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Next in Fashion is as daft as telly comes, but oddly addictive

Lucy Sweet should feel alienated from the ridiculous, glittery world of Next in Fashion, but she can't help loving it

Next in Fashion

(L to R): Amari Carter, Usama Ishtay, Eliana Batsakis, Bao Tranchi, Nigel Xavier, Courtney Smith, Qaysean Williams, James Ford, Danny Godoy, Megan O'Cain, Deontre Hancock in episode 101 of Next in Fashion. Image: Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

In this crazy world, it’s hard to know what fashion even is, let alone be able to predict trends. If someone told me that dressing like Mr Blobby was going to be big in spring/summer ’23 I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Of course, it doesn’t help that I am now at an age where I think an M&S waterfall cardigan is the height of fashion, and trends that I used to wear have come around at least twice, including flares, low-rise jeans and a relentless stream of Bianca from EastEnders puffa jackets. 

Yet the twisty wheel of fashion continues to turn, regardless of whether unadventurous leopard print-clad old bags like me can understand it. And haute couture will always be deeply silly and fabulously liberating. There’s really nothing to stop any designer from sending a model down the runway in clogs and a Homebase gazebo, and that’s just how it should be.  

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So with our hemlines tucked into our knickers, let us stumble into the second season of Next in Fashion which celebrates the catwalk’s neon, colourful ridiculous-ness so hard that afterwards I had to take a paracetamol.  

I never saw the first series with Queer Eye’s Tan France and Alexa Chung, which got axed in the murky and unfashionable depths of the pandemic, but now it’s working hard to be noticed with the addition of model of the moment Gigi Hadid. Of course, this designer talent contest is as daft as Elton John’s diamond-encrusted toilet brush – but if we can’t dress up as enormous bouquets of flowers as the world crumbles around us, when can we?  

The hopeful designers are as eye-catching as their bonkers clothes, including Qaysean (wearing an Aztec inspired jacket, cat eyeliner, a gold buckled belt and denim hot pants), ’90s hip-hop baby Deontré, who created such a massive padded jacket that it looked like it could double up as a spy balloon, and Megan – a neon-haired, clompy-shoed pixie living in Willy Wonka World. Then we also have drag queen dresser Godoy, Bao, Desyrée, Eliana, Amari and Nigel, who could well be the first Nigel in the world with a set of teeth grills.  

They’re all already successful in their own right, but will they be able to create a stunning upcycled showstopper in four hours, or a royal creation that will impress Donatella Versace? I can’t even imagine the pressure. I had a phobia of sewing at school – I cried when my needlework teacher told me that using a sewing machine was easy, just like learning to drive, and I was so freaked out that I never learned to do either. If it were me, I’d just be lying on the floor screaming, being slowly garrotted by tangled thread. So I’m in awe of people who can not only do the technical stuff but can also create a gold bondage gown with matching hat at the drop of, well… a gold hat.    

Really, I should feel alienated from this glittering world, sitting here in a jumper that smells of sausages and a pair of socks that look like something that crawled out of a bog, but I loved it. 

The whole thing zips along with a fun air-kissing irreverence. Gigi is funny, impossibly long-limbed and not giving a single molecule of a toss about anything in a way that only a millionaire nepo baby can. People say fashiony things like ‘I love a boob moment’, ‘this needs some zhuzhing’ and ‘this could go from a carpet to Coachella.’ Also, people cry every 60 seconds about how fashion saved their lives, and break down when they’re not bringing enough of their own personality to an upside-down thong.  

It’s great fun, and I’m delighted to announce that I’m already becoming very knowledgeable about fashion trends. In fact, I’ve already bought a bow tie and painted yellow spots on my enormous pink belly in readiness for Blobbycore. 

Next in Fashion is on Netflix

Lucy Sweet is a freelance journalist @lucytweet1

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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