The Fashion Trend You Already Know About Finally Has A Name

By Sarah Garden
27 September 2018
Justin Bieber, Pete Davidson, Kanye West

Justin Bieber, Pete Davidson, Kanye West

"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap."

Dolly Parton famously said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” And it seems like quite a few male celebrities are taking notes from Dolly’s school of fashion. No, they’re not dressing like blonde country and western singers, but they are spending a lot of money on looking sloppy.

Say hello to the “scumbro” – the post-hipster man who’s drawn to gimmicky t-shirts, baseball caps, tracksuits and whacky prints. Think shabby without the chic. For an introduction to the scumbro trend see: Pete Davidson. Ariana Grande’s beau has been heralded the leader of the pack, having started rocking the “I got dressed in the dark” look before it was cool.

During a styling session with Queer Eye’s Tan France, Davison described his style as “guido trash”, telling France: “I trust you a lot more than my Staten Island fashion knowledge. It's so funny, I thought I was like, kind of dressing well.”

But that’s not to say that being a scumbro means you don’t care what you’re wearing… quite the contrary. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article featuring a number of ‘bros, and totaled up the cost of their outfits. Most were either in the high hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Big name brands are all over this tongue-in-cheek style of streetwear. Balenciaga, Gucci and Dior Homme have all released trainers that Business of Fashion described as “revamped versions of your dad’s old footwear.”

In an interview in 2012, Designer Dries Van Noten admitted: "I'm more inspired by things which I don't like […] nothing is so boring as something beautiful. I prefer ugly things, I prefer things which are surprising.” He went on to explain that starting with something that he finds ugly, like a certain colour, inspires him to be more creative. “It's like you see a colour, and you think, `Why don't I like this colour?' Maybe the composition is wrong, maybe the lighting is wrong — it would be beautiful in silk, but not the synthetic fabric ... that, for me, is the fun to play with.”

Other celebrity scumbro authorities include Jonah Hill, Justin Bieber and Shia le Beouf, who have gone bold on graphic prints and oversized t-shirts this year.

Then there’s Kanye West – both creator and connoisseur, with his Yeezy label providing trainers that are coveted by lovers of the “ugly” streetwear trend. Ye himself is rarely out of the limelight with his fashion picks. Recently he had to explain his choice of footwear after the internet was whipped up into a frenzy when he attended a formal event in slides too small for his feet… let alone the fact that he wore socks with them.

He tweeted an image showing the Japanese way of wearing wooden sandals, with the heel extending a few inches beyond the open back of the shoe. Kanye was wearing foam slides rather than wooden sandals, but fair enough.

In the case of the scumbro, ugly is in the eye of the beholder.