A Sense of Harmony: The AntiFashion of Gummo

Today was the first day of the year to truly feel like summer and along with it came the careless freedom of throwing on an oversized band tee and a comfortable pair of Patagonia Baggies. However also with it came a fear of what is to come, the hot stillness of the summer heat. The desperation of being trapped in a town in which you cannot step outside without being suffocated by a wall of hot air so thick and humid you can nearly drink it. Everything takes on a sense of starved slowness, like crawling through pudding. It’s like being trapped in a song from Sleep or Eyehategod, both artists appearing on the soundtrack for today’s topic, Harmony Korine’s Gummo.

When Gummo was first released, people loathed it. Hell, though I find it disturbingly attractive, it’s not really a film I enjoyed all that much. However, if anything may be said about the film, it’s that it presents an incredibly strong aesthetic. It’s an aesthetic as grotesque as it is nostalgic. I’m reminded of childhood trips through backwater Virginia, I’m reminded of the RV park where we used to buy bags of ice while at the beach. A strong component of this aesthetic is the clothing, the component which personally most interests me.

The first of the film’s cast of characters is Solomon, the quasi-protagonist. He spends most of the film wearing the denim jacket pictured above. It fits him near perfect, the sleeves slightly cropped. It’s a great usage of a piece so deeply ingrained in menswear that it can hardly be discussed without using such beloved buzzwords as “timeless” and “versatile”. On the left breast (barely visible) he has a Slayer patch and two pins. It’s the perfect image of a well personalized piece which will be worn for years to come and become a component of the self. Next, there are the awful nylon checkered side-stripe pants, a piece that reeks of 90’s/Y2K gaudiness which I would not be surprised to find being sold by Urban Outfitters or Fashion Nova.

In this sadly low quality image you get a better view of the fit on the jacket’s sleeves and the nylon pants. It also shows what appears to be a pair of Converse Weapons, a shoe not only steeped in normcore but best known for the 2006 collaboration release with grunge-fashion darling – Takahiro Miyashita’s Number (N)ine.

Next we have, obviously, Tummler’s dad. The outfit as a whole reminds me of this Balenciaga campaign more than anything else. However, I do much prefer this fit, rather than feeling like a forced trend pander, this feels totally natural in all of its disgusting glory. The blazer reminds me of Take Ivy, the droopy polo of Noah, the jeans, perfectly distressed. Helmut Lang wishes his jeans had looked like that. This is the kind of fit no one would be creative (or perhaps insane) enough to think of yet, with a few tweaks, would likely be an amazing ensemble. I love it.

Again with the normcore, this time perhaps more suited to a warmer climate. Not only that, but I find the high-top basketball sneakers and sweatpants somewhat reminiscent of the Youth Crew aesthetic, another look I am quite fond of. However, the star of this show is the band tee. Ah, the band tee, the apple of 2017 Instagram’s eye. This faded and filled with holes is probably the kind of thing you’d find costing a couple hundred at a yuppie filled boutique in Los Angeles. On a similar note, check out this tee worn by Dot (played by Chloe Sevigny).

I feel a need to throw this image in out of an acknowledgment of fashion’s current love affair with the cowboy.

In the age of “AntiFashion”, the age of tie dye and Realtree camouflage, the style of Gummo seems just as much at home at an artsy house show as it does in the roach-infested homes of Xenia, Ohio.

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