Crocs & the Comeback of Ugly Fashion
By Maija Baroni
Previously labelled fashion no-no's like the colour brown, socks with sandals, and the classic 80’s mullet seem to be making a comeback on our feeds -- and an increasing number of people are starting to consider them 'cool' again.
However, perhaps the most surprising trend to come back into style is Crocs. Or, as Urban Dictionary defines them, "quite possibly the ugliest but most comfortable shoes ever." Formerly only worn by kids below the age of 9, nurses who spend their whole day on their feet, or middle-aged science teachers, the rubber clogs are now being adopted by Gen Z.
According to the Washington Post, Crocs suffered a loss of 185 million dollars in 2008, having "mountains of shoes and no one to buy them". Now, CBC reports that Crocs Inc.'s stock price has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020.
Many are pegging Crocs' renewed success on celebrity endorsements, with stars like Justin Bieber and Post-Malone designing collabs that sometimes sell out within an hour of their release. Likewise, social media influencers like Emma Chamberlain are also frequently wearing a pair in their Instagram posts, rapidly bringing Crocs back to the social scene.
On the other hand, though some are dismissing Crocs as proof of fashion's cyclical nature and claim every trend eventually bounces back within 20-30 years, their revival could be due to something else.
Like countless other things, Crocs' glorious comeback might really be credited to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's no surprise that comfortable items have been everyone's fashion favourite over the last year. Staying in our homes has made us a lot less likely to endure uncomfortable clothing or shoes—especially if no one is there to see them.
Thus, Crocs provide the same desired Covid-life comfort as a pair of slippers while also being a more socially acceptable option to wear out of the house. (Just barely, though.)
Furthermore, these ugly but comfy shoes could also be interpreted as a bold fashion statement. Crocs and other viral Y2K staples seem to be the exact opposite of the minimal aesthetic that has dominated social media and the fashion industry for so long. Made popular by the Kardashians, the tight-fitting and neutral-toned style is gradually being rejected by teenagers. Instead, replaced by iDadcore or Y2K, their strange colours, patterns, and silhouettes rebel against the aforementioned plain style, while adding some visual excitement and needed functionality to everyday fashion.
Another important factor of Crocs’ resurgence could be nostalgia. According to VICE, psychologists claim "nostalgia is often associated with positive emotions, offering a comforting anchor during stressful times," such as a global pandemic. This could explain why Gen Z has embraced nostalgic fashion on Tik Tok, finding solace in their childhood Y2K pieces like rhinestone tanks and low-waisted jeans. And Crocs, of course.
In that sense, rediscovering nostalgic pieces is a reminder of simpler, more joyous pre-COVID days, making it an understandable coping mechanism during the unprecedented times we're living. Regardless, whether Crocs' sudden boost in popularity was caused by cyclical fashion, the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe just really great marketing, they're destined to be one of the top shoes this summer.
In other words, if you've always secretly loved Crocs but felt too embarrassed to wear them in public, there could not be a better time to justify spending $60 on a rubber clog that Time Magazine included on a list of the 50 worst inventions. Right now might be your only chance to proudly wear them out of the house, so take advantage before it's too late!
Image: Croc Shoes Twitter