What is ironic fashion and why is TikTok so obsessed with it?

What you’re wearing isn’t ugly, cheesy, or cheap — it’s just ironic.

Whether it’s a cheeky graphic tee, a Canadian tuxedo or a Nickleback tee, wearing something universally recognized as tacky has become as powerful as wearing the coolest Nike or Yeezy sneakers. hot. The untrained eye may not understand your outfit, but you and your friends will. As they say, if you know, you know.

This phrase is what made streetwear cool – but with once-niche styles saturating everything from Instagram to TikTok, it seems too many people are in the know. Now, in response to the evolution of streetwear from exclusive to mainstream, a handful of consumers have pared their style down to niche pieces not found on celebrity hypebeast or leak pages. There is a demand for clothes that will make the average person stop scrolling.

In turn, brands have launched their best anti-fashion fashion looks: Balenciaga has turned Crocs into three-digit shoes, Vetements has turned work uniforms into popular streetwear, and Moschino is currently taking inspiration from clown fashion. The pieces we usually wear when no one is watching are now at the center of runways and social media.

in the joke

Ruis (left) and Schiller (right), the two founders of OGBFF.

On TikTok and Instagram, tongue-in-cheek fashion regularly attracts views and likes, another selling point for the styles. Bold graphic tees seem to get the most attention – mostly positive – largely due to the influence of the OGBFF (otherwise known as Your Original Best Friend) brand. The label, led by Los Angeles-based duo Lauren Schiller and Angela Ruis, has developed a cult following with t-shirts that say “hot person at work”, “tits for brains” and “Jesus saves, I spend” .

Schiller and Ruis launched their e-commerce site last year after initially selling their t-shirts more casually to friends and on Depop. The two note that their designs were originally created so that only the two of them could wear them. One night, the duo Photoshopped into Taco Bell, a regular friends feast, and decided to create a graphic “funny enough to put on a t-shirt,” according to Ruis. She already owned a clothing printer, so the two got to work and created their first tee, which read, “Step back, I have an extremely crazy best friend; she has anger issues and needs a therapist; treat me like a queen; don’t flirt with me.

” Everything that is ridiculous and funny put itself on a t-shirt.”

After Schiller and Ruis posted photos of themselves wearing the shirt, messages started pouring in on Instagram with people asking to buy. What started as a prank between the two friends has turned into an online business that now has over 60,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok.

OGBFF now offers a range of t-shirts, skirts, tank tops and swimsuits, each adorned with a satirical motif. If you’re in your flop era, the brand has a shirt for that; if you’re a niche internet micro-celebrity, there’s a shirt for that, too. And if you’re hot, they have several shirts for you, including one that says “ironically hot.”

Most of OGBFF’s creations are inspired by conversations between its founders or their friends. “Anything that’s ridiculous and funny that should be put on a t-shirt is put on a t-shirt,” Schiller said. To input down to earth. His favorite, in another twist of fate, is the “flop era” t-shirt. “I love the simplicity. It’s just hilarious,” she says. “It’s my mom’s least favorite because she’s like, ‘Why would you wear that?'”

The low

Photographer Rosemary Blake – who shot an OGBFF campaign for paper magazines — lives and breathes ironic fashion and likens the style to a Cesar A. Cruz quote: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” His tastefully favorite tacky pieces, in addition to an OGBFF “Hot Person at Work” t-shirt, range from an “ugly” western cowgirl vest to a McDonald’s jacket covered in McFlurry graphics. For Blake, there’s an appeal to wearing something that will make others laugh or feel slightly uncomfortable.

Like her style of photography, which features expressive, minimally edited images, Blake says ironic fashion is about not taking life too seriously. “When I dress, I think of a character,” Blake says. “Whether I want to be a bimbo or a cowgirl, I’m going to lean into it.” On her TikTok account, which has over 60,000 followers, Blake can be seen channeling a range of looks from “cheetah girl” to Adam Sandler.

“I used to put so much pressure on myself to live up to a standard that I created in my head,” Blake says. Through tongue-in-cheek styles, however, she’s able to exaggerate her sense of self — and that’s what Blake thinks fashion should really be about. “It’s an art form that allows you to be something you’re not,” adds Blake. Mismatched prints and bold graphic tees are just another way to boost your confidence – and if not, use the pieces to fake it until you do.

Put that on a T-shirt

Unbridled confidence is what sway Paulina Rosil, who started selling her ’90s and 2019-inspired t-shirts as a college freshman. Like the founders of OGBFF, she had no intention of selling her designs, but the following year she launched her eponymous business. Now a junior, Rosil has nearly 5,000 followers on Instagram.

“I like to work with funny stuff that’s really out there,” Rosil says. Most of her designs have an “I don’t care” attitude, drawing inspiration from early icons like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The aesthetic clearly resonates with the notable fashion personalities of today.

Despite Rosil’s small platform, influencers like Sydney Carlson and Stassi Karanikolaou have embraced her tongue-in-cheek tees. Designs range from shirts emblazoned with phrases like “Mother F*cker” to “I

Not everyone has the courage to wear such models, says Rosil. “Not everyone is going to be walking down the street with a shirt that says ‘I

Ironic fashion, including Rosil’s t-shirts, is all about feeling full. Ditching traditional styles in exchange for making a statement gives people a sense of freedom. Their appearance can be whatever they want without being dictated by external standards. Brands like Rosil’s and OGBFF are pioneers of self-aware style, and more and more people want to be part of it.

Isn’t that ironic?

Emma Chamberlain in OGBFF’s “Niche Internet Micro Celebrity” ShirtOGBFF

For OGBFF fans, there’s a laid-back, approachable appeal to the tongue-in-cheek style. It feels novel and inviting, especially for people who feel left out of the fashion industry to begin with. Schiller says that while the branded graphics are the main selling point, OGBFF also feels accessible. “It’s literally just two girls making t-shirts,” she says, noting that until two months ago she and Ruis were still working in a bedroom.

According to the two friends, someone who wears OGBFF is “someone who is the funniest person in the room but is in no rush to prove it.” You want to get to know that person, says Schiller, a statement made even stronger by the list of people who have flexed the mark. Influencers Addison Rae, Devon Lee Carlson and Emma Chamberlain have all worn OGBFF pieces on multiple occasions, a phenomenon Schiller and Ruis say they’ve come across. “Before Lauren and I launched the brand, we made a short list of people we’d like to see wearing it,” Ruis says. Carlson and Chamberlain were on the list. A few weeks later, social media stars promoted OGBFF to their millions of followers. “We are very powerful manifestors,” Schiller says.

The support of such influential people only adds to its appeal without taking away from its approachable aesthetic. Regardless of status or number of followers, “We all have the same sense of humor,” Schiller says. This connection is exactly what OGBFF stands for: “The concept of the brand is rooted in friendship”, adds Schiller. “Our name was originally ‘your original best friend,’ but OGBFF stuck.”

And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. As OGBFF, Rosil, and Blake prove, tacky fashion is more than a physical product — it’s a way to express your individuality or embrace a persona you resonate with. “It’s really not that bad,” Blake says. “That’s the point.”

About Ryan Headley

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