Dirt: LuLa Says Roe

Is the disgraced brand just mid Lisa Says Gah?

Dirt is a daily email about entertainment.

Molly Mary O’Brien on LuLaRich. Daisy Alioto on We Buy White Albums.

Hipster Fast Fashion Runoff

I recently watched the documentary LuLaRich, which covers the financial rise and reputational decline of the multilevel marketing clothing company, LuLaRoe. My first impression of the cheaply fabricated and wildly patterned leggings, tunics and other such stretchy leisure garments came in the form of a mild stress headache. In group photos of LuLaRoe ambassadors and grainy clips of archived Facebook Lives, the prints and colors clash, hard—quirky cartoon doodles of donuts and unicorns blend with bright spirals and moiré patterns into an aesthetic that many on Twitter have accurately pointed out resembles "Dan Flashes for women."

But the longer I observed the clothing in action, the more I became convinced that thrifted LuLaRoe will become a cult hipster clothing item soon. The over-the-top patterns and colors really aren't so far off from "avant-basic" fashion, e.g. Lisa Says Gah and Paloma Wool, nor the quirky knitwear uniform of Second Family scion Ella Emhoff when she was a student. The slightly uhhhh fundamentalist vibes of LuLaRoe (their founders are Mormons; the multilevel marketing format itself nestles nicely into prosperity gospel mindset) are right in line with the semi-recent turn toward modest dressing exemplified by those dang Batsheva prairie dresses, whose silhouettes and patterns have now trickled down to Target.  Also, my current favorite fashion plate, the blogger Megsuperstarprincess, has been championing the idea of buying secondhand fast fashion from 10+ years ago (think ratty H&M pleather leggings and so-corny-they're-actually-good Forever 21 graphic tees) as a fun and inexpensive corrective to drab, overserious investment pieces.

Contrarian shopping? Cheeky maximalism? A way to visually stand out at the bars you weren't allowed to go to for like a year and a half, while still embracing the seductive comfort of loungewear you got a taste for during the pandemic? I say skip the MLM format but embrace the chaos. — By Molly Mary O’Brien

What If We Kissed In The Road

In Larissa Pham’s Pop Song (Catapult 2021) she describes the ways in which a series of Agnes Martin paintings called The Islands “reward looking.”

Cool blue tones hover over frosty white, the two hues barely indistinguishable. At first, the paintings seem impossibly blank, with that blankness further emphasized by their arrangement in series. Then, as your eye travels across the surface, shapes form in the variation of the thickness of the paint itself, suspended between her penciled grid lines.

I get a similar sensation scrolling through the Instagram account @webuywhitealbums, a tribute to the blissfully minimal sleeve of The Beatles’ 1968 album. Scroll through, and the differences are subtle–the uneven weathering of time being the greatest differentiator. But once in a while a true punctum emerges: a post-it note, the original owner’s signature or an ink outline of the meekly embossed band name. In the five years that I have been following the account, I’ve come to look forward to the coffee stains and vandalism. One recent photo even had strong echoes of Jasper John’s White Flag.

We Buy White Albums is run by Rutherford Chang, whose traveling exhibition of the same name is now part of NOTHINGTOSEENESS - Leere/Weiß/Stille at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin through December 12th. — By Daisy Alioto

The Dirt: Rocky Raccoon leggings or we riot.