetwear and big fashion houses are putting their logos on them they are no longer considered ugly in the shameful sense of the word. They might still be ugly, but they are also cool, quirky, edgy, and most importantly, desirable.
Anti-fashion is rebelling against traditional luxury and fashion rules. Tim Gunn, equipped with an extraordinary sense of style might consider Crocs “aesthetically offensive”, but that didn’t stop Balenciaga from making them into one of 2018’s most popular shoes and selling them for €700.
The rise of comfortable, familiar, ugly, practical and authentic anti-fashion made me wonder about basket bags. Even though baskets have never been called ugly, they were instead thought of as something your nana used to carry. We at FONOTT get many comments on Instagram that our baskets remind people of their childhood or vacations to the South of France. Basket bags are definitely familiar and comfortable to many of us. They have been there all along, only now we see them in a new light.
Comfort and familiarity are both common traits of anti-fashion. According to Robin Givhan’s article for the Washington Post “anti-fashion looks were born out of the collective ennui of fashion insiders searching for something more authentic”. And you cannot get more authentic than baskets handmade in Hungary using weaving technics passed down from one generation to the next.
At the same time basket lack practicality. Fanny packs keep your phone close to your tapping finger and ugly sneakers will take you through your entire shopping spree without causing pain. Yes, baskets are practical when you use them for their original purpose: storage and transport. But carrying your phone, wallet and lipstick while running around town is hardly a task exclusively reserved for baskets. Instead, what so captivating about them is the promise of their practicality and their off-duty vibe. That you could be transporting fresh produce from the market, but instead you are choosing to order an acai bowl for lunch with your basket carefully positioned on the table for a perfect Instagram shot.
So have we been tricked all along? Are basket bags only fashionable because they are, in fact, not fashionable at all? While baskets are certainly more comfortable and familiar than high fashion is supposed to be, they don’t attract the same level of confusion and rage as fanny packs and ugly sneakers. They do less dividing and more romanticising over weekend trips to the market or summer sunsets. And this will hopefully give them staying power that will last longer than those of controversial anti-fashion pieces we all love to hate.