Neo-Nazi is the new black
Even though the word neo-Nazi doesn’t exactly fit in the same sentence as black, it is so: the far right wing is in vogue. In Spain, as usual, trends arrive much later. So while here we think that the new trend in politics is the leftist left (as if that could exist), in the rest of Europe it’s far-right politics, and that’s indeed the rightest right.
But men do not live by politics only, and although I doubt that Hedi Slimane had Walter Benjamin in mind when he filed the Saint Laurent catwalk with Bomber jackets, it’s clear that the stylising of politics and particularly of fascism is not new.
The precedents: the famous nazi military uniforms designed by Hugo Boss together with the hipster haircuts of the Hitler youth; maxi-jewels worn by Carmen Polo, aka “La collares”; the black shirts sported by Italian fascists (and our national blue version in the shirts of la falange); the less known, but no less stylish, shirts of the BUF or British Union of Fascists (don’t they remind you of the costumes from the film Her?), and the also-for-her black shirts of the females section of the FES-JONS, combined with a pleated midi skirt and mid heels. All they are, right now, hot trends.
But the look of classic fascisms evolved from the sixties onwards and in the seventies and eighties it became democratic (democracy fits in with fascism than black, but what can you do?). Let’s say that it became popular thanks to the skin movements and the boom of brands such as Fred Perry (here we should stop to comment the irresistible and irrational appeal of guys wearing Fred Perry polo shirts: men of the world, don’t put pictures of yourselves climbing, surfing or with your dogs in Tinder; do it with a Fred Perry and you’ll be inundated with crushes), Ben Sherman, Lonsdale, Harrington, Dr. Martens, Adidas Hooligans and other trends such as the rolled up jeans or loafer shoes. And, of course, of the bomber jacket… For this Spring/Summer’16 season, if you pick any trend mag you’ll see it, all designers agree on a sole thought: bomber jackets are back, and if they’re here to stay, well, so be it; we got over the return of th bodice, so we’re used to suffering.
Once we’ve reached this point, we could enter the debate of what came first, fashion or the political connotation that wearing these items entailed? But it seems impossible to disassociate one from the other. It’s what happens with far-right politics, that dialogue is never an issue, so end of the debate!
The problem, much bigger and a lot more serious, is that other trends are coming back too that have more to do with what they mean than how they looked: painting their doors red and making refugees wear id armbands in the UK, confiscating their goods in Denmark, kicking out any foreigners committing a crime in Switzerland and a very long list of barbarities that remind us of Europe’s darkest past.
Let’s remember (let’s warn people!) that Lega Nord in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, the Party for Freedom in Holland, the People’s Party in Switzerland or Denmark, the Sweden Democrats, the Finns Party, or the Progress Party in Norway are some examples of far-right-wing parties that have managed to become the third, second or even leaders of their countries’ parliaments. And that’s without going into Eastern Europe, with the National Guards Unit in Bulgaria, the Slovak National Party or the Greater Romania Party, and the worst of the lot, which not even try and hide what they are or pretend they’re something else: Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary.
Far-right parties have known, once more, how to change their image slightly to make their very dangerous ideals attractive for greater audiences again. This is very sad and… simply terrifying. Because meanwhile all the left wing is doing is not dying their white hair, and wearing ill-fitted dresses and thick tights that hide their attractiveness. At the end of the day, aesthetics are power; and the left-wing is not up to it in politics nor fashion-wise.