How to look alternative when looking alternative is liiike totally mainstream

This, I think, is a problem for a lot of people? Aged 16, we all woke up and put on our coloured tights and covered our faces in glitter (seriously […]

This, I think, is a problem for a lot of people? Aged 16, we all woke up and put on our coloured tights and covered our faces in glitter (seriously hope other people did this) and walked in hordes around London (substitute your own birthplace) feeling pretty fucking cool because all those mainstream kids in their flares had no idea what was going on…  

Back then, if you knew what American Apparel was, you were one of the lucky few let into a super alternative secret. Then, we went home and uploaded the photos of said evening onto myspace and changed our profile song to yet another weird band with no more than 10 followers, sat back in our neon glory, and thought, “Wow, I am the shit.  And I haven’t even begun.  When I’m twenty, I’m going to be the most alternative person in the world.” And, if you were high, you thought maybe even the universe.

Well, now I am twenty.  What the fuck happened?  When I walk down the street, anywhere at any time or any place I am guaranteed to see someone wearing more or less exactly the same outfit.  And I try really hard.  I mean, I don’t want to look like a freak but I change my outfit seven times a day, sort through dozens of high waisted shorts, change my Ray-Ban frames, cut my fringe, shave my head, but, WHATEVER I DO, someone else has done the same thing.  Not just someone else, everyone else.

I’ll tell you what happened: Blogs. I’m not here to rant about blogs (I really hate them and the internet), but I’m just sayin’ that with the rise of bloggers blogging everything and every single nice piece of clothing being immediately shown around the world within ten milliseconds of its creation.  We all know where to get the items which were once a bit individual and a bit ‘out there’.  You used to have to bump physically into someone wearing the same outfit before you realised that you were not alone in purposely rolling one of your trouser legs up and the other down. Now, you just have to type in hipster to google (or bing if you’re trying really hard) and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, your carefully crafted individuality is staring out at you from a million different faces.

So here’s the question:  How does one look alternative? And is it even possible?

The answer: Abandon the internet. Seriously, if you have no idea what everyone else is wearing then hopefully – and maybe I’m being naive – everyone will start to look a bit different again because the only point of reference will be yourself (obviously, you can’t buy fashion magazines either).

If you’re not that dedicated but you decide you want to give this ‘being truly alternative’ thing a shot, at least make sure that you avoid the following at all costs: Topshop, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. Yes, this will be hard, but they provide a uniform for the masses and you don’t want it, thank you very much. Nevertheless, just because you have abandoned these clothing stores doesn’t mean you should flounce off to the nearest charity shop and buy the first item you see.  

Charity shops can be a source of lovely clothes.  They also contain a lot of shit.
Remember this, ye intrepid shopper: if something was disgusting in 1970, it will almost definitely be disgusting now. Also, whilst I ponder charity shops, I should make it clear that shopping in a charity shop isn’t alternative – everyone does that too. Having said that, if you want to update your alternative-turned-mainstream wardrobe cheaply, then they are the place to start. Cool. Glad we sorted that out.

By now, you’re probably despairing and wondering why you started reading this article because it hasn’t helped you at all. FEAR NOT. THE END IS NIGH. If you really, really want to be alternative (and I have thought long and hard about this) I suggest you start experimenting with shape. I don’t mean a cheeky padded shoulder; I mean proper experimenting. Everything else has been done – hemlines, colour, material – the only thing that you never see on the streets is someone walking around looking like a triangle.  

So, how to be alternative? Change your physical shape so you don’t look like a ‘human’ anymore. Is that a bold venture? Yes. Will you actually look different and interesting? Yes.

Come on guys, do it for your sixteen year-old-selves. And if being a box catches on, at least we know we did it first.