From Kim Kardashian to Miu Miu and Loewe, tradition is repositioning the dweeb as a newfound determine of aspiration
Textual content Daniel Rodgers
Since reducing ties with Balenciaga and Kanye West, Kim Kardashian has did not choose a constant aesthetic able to redefining her private model. It’s a psychic break that has seemingly expressed itself by way of slogan t-shirts (Björk and Disney and NBA merch) as she makes an attempt to shed her once-spandexed pores and skin. That reached a weird apex earlier this week when she attended a Lakers sport with the phrases “I LOVE NERDS” brandished throughout her chest. Kim would most likely perish on the sight of a real-life geek, however the phrase appeared to acknowledge a shift in vogue that has repositioned asocial virgins as newfound figures of aspiration. Meaning cardigans, shapeless skirts, and off-hue tights by some means really feel extra related than the babetastic seems central to the Y2K revival. Not that Kim is more likely to reposition herself as an outright dweeb, although. In any case, their principal purpose is to shrink and flinch from the highlight. As vogue publications waxed lyrical about “the return of clothes” and “the shock of wearable garments”, the nu-nerd rose up: galumphing onto the AW23 catwalks in sturdy brogues and knee-length skirts. Fashions’ hair was left unbrushed at Miu Miu and their spindly legs have been uncovered beneath outsized cardigans at Loewe (to not point out the 8-bit gamer hoodies of SS22), whereas Molly Goddard put them in old style Honest Isle knits and stolid velvet attire. Talia Byre and Maison Margiela rearranged wise blouses into awkward drapes, as Jezabelle Cormio and Kiko Kostadinov took to gymnasiums to spill their very own gawkish coming-of-age fantasies onto the newsfeed. In 2023, the dork is much less cartoonified than when Marc Jacobs did it within the 90s, and there are much less fake specs and mustachioed fingers than there have been on hipster Tumblr, however the nerd is nonetheless current… hiding in plain sight and plain-er clothes.
Style tradition itself can be experiencing a second of geekdom, with the pop-critic already a serious protagonist on sure corners of the web: be that Rayne Fisher-Quann, the Nymphet Alumni ladies, or Rian Phin – every one utilizing video essays, Substack, and Patreon podcasts to encourage individuals to consider vogue, or fashion-adjacent issues, as a cultural pursuit worthy of detailed evaluation. Whereas digital media continues to saturate the newsfeed with breathless trend-labelling (and never sufficient criticism) an emergent group of chin-strokers are offering depth, studying lists, and references. Phin, for instance, connects the emergence of “dweeb couture” to a need to take care of distinction from the web’s hyper-aestheticised cores. Therefore all of the mundane clothes rendered in ‘take me severely’ shades of brown, ochre, and mustard. Beneath all of this, nevertheless, is an apparent try to face out as cool – these individuals would baulk on the gruelling life-style obligations related to being a World of Warcraft fanatic who works in CeX. There’s additionally an unlikely eroticism that collects round all these matronly skirts, marmalade cardigans, and polka dot blouses: gadgets which have emerged at Miu Miu and Prada in all types of post-coital creases. Regardless of the goofball-coded seems, these collections huffed and puffed with an odd form of need. Huge knickers figured beneath come-hither slips, and shirts have been haphazardly stuffed into sheer tights as if fashions had been speed-dating at a Lego conference. In any case, “ugly is enticing, ugly is thrilling”, and there’s a jolt of eroticism that happens when these two issues overlap – which implies the nu-nerd is much less Napoleon Dynamite, and extra Parker Posey starring as an NYC membership girl-turned-librarian in 1995’s Celebration Lady.