Indie fashion darling Vaquera considers teens her muses (and who could blame them?). For example, the New York designer’s Spring/Summer 2019 show took place in a school cafeteria with designs that included an over-the-top graduation dress in a regal royal blue and matching oversized cap, a cropped top with a megaphone from cheerleader, doodle-print jeans, and a senior’s tee that hurts me to regret throwing away my school’s version. School-style shirts, the ones you get all your friends to sign at the end of the year, are by nature ephemeral and you never get tired of them.
Vaquera’s oversized ruffled dress, an off-the-shelf version of the graduation cape that flew down the catwalk, is a satire on the oversized ballgown. The dress reminds me of other popular dresses that lean into ruffled extravagance, including those from designers such as Molly Goddard and Cecilie Bahnsen. These ruffled dresses contradict the notions of youth and femininity – the original meaning of ruffled dresses – with its hyperbolic patterns.
Jeans with artistic doodles – a consequence of buying pre-ripped jeans – have also gained momentum. As a result, Vaquera’s “School Spirit Jeans” include Varsity lettering, foam fingers, a recycling symbol and an apple. A time capsule of a memory from a specific time in your life, each symbol and signature represents a memory from high school. Vaquera creates wearable fashion from a cultural artifact.
We love how the brand plays with tropes of high school cliques: think jocks, cheerleaders, nerds. And then, in an unexpected twist, mixes the different cliques to create eccentric and quirky designs. In addition, the construction of the clothes adopts a DIY aesthetic as if it had been created by high school students themselves. We would let Vaquera teach us fashion anytime.