Middle Market Misery

Other, newer, designers are also using a grunge influence in a more modern context – picking at certain areas for inspiration but not committing to it as much as Marc Jacobs did, and there is a reason for this. Real, original grunge died out in the 90’s with the death of Kurt Cobain but it’s influences have stretched out over time to create a modern ‘faux grunge’ – girls who like to dress down and wear a casual ‘thrift store’ look, but are willing to spend a lot of money to do so. They take inspiration from the original movement but with a lot of dark, sheer fabrics as well as a use of leather.

Richard Chai is a new designer, who released his first collection in 2004. Previous to this he worked with Marc Jacobs and helped launch the Marc by Marc Jacobs label. His style is highly tailored and slightly feminine. In 2008 Chai released his menswear line that got him the recognition he has today.

Chai's style is casual but mixes fabrics like silks with wool and tweed. Until recently Chai's collections seemed to be pretty feminine and delicate with no spark of grunge at all, however, his current collection for fall 2011 tells a different story. The picture on the left is from Chai's menswear collection for 2011. The baggy, dull-coloured look on his menswear collection definitely has a grunge influence. His womenswear for 2011 also seems to have turned over a new leaf, with tailored, fitted, and feminine styles being replaced with baggy, oversized knits over trousers with coats. His first collection for womens RTW seemed to be all nude and white with an innocent touch but that has been dirtied up with blacks, dark blue, olives and browns.

Because of the price tag, Chai seems to design for the mid-market who are fashion conscious, with dresses around the £350 mark. A great example of a designer who embodies these things is Nicholas K in his Fall 2010 ready-to-wear collection – he exhibits a wide range of sheer tops, leather detailed leggings, heavy boots and versatile flannel shirt/skirts. The darker look is sure to appeal to the younger faux grunge audience, but the ties back to the original movement are obvious.

Nicholas K is a new designer who started in 2009. His debut collection follows the androgynous grunge style. For both males and females, it was quite a casual, easy look with baggy dresses, cardigans, trousers and shirts in neutral cream and heavy shades of black. His collection last year for Spring was still that baggy ‘I don't care’ look, however he introduced coloured dresses which were ripped and teamed them with a heavy knitwear.

The fall collection last year took on a hugely dark and grunge style for both men and women. The models wore heavy black eye makeup, the colour of the clothes was mainly black and dark grey and they still showing the baggy, layered look. This years Spring collection is still grungy and definite similarities can be seen to the previous collection. However, the colours are lighter with a more military look with olive and green shades with browns and greys.

Nicholas K's collections all shout ‘faux grunge’, from the baggy style, layering, use of check and colours. The price range is fairly affordable and you can pick up a shirt for £70. The garments are appealing all together as an outfit. So if you buy the shirt, to get that look people want so badly, you have to buy the whole outfit.