Making low-key luxury items out of a lumpen wardrobe of tracksuits and trainers has become a runway trend of late. Both Vetements and Gosha Rubchinskiy have taken up the signature look of a gopnik, a Russian term for a lower-class, typically post-Soviet male, and exploited it into a series of red-hot collections.
The concept isn’t strictly Eastern European, though. In Australia, there is the “bogan”, or what designer Lukas Vincent of the new label Ex Infinitas refers to as “someone with really bad taste”. Vincent has introduced an elevated take on the teenage lounge-about uniform for Spring 2017, coining the line’s aesthetic as “suburban surf dandy”. Think: joint-rolling, hormone-pumped boys in orange singlets; artfully hip bone–hanging, JNCO-proportioned pants; and sheared-off khaki shorts shrouded by nubby robes.
Vincent’s haute translation of bogan culture was spawned from his upbringing. The designer grew up a low-income and surf-obsessed beach town near Melbourne, Australia. He specifically remembers beer-guzzling surfers scampering around in sand-strewn baggy pants and bucket hats. “I wasn’t interested so much in those things that they were wearing,” says Vincent. “It’s funny looking back, because those are the guys who have become my muses.”
The 33-year-old designer grew up without WiFi and not much of a dial-up situation either, and received his fashion education via magazines. “My grandmother would take me to a beauty salon that she would clean, and the salon would have all the imported magazines from overseas”, he says. “I used to go to the cellar where they were throwing them out, and I would take them. I had a collection of all these magazines from the ’90s and early 2000s, which I used to study from cover to cover”.
Standouts in the collection include a pair of reversible tubular denim pants, highlighter-orange hoodies with slack sleeves, henley shirts rendered in bronze velvet, and platform pool-slide sandals with a checkerboard pattern for a skater-stoner flair.