The Rise of Curated Chaos in Fashion: Embracing the Messy Aesthetic

The Rise of Curated Chaos in Fashion: Embracing the Messy Aesthetic

From overflowing bags on the catwalk to carefully staged messy Instagram posts, fashion embraces curated chaos as a reflection of the shifting zeitgeist.

Fashion has always been a mirror of the times we live in, reflecting societal trends and cultural shifts. In the spring/summer 2024 catwalks, a new trend emerged: curated chaos. Gone are the days of polished and pristine looks; now, fashion celebrates the messy aesthetic. From unzipped, overflowing bags on the catwalk to carefully staged messy Instagram posts, this article explores how curated chaos has become a reflection of our current zeitgeist.

The Paradigms of Curated Chaos

The paradigms of curated chaos are abundant in the fashion world. Models now walk down the catwalk with unzipped, overflowing bags cradled under their arms, giving the illusion of a messy, everyday life. However, upon closer inspection, these bags reveal only a single high heel and stylish branded pants, far from the reality of a commuter’s bag filled with orange-stained Tupperware and smelly gym socks.

Even celebrities are embracing this curated chaos. Kim Kardashian appeared on the front cover of GQ’s men of the year issue, eating a bag of Cheetos while wearing an expensive suit. While her fingers remain clean, a clear impossibility when eating the corn-puff snacks, the image portrays a carefully constructed disarray.

The Online Manifestation

Curated chaos has also made its way into the online world. Influencers like Emma Chamberlain and Julia Fox have popularized a laissez-faire style that communicates authenticity. Blurry shots of smeared dinner plates, wine-stained tablecloths, and unfiltered crying have replaced the well-lit DSLR photos of avocado on toast. Messiness has become the default online, as people strive to appear less perfect and more relatable.

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Rachel Lee, a global insights strategist, explains that being messy online has become a coping mechanism and a backlash against the meticulously controlled aesthetics of being a “clean girl” or a “boss bitch.” It reflects an idea of undoneness and an almost fatalistic attitude, as people embrace the messy aesthetic in a world that feels chaotic.

The Aesthetic of Curated Chaos

While curated chaos may seem like an anti-aesthetic, it is still an aesthetic in itself. Every blurred selfie and carefully staged messy photo involves a deliberate selection and curation process. On TikTok, there are even guides on how to create a feed that looks messy. Curated chaos has its own style signifiers, even as it claims to reject traditional aesthetics.

However, the fact that brands and individuals are now co-opting curated chaos to sell products adds another layer of complexity. While it may seem authentic, curated chaos comes with a caveat: authenticity cannot be bought.

Conclusion: Curated chaos has become a reflection of our current times, embracing the messy aesthetic as a way to be more relatable and authentic. From overflowing bags on the catwalk to carefully staged messy Instagram posts, fashion has shifted towards a curated chaos that celebrates imperfection. However, even in this chaos, there is still a level of curation and aestheticization. As we navigate this new era of fashion, it is important to remember that authenticity cannot be manufactured or bought.