An intentionally ugly aesthetic is earning likes on social media and proving a bankable trend for brands…
Ugly is so in right now. You might have noticed it: the seemingly unlikely popularity of clunky, perplexing footwear, the intentionally ugly selfies that have gone viral. As the staged perfection of social media has become a norm, backlash has been building against carefully curated feeds, full of envy-inducing photos that are anything but an accurate depiction of the life behind the lens. An ugly aesthetic challenges the un-reality of our digital reflections, and is anything but mainstream. Nothing sticks out on a page quite like a brown gravy-laden dish in a feed full of avocado toast or an un-flattering selfie in the (popular photo-editing app) Facetune era. Being “aggressively unglamorous,” as Quartz calls it, works on the ‘gram because Unique is the New Cool among young consumers, and ugly is anything but basic.
For some, ugly isn’t just a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Eyebrow-raising aesthetic choices could be considered acts of transgression in a turbulent time, when young consumers are feeling record levels of anxiety and pressure to appear perfect. The Paris Review explains that ugly fashion comes from a long tradition of sticking it to the status quo. The ‘80s had punk, 2018 has clogs. The founder of the @cloglife Instagram account explains that ugly looks go far beyond an affinity for clunky footwear; it’s an escape from sometimes hard-to-handle world: “When I think about ultimate planet clog, there is no news. There are no politics, no bad doctor’s appointments. It is a stupidly comfortable place of bad good taste,” and clogs are just “a ‘tiny part’ of this vision.”
So, from doodle-grade tattoos and bruised bananas, we took a look at 5 things getting an ugly makeunder: