Words by Nicole Thomsen
March 29th, 2017
The story of the ‘ugly’ shoe is a relatively short one. The coin was termed, or became fashion mainstream at least, in the Noughties, and so began our love-hate affair with shoes previously deemed too hideous to wear. What started with Uggs soon progressed onto Birkenstocks and continued so up until last September when Crocs made their runway debut. Yes, Crocs.
Perhaps the most hated shoe in recent history paraded the catwalk as part of Christopher Kane’s spring/summer 2017 collection during London Fashion Week (and again for his autumn/winter show in February). Styled with slip dresses, midi skirts, deconstructed T-shirts and leopard print raincoats, the infamous foam clogs were given a fashion makeover but whether or not this makes them more appealing is another matter. Embellished with stones and rendered in a marbled design, these high-fashion Crocs come in at an astronomical €325. The original Crocs cost €35.
But despite their clunkiness and unexplainable price tag, Crocs are happening. As in, those in the upper echelons of fashion who are generally considered stylish have fallen victim to the ugly shoe. Or have they?
You could assume that designers like Christopher Kane are trying their best to popularise a shoe that’s comfortable in the hopes it will become fashionable, given that comfy, flat shoes have done so well in the market lately. But let’s call a spade a spade here; placing Crocs on the runway is a surefire way to get people talking, for better or worse, and ensure you’re the most popular show of the day. The same goes for bloggers and influencers alike. Uploading a picture of something so divisive to Instagram is guaranteed to get a reaction, and in this day and age, the amount of followers and likes you have on social media determines your success. These posts are merely clickbait.
As with Birkenstocks, while Crocs may seem hideous now, when our favourite and trusted fashion It girls are seen sporting them, for whatever reason, alongside outfits we’d normally covet, our perception can change. No doubt the Olsen twins were lambasted on the fashion miss lists when they first sauntered about in Birkenstocks all those years ago. And now? Birkenstocks are the most searched for branded sandals.
We’re in an era of ‘ugly’ shoes (according to the masses) but of course, what one considers an abomination, someone else sees the appeal. Fashion is cyclical and chunky shoes are on trend but soon these will lose their appeal as we long for the slender sex appeal of stiletto heels once more. But for now, Crocs might just be the shoe of the summer. Whether or not you buy into this trend is up to you.
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