Sounds more like onomatopoeia for a car accident than a fashion statement…
A combination of ‘bling’ and ‘bland’, it’s the new look du jour for hip young things.
How does one combine such different ideologies?
It’s an assertion of identity no different than ‘bling’ — not just the absence of it, but consciously avoiding it as a fashion and lifestyle statement.
How do I do it?
Take the term ‘bling’ and reverse it. Big and shiny is out, muted and understated is in. Bling’s ideologically masculine, aggressive stance is making way for unobtrusive, calm androgyny. No more high-top sneakers, diamantes on handbags or huge jacket slogans.
And the point is?
Like the distinctive hippie look of the late 60s, bling was a way for a similarly repressed underclass (young urban black Americans) to rebel against The Man.
After almost ten years of the market co-opting such culture, The Man now owns bling, embedding it everywhere from toddlers’ T-shirts to mobile phone advertising. True rebels now realise standing apart from the glittering and bejewelled mainstream means not standing out.
Is it political?
Partly. The noughties have been similar to the 80s, where economic prosperity encouraged ostentatious displays of wealth. After American blacks have suffered with everything from vote corruption to Hurricane Katrina and with the US economy heading into downturn, such crass declarations of riches are starting to fall out of vogue again.
Who’s doing it?
Those on the cutting edge of cool — designers, architects, online content managers, ultra-hip city bartenders in New York and London — people who know that as soon as you see a term in a department store catalogue, it’s by definition not cool any more.