Want to get ahead in the fashion industry? Then know your lingo. Fashion talk is a potential minefield, but thankfully i-D is on hand to demystify the often-ambiguous words bandied-about within our topsy-turvy world. Read our Z to A of contemporary fashion terminology, tear it out, pin it to your wall, memorise it by heart and drop it in to conversation like the fashion pro you know you are. WORD UP.
Z is for ZEITGEIST A German word conjuring up a wave of nowness, which many fashion designers hope to surf, but only a precious few manage to remain at the crest of.
Y is for YOKE Spotted on cowboy shirts and other garments too, the yoke is a piece of fabric usually found on the shoulder area, or below the waistband of trousers or a skirt, which is cut separately and creates a nifty design feature in its own right.
X is for XL A size option that frightens or feels alien to many scarily thin people working in the fashion industry, to whom sniffing cake – rather than eating it – is relatively normal behaviour.
W is for Wintour As in, Anna: one of the few international fashion industry figureheads whose name, iconic dark glasses-wearing appearance and tough cookie reputation has crossed over to achieve household name status. Even your nan will have heard of this lady.
V is for VICTIM As in, Fashion Victim: a male or female compelled to spend all their money piling on any or every current or about-to-catch-on trend, in the belief that doing so will make them fabulous, rather than mildly foolish.
U is for UNDERSTATED A much-used and faintly reverent word when used in the context of fashion. It hints at a style statement that is quietly confident and low-key rather than trying to overtly grab one’s attention, and is exemplified by the aesthetic of a designer such as Jil Sander
T is for TOILE Imagine that intricately-cut shirt or coat or pair of trousers you are now wearing if, instead of being fashioned from the finest cotton, wool or silk, it was stitched, held together with a load of pins and made from scratchy calico fabric. Chances are that is how it looked when the designer who dreamt it up made the prototype, known as a toile.
S is for SEASONAL Not the seasons of ye olde poetic license – leaves falling from trees, sunsets dimming upon the horizon, and the like – but instead the fashion meaning of seasons: which freakin’ winter coat to buy? And, with those knobbly knees and swollen ankles, can you get away with those ultra short shorts while on holiday this summer?
R is for ROCK CHIC Oh dear. This is a sort of shorthand for ‘wearing a leather jacket and skinny jeans’ and is nowadays applied to everyone from wrinkly guitarists from bands which have been around for decades – and who now wear massively expensive designer versions of stuff they used to buy from flea markets – to nice middle class girls from Surrey who wear brand new Ramones’ logo T shirts, but are not familiar with any songs by them.
Q is for QUEEN As in, Fashion Queen: an over-styled, in-your-face gay man who lives for fashion, honey! (And is quite irritating).
P is for PRE-ORDER Those in the know, and with the required cash, can pre-order pieces from a recently shown collection, at a discount, directly from the designer, before they hit the shops. And if the designer is ever-so accommodating, you can specify these pieces be made in different colours or fabrics from the original designs.
O is for OVER As in, ‘So OVERRRRRR!’, preferably intoned in the style of a jaded New York tranny from the mid-90s, while dismissing a too-popular fashion trend that now feels horrifically wrong but which, strangely, was highly desirable just a few weeks before.
N is for NEWGEN NEWGEN, i.e. New Generation, is the rather amazing form of formal sponsorship and patronage provided by the British Fashion Council to young designers based in the Capital, enabling them to show their latest wares at London Fashion Week, gain media exposure and build up their brand. Yay!
Text: James Anderson