What makes someone edgy? The immediate answer would be an original way of living and representing oneself in a way not thought of before. But how was this concept born? I would argue that the exotic plant of alternativeness springs from the seed of necessary resourcefulness.
A person who sees past the price tags, and doesn’t want to spend the month’s earnings on only three items of clothing, may look to recycle what they already have in an innovative manner or will seek cheaper options. They will almost instantaneously stand out as subversive and quirky for turning everyday or old items into something truly unique and of use. The moth eaten and oversized charity shop buy that has since been redecorated or the dusty and grainy record player takes everyone by surprise and all at once becomes the new ‘cool’.
This kind of cool lies in the curiosity of the public. In a society obsessed with all things brand new and shiny, it is refreshing to come across something a bit dated or different – something with a story behind it. Naturally, this new find is soon hijacked by high fashion and the high street, or indeed opportunistic people trying to make a quick buck in a niche market before it dissipates into the buzzing void that is the world of the trend, perhaps toxifying all things vintage and indie in the process. This then begs the question, can the most people buying from “edgy” stores and boutiques today consider themselves to be truly a part of the “indie” and alternative community? Especially since they themselves are not innovating nor are they acting out of resourcefulness, as they are not strapped for cash. In this case, they are no longer riding against the trends, but with it instead. These people shy back to their minimalist apartments and overpriced cereal without an original thought having entered their head on their shopping trip.
Arguably, the internet and social media has brought an end to true quirk in consumer choices, because no one can confidently say if, when and how they have been influenced in some way. An idea they believe to be utterly their own and untouched may have been implanted in their heads many double taps and up swipes ago.
Maybe, then, to solve this issue, we should be calling out more copycats, purposeful or not, and praising more innovators, so that we may return to the roots of edge and find originality in its purest form once again.
There are already voices out there acting out and getting this message across. The instagram, Diet Prada, in particular, a collective of curators who regularly put designers to shame who poach the original ideas of others in such an explicit manner, yet go unnoticed. They do so with a keen eye and a loyal and informative fan base. Not only does this account bring a stop to fraud but also brings the need to the think of new ideas to the forefront of conversation in the fashion industry. Following a trend is one thing, pulling off something unique to someone else as your own idea or creation is another entirely.