Meme fashion: Changing our clothes and breaking the internet

Grumpy Cat, Pepe the Frog, Evil Kermit and Creepy Condescending Wonka are some of the world’s best-known memes.

But it looks like fashion memes could be giving them a run for their money.

Brands and products that went viral or became internet memes have not only become talking points this year, they’ve also seen an increase in sales.

The latest year in fashion list from global fashion search engine Lyst suggests that looking, LOL-ing, and then buying could be becoming more of a thing.

Here are some of the extraordinary fashion items that turned internet heads this year.

High-heeled Crocs

They’ve been mocked, teased and shunned.

But Crocs have seen a surge in their sales, fuelled by ugly fashion trends, high-end collaborations and memes.

These £600 Balenciaga crocs sold out before they were even released.

Maybe it’s time for us to admit that Crocs are actually cool?

Even Post Malone has a pair.

It’s unclear whether brands are deliberately creating products to go viral, but there is a “certain amount of meme-baiting going on”, according to Katy Lubin from Lyst.

Their annual list puts meme fashion as one of the year’s biggest trends.

Katy says brands have been pushing products to their “extremes” in order to get people excited and “provoke a reaction online”.

“Whether that reaction is outrage that this thing is so expensive or weird… or kind of funny – that this thing just makes me laugh,” she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Nearly every item in Balenciaga’s collection

Balenciaga nearly broke the internet when they released their double-layered shirt earlier this year.

Is it smart? Is it casual? Clearly, it’s both.

If the two-layered shirt left you scratching your head, then this seven-layered jacket will truly have you confused.

And here’s another Balenciaga fashion favourite, just for you foodies.

Are you lovin’ it?

It turns out people are, and according to Katy a lot of these meme products are even “selling out worldwide”.

“For the wearer of one of these items, it’s a real kind of badge of internet culture awareness to get your hands on one of these pieces.”

She adds: “There’s a kind of provocative element to it, like, ‘I’m in on this joke. I get it, don’t you?'”

Kanye’s tiny Yeezy Sliders

For the second-year running, sliders have been summer’s most wanted shoe.

And although GG Supreme Slides (they call them Slides in the US) were the most searched on Lyst, Kanye’s sliders also became a talking point – for being too small.

But why do people then seek out these products on the internet?

“Sometimes there’s a sort of curiosity element to it,” Katy explains.

“But there is a core audience that’s also buying these things, whether they’ll end up being collectors’ items or whether it’s just a statement piece to wear because everyone’s been talking about it.”

Perhaps Kanye deliberately wore too small a size so these bad boys would gain even more attention…

Skip Twitter post by @QueenMickalina

I’m pretty sure these are a joke lol the other day everyone was roasting him for wearing tiny slides and now he’s posting “these big enough for you??” Tweets 😂 I’ve been laughing for two days straight pic.twitter.com/r1x9VciixA

— MilkyJoe (@QueenMickalina) August 31, 2018

End of Twitter post by @QueenMickalina

That Giant Straw Jacquemus Hat

Who needs a beach umbrella when you can shade yourself (and everyone else) with the La Bomba hat?

Laugh all you want, but this hat has been circulated so widely on the internet that it even has its own fan art on Tumblr.

And at over one-foot high and nearly two-feet wide, it’s safe to say that it was practically made for Instagram.

According to Katy it might have been, as a lot of fashion items are now “totally inspired by the internet and meme culture”.

“Internet culture is informing design in a way that’s quite authentic and real,” she adds.

She believes customers have more control as they can now “make their own trends, set their own agendas and share what they like”.

And that’s how meme fashion was born.

Lyst’s data was calculated by tracking more than 100 million searches from 80 million shoppers across 120 countries.

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