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Teenage kicks: what's behind the trend for scribbled-on trai
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TOPIC: Teenage kicks: what's behind the trend for scribbled-on trai
Teenage kicks: what's behind the trend for scribbled-on trai 10 Months ago  
Teenage kicks: what's behind the trend for scribbled-on trainers?

There was a time when etching your current squeeze’s name, or maybe just an acid house smiley face, onto your Kickers in Tippex was the height of cool. This season, the fashion industry has taken note(s) and has been scribbling on its sneakers like it’s 1997.

Kim and Kanye’s customisable Yeezy Boost 350 V2s for kids, with “peace”, “love” and the names of their children written on them, sold out almost instantly when they went on sale last week – they have already been restocked. (It can’t have hurt that one-child Truman Show North West wore a pair of her own customised Yeezy kicks for a trip to New York’s Natural History Museum about a week before the drop.)

The new season Adidas Stan Smiths, complete with scrawled phrases such as “yes I’m crazy” and “nobody is perfect”, are currently on sale for $335 (£257). While the Vetements x Reebok Instapump Furies, featuring such choice phrases as: “I’m bored”, “full on life” and “so good”, as well as that old classic the CND sign, sold out in no time earlier this year, despite a £586 price tag. They came about a year after head Vetements designer and industry pied piper Demna Gvasalia was spotted wearing a pair of done-in Converse he had apparently scribbled on himself. Saying things such as “our alter & our hearts”, as well as the name of the Russian singer Zemfira written in Cyrillic, they looked like a particularly high-brow desk in any secondary school across the country.

Kanye West collaborator Virgil Abloh’s Off White label has recently collaborated with Nike on various written-on versions of their trainers. Bella Hadid last week stepped out in a pair yet to be officially released – “Virgil was here” was scribbled on their side. And Dolce and Gabbana kept the fashion industry on its toes with its studded autumn/winter collection sneakers embellished with phrases apparently designed to reflect millennial style, from: “I’m thin & gorgeous” to: “Sorry I’m the best”. Cue a collective facepalm at their misjudged attempts to mimic millennials.

Fiona Firth, buying director at MRPORTER.COM, where the Vetements x Reebok trainers “flew off the site”, describes how “what was once a school pastime to blow off some creative steam” has now become “a recognised artform”. We might not be talking Titian here, but there is a Keith Haring-esque impulse at play.

The links back to the DIY philosophy of the punk era are obvious. Denim jackets defaced with biros were an integral part of the punk uniform. Tony Glenville, creative director at the London College of Fashion, cites the fashion of this era in general as a touchstone: “Graffiti on clothing is very 80s – from Stephen Sprouse through Castelbajac, it was a global thing.” The fact that scribblings are having a moment is, for him, akin to “the ripped jeans of Bros now reappearing, it’s part of realising how long ago the 80s was! Plus of course,” he says, “fashion has no memory”.

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