Nirvana

Fall 2021 Trend

Inspired by the grunge music scene chiefly led by the legendary Kurt Cobain, Seattle’s subculture of the 80’s and 90’s became a leading fashion trend – even though the grunge consumer ignored fashion completely, instead opting to find most of their wardrobe at thrift stores.

Thus the challenge for designers was to make a new, thoughtfully crafted piece appear worn and genuine. Few designers manage to get this right. In 1992, designer Marc Jacobs unveiled a collection that was the embodiment of grunge – even though (or perhaps because) it was what got him fired from Perry Ellis. Today, the brand at the forefront of carrying on the grunge legacy is undeniably R13.

As a younger generation worries more and more about their carbon footsteps and the sustainability of fashion, thrift shopping continues to rise – here’s to hoping we can find that Marc Jacobs’ piece from the 90’s tucked away on a thrift shelf. In the meantime, R13 does it all, complete with plaid, platform soles, and Sonic Youth tees.

Other brands follow closely behind. Raf Simons brings his signature modernism to oversized grunge sweaters. While many houses have had success in doubling down on knits, only Etudes has really nailed the 90’s cut jeans. Y/Project and Balenciaga bring couture experimentation to clashy maximalism – shall we call it avant-grunge?