We have been at this Attire thing for as long as Homo Sapiens Sapiens have been around. And who knows what our predecessors might have gotten up to, sartorially? But in all that time there has been one constant among many others that is germane here. We have never thought that clothing that looked overly worn, badly treated, or torn was acceptable, or desirable. Until now. Its a uniquely modern expression within the Attire language. The idea that a garment that has been deliberately made to look as though it had been manhandled, or simply worn till it was about to disintegrate is a thoroughly contemporary notion.
By the time we get to the Punk movement, the notion of massively altering and intentionally violating a garments integrity became a strong visual statement of not only rebellion, but complete refusal to traffic with the established order.
Now, I'm not the sort who immediately rushes to the most negative conclusion. Far from it. In fact I can be kind of a Pollyanna sometimes. It is hard, though to look at this phenomenon, the growth of such a number of new words in the Attire vocabulary that all refer to this kind of expression, and not think there is something dark in operation.
First, and I think most significantly, wearing clothing that looks worn, torn, and roughed up says that the wearer doesn't place much value on themselves. And please understand, I am talking about going out and purchasing clothing that creates this look, not the clothing of people of scant means, fetish gear, or those who follow the punk aesthetic in their dress. How we present ourselves to the world speaks, loudly, about how we feel about ourselves internally
Secondly, we are living in a world where the division between wealth and poverty is widening rapidly. And this desire for deformed and deconstructed clothing says two things that apply in this regard. For some, its a way of saying, "I may be rich, but I'm still one of the proletariat. You needn't fear me, or attack me." For others its a subtle acquiescence to the fact that many of us are falling behind, and down. By wearing such things we accept being given less, we accept the idea that we deserve less. Its an insinuating, sly methodology for getting people to be content with shoddy, cheap, and tawdry. And that disturbs me deeply.