Homeless chic

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 17: A model walks the runway during the Vivienne Westwood Milan Menswear Autumn/Winter 2010 show.

The idea of homelessness being some sort of cute, sexy thing that more privileged — you know, people with homes — people can imitate in order to create a specific type of grunge-like style is nothing new, as anyone who recalls John Galliano‘s Dior collection from 2000 knows. However, it is still just as absurd as ever, but seemingly more comedic these days; with sororities throwing parties with signs like ”Why lie? It’s for BOOZE.” and “Give me a nickel and I’ll tickle your pickle,” it’s hard not to wonder if the majority of our generation understands just how painful, serious and often spontaneous homelessness really is. Now, a lovely little ASOS Fashion Finder board uses a lack of basic human necessities as — wait for it — style inspo.

ASOS homeless hobo look

It was created by user sleepy_head and accompanied by this caption:

HOMELESS/HOBO LOOK: Fashion trend that is inspired by the dirty, effortless, harsh, urban, city look of the lower class.

For the record, it includes $24 Calvin Klein boxers, a Timberland parka, $200 boots and a $56 belt, among other products. Oh, and the tag #GuysNightOut. just as further evidence that there is zero possibility this wasn’t created by a total jerk.

Glamorizing an issue that so desperately needs to be eradicated is not only absurd, it’s incredibly callous and out-of-touch with the reality. So, what are some other potentially awful “styles” that we all should just disqualify now as being a potential, if not already existent, inspiration for fashion campaigns and style guides? And yet, sound peculiarly and horribly possible in every way…

  1. Conflict Zone: Fashion loves controversy and “these people vs. those people” always stirs up opinionated drama from the media. I can totally see the Kardashians making what they would see as totally adorbz Israeli/Palestinian Kasual Konflict jewelry.
  2. Sexual Violence: Oh, wait, more than one retailer already believes this is a valid way to market clothing.
  3. Genocide: I think this one’s a given.
  4. Slavery:would think this one’s a given, too, except that it’s not and it’s not and it’s not.
  5. Suicide: Sadly, this has happened before, as well.
  6. Natural disasters: Devastating circumstances that destroy homes, cause tons of destruction and lead to a loss of life aren’t exactly fashionable, nor an opportunity to offer ~*super awesome dealz*~.
  7. Illnesses: On the one hand, I think this can actually be done tastefully — provided it’s not being used to, say, sell a luxury face cream or a pair of earrings. On the other, I do not think leprosy or AIDS or cancer or any other serious illness ever fashionable.
  8. Addiction: This is one that has been done to death, and I’m still not sure why. I get that the tragedy of fame is, to some degree, intrinsically tied to addiction, and that is seen as glamorous, so people still find images inspired by an imaginarily sexy “heroin chic” and other truly horrifying dependencies to be stylish, beautiful and sought-after.
  9. Eating disorders: A similar explanation to #8, and just as sad.

While I do believe that fashion and, of course, photography can capture and ignite debate on important issues such as homelessness, I don’t believe that creating a style board for your #BoysNightOut, including $200 shoes, is it. Is “homeless chic” a valid style?

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images