Chris Leba at R13 creates distressed and faded denim outfits that look cutting edge. Lockdown has forced a re-assessment of clothing in terms of formality and context. R13 makes clothes that until lockdown could still be viewed as counter-mainstream, but with a further relaxation of accepted styles or the tendency for people to be further removed from office etiquette in conference calls, whaat was once distressed and faded, torn and worn, is now what people put (or leave) on most days.
R13 is clearly influenced by grunge. Grunge was never really political per se. As as fashion and cultural movement it was more accurately a -stand inside to be outside stance on consumer capitalism that with —- became swallowed into the mainstream. Before it punk suffered the same fate – where Vivienne Westwood had taken conservative deconstruction of working class values and reworked the remaining pieces into something new, so did Thatcher’s conservatives, eventually.
The internet age has reworked postmodernism not as a blank slate, as many feared, but as a shinier reworking of things past. For a long while nobody has really minded the condensation of these values; instance availability of whatever we want has been a boon.
Covid has not destroyed the dependency, but the novelty has worn thin as the availability has become a necessity. In as much it threatens the whole postmodernist stance back to the 1960s. Instead of stating, ‘whatever’, people have begun questioing the value of ‘whatever’, and doubting that what came before (that so much of the internet depends on asthetically) was leading anywhere but to ‘whatever’.
Expect a new formalism to follow in which the likes of R13 will have to fight for their lives.