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“Sleaze” replaces “Core”

Updated: Aug 23, 2023


We have a lot to look forward to in 2023 for upcoming fashion trends, or rather look back, on as we are awash in a sea of creative derivatives from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even the “aughts”, referring to the years from 2000-2009. Now we can re-live our greatest years of our greatest years as sleaze replaces core this year as a primary style suffix and mode of sartorial expression on the streets and on the runway.

It's been a while that we've been turning former fashion trends and even work apparel into “cores”, like angelcore, clowncore, cottagecore, gorpcore, dadcore and others, with normcore reigning supreme. Now in 2023 we’ve graduated from cores straight down to sleaze.

The Culture Editor, Sherbert, at the Digital Fairy tells VICE that “sleaze will overtake core as the new suffix in fashion” and by looking at some of the current street style images already trickling in, it seems their prediction was spot on. What was once mermaidcore or balletcore, becomes mermaid sleaze and ballet sleaze.

An overall dirtier vibe in all senses, sleaze blends 80’s and 90’s grunge, raver, and punk styles with hints of a resurrection of the 90’s heroin chic on the runways.

Why is this happening?

Maybe it was the rise of streetwear in fashion, combined with the hibernation state the pandemic dragged us into has left an indelible mark: now that we’ve been comfortable, can we ever go back? Even in Milan where you dress up to take the trash out, there are more people who feel relaxed enough to go out in full “goblin mode".

Is Ironic the new Iconic?

The line between “-core” and “cos-play”was already getting blurrier as ironic fashion statements have become standard for many brands. Meant to ignite fiery conversations, on and off-line, that combust into an explosion of views and comments, now the interpretation is being interpreted, in perhaps its most accessible form, sleaze.

Finding the narrative or story in sleaze may feel less obvious, even for some seasoned fashion onlookers. With Viktor and Rolf inverting dresses quite literally on their heads, it could look like fashion has turned to nonsense when in reality, it’s hitting the mark for internet humourist, rooted in Dadaist comedy, meant to create chaos with senseless artistic statements.

Whether we’re preparing for an apocalypse, reveling in collective loss, or just feeling sloppy, there is a lot to appreciate about this moment in fashion, and all the other moments the industry is currently re-living.

As Sleaze replaces core as the most popular fashion suffix, it’s a time to reflect on where fashion will go from here and what we are living, through what we wear.


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