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It's A Meme Fest After All: How Fashion's Exploration Of Meme Culture Made It Relatable

A bad day at work, a lover's spat or the Armageddon triggered by a wine stain on your favourite white shirt might be the recurring hindrances you face on a day-to-day basis, but in the chaos that is life, there remains something that never rarely disappoints- a meme. 

It's the newest, and by far, the funniest synonym of the water-cooler conversation; co-workers can together revel in the humour some entity on the internet provided, as can long-distance friends you don't often meet but like to stay in touch with. In summary, it's the ultimate conversation-starter, and one sans the regular boundaries. 

We may be relatively newly inducted in the metaphorical meme club, but the phenomenon is nothing new. In 1976, Richard Dawkins coined the term in his book titled ‘The Selfish Gene’, but meme culture itself had been around for at least 50 years at that time. In fact, the earliest mention of one depicting what is now popular as the 'Expectations vs Reality' framework can be found in a 1921 magazine called ‘The Judge’, published by the University of Iowa. 

Of all the memes you will find in the deep labyrinths of the internet, a fair share will be dedicated to fashion. Red carpet dressing, seemingly different sartorial styles, and everything from The Met Gala to the popular movies finds itself subjected to the witty transformations of internet users. Case in point: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s joint Met Gala appearance(s) that generated a meme fest on Twitter, succeeding the likes of Rihanna and many others before her. Of course, Instagram has its fair shares of individual accounts dedicated to the subject and up and running. Leading the crew? Siduations’s (as the name aptly suggests) hilarious Photoshop collages that mix pop culture, current issues, and runway looks seamlessly; Gryffindior’s imaginative placement of Dior merchandise into the Harry Potter universe; Reilly with their take on fashion alongside world leaders, and royalty and Freddie Smithson’s ‘ROFL-worthy’ brand game. 

The instant, skyrocketing popularity that memes generate is not lost on the industry, which has, in recent times, been quick to embrace the new facet. From a number of Balenciaga products making the news (say hello to the 7-layered Joey Tribbiani shirt look and those red McDonald’s slides) to Gucci’s meme-able runway looks that included a model holding his own artificially constructed head, brands are now keen on catching the internet’s collective eye for anything that makes the masses burst out laughing. 

Is it working? There may be no definitive argument but in a time when consumer habits are shaping brands and the way they design, meme culture is definitely making its presence felt, making once-unapproachable brands seem relatable. In the age of Instagram where virtual sharing is at an all-time high, one hilarious moment can make a brand’s product sell before it has even hit the market. In a bid to heighten sales, individual Instagrammers are now approached to ideate on brand campaigns, a move which in result earns them profit.

And while we wait collectively for the next funny moment, one thing is for certain: fashion has discovered its funny bone, hence opening its doors to all the jazz that’s out there, and it's here to stay. 

Featured Image: Instagram

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