Hostages to Skintight Apathy—Exorcising the Athleisure Trend

Trend subjugation will mutilate our self-confidence unless we clear a path to more flamboyant pastures.

Marketing psychobabble like “enclothed cognition” encapsulates the sorcery of using subconscious trapdoors to sell clothing.

We’ll require audacity and grit to duck these persona lassos and retain our individual sense of style.

The demons we’ve summoned loathe neckties and red panties; subsisting bare-assed as cryptic athleisure logos unbridles their meddling in human affairs. They’ve infiltrated our understanding of intimacy, seducing us to trade personal boundaries for nylon and hedge our vulnerabilities with added layers of “performance” wear. Our instinct to differentiate seems nearly tamed—we’re a mainstreamed legging pattern shy of devolving into retailed livestock. And no amount of glute workouts or pajama-styled weekend outfits will deliver us from the shame casual fashion has branded into our souls.

Sweetened and marbled with the conveniences of a relaxed alter-ego, we slog over landfills of streetwear accessories to the barking of industry dogs. Each fitting of checkered slip-ons or retro sunglasses advances the dry-aging of our hindmost sensibilities. The drive is plotted by boardroom warlocks who steer us toward burgeoning markets for unwitting influencers where we’ll propagate the merits of borrowed apparel to friends and family in a tenderized stupor. Beyond the horizon, shadowy handlers await our arrival; we grab an Oreo from our fanny packs and stampede into the final phase of this wicked possession.

But alas, our tired journey stalls at an entanglement of pop-up boutiques. A whiff of Nespresso coffee spooks the horses; experiential marketers draw their rifles—wholesalers are circling the secondhand market space! Promotional mayhem ensues. Our contempt for assured comfort kindles in a crossfire of baited Instagram posts. We finally reckon with the sadistic paradox of harmony: humiliation is the catalyst of every trend, and monotony is the death of every wish. It’s high noon, now—will we herd forward as interchangeable billboards for inflated standards of unconcerned dress, or brave the cruel tundras of originality?

By grace the windy plains conjure up echoes of inspiration from iconic fashionistas, whistling, “solitude is a victory.” Musing the chasm of authenticity, we brandish our horns and weep as we step into the den of public shamings and rape threats greeting those who “dress like that.” A send-off is replaced with silence as once-unprejudiced kinfolk detest our new, colorful hides. Yet, it’s all fine. Each step on this barren terrain—however costly—chips away at the guilt we harbor for betraying our creativity with expressionless garbs. The dress-code horde is in full pursuit, but we’re calm; the meat grinder will have to wait its turn.

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