The end is nigh. Or at least it’s been feeling that way for quite some time now. Perhaps it’s because the human race has really been on a downward spiral for the past few decades, slowly slipping further and further into the abyss with every passing ecological crisis, economic recession and geopolitical development. So with this cumulative aura of foreboding and existential hopelessness always hanging over us, it’s no surprise that we’ve begun styling ourselves in a way that trend forecasters are already starting to call "avant apocalypse."
And one of the celebrities currently killing when it comes to this dystopian trend? As of late, we’d argue it’s been none other than Julia Fox, who’s been taking upcycled DIY to a whole new level with just a pair of scissors and a few strokes of sartorial genius.
Defined by deconstruction, asymmetry and sculptured structural elements, Fox's brand of sharp, post-apocalyptic fashion is seemingly inspired by everything from grunge to cyberpunk to her days as a leather-clad dominatrix at a NYC dungeon. Despite the surface-level disparities though, all of these aesthetic influences work well together as a combination of several darker and more abrasive styles.
Simultaneously maximalist in their minimalism and eye-catching in their simplicity, Fox has shown that an emphasis on unconventional materials, repurposed items and a few futuro-tech elements is a recipe for some looks that are very Mad Max meets the basics aisle at Target, mostly thanks to her love of cutting up Hanes tanks and old high-waisted jeans.
This also turns out to be true even when she isn’t using actual clothes, instead opting to create couture out of some decidedly unfashionable materials à la Balenciaga’s blindingly neon caution tape catsuit or those trash bags.
For example, look no further than Fox’s TikTok about her most recent project, which she dubbed "some end of the world fashion inspo" earlier this week. After all, there are few things that feel as doomsday as being forced to wear an old, blue beach towel with a Hawaiian flower print, because new clothes don’t exist in an imagined near future where the oceans have dried up and the global economy has collapsed.
As Fox explained in her tutorial though, even a homely PacSun purchase can be turned into something chic, especially since the material has already made its "way onto the runway." So armed with a pair of scissors, she crafted a terry cloth floral dress with a high front and low back, fastened together by a safety pin to create a comfortable yet "boxy and cool" look.
But what’s most impressive (and pretty important in an end of the world situation) is its versatility, as the piece can be worn and styled in several different ways. Because while the dress can be treated as a comfortable mumu situation or revert back to being a towel, it can also be transformed into a pretty high fashion outfit with the help of a few edgy accessories, as Fox went on to demonstrate by including some black leather boots, matching elbow-length opera gloves and a pair of super futuristic Posse sunglasses.
Even though we would’ve also loved if she somehow incorporated her machete-sliced Birkin into the mix too.
lol we better learn to improvise
On a societal level though, there’s also something to be said about how her love of an ultramodern accessory and her penchant for an at-home project arguably mirrors a broader shift away from wasteful consumerism within the fashion industry. In response to growing anger surrounding the worker exploitation and negative environmental impact of fast fashion, we’ve seen many members of the younger generation start to gravitate towards crafts and thrift store finds — for better or worse.
Meanwhile, others take this line further by arguing that the avant apocalypse trend can be attributed to both the DIY renaissance and several other contemporary factors, such as our obsession with technology and sci-fi, whether it's of the utopian or dystopian variety. And as some theorize, there’s also something to be said about the larger "anti-fashion" movement and the search for individuality within an era of mass production, specifically by subverting traditional social norms and beauty standards through the exploration of more intimidating countercultures like punk and BDSM.
But whatever the underlying cause may be, what we do know for certain is that Fox has become the poster girl for the avant apocalypse trend. And so as long as she keeps showing us how to snip away at our undershirts and beach towels, we’ll be more than ready for the end of the world.
Welcome to "Internet Explorer," a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter's finest roasts, "Internet Explorer" is here to keep you up-to-date with the web's current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.
Photos via TikTok/@JuliaFox
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