I think the 2017 internet obsession over Shia LaBeouf’s uncomplicated, yet attractive and considerate style needs to make a comeback. We all know how Shia can live an interesting, and sometimes, meme-worthy life and he often takes the internet by storm in many ways. From riveting motivational speeches in front of a green screen to an entire musical act made about him portrayed as a cannibalistic serial killer, the way the internet broke over his fashion taste was no different. In my opinion, however, this wasn’t an internet trend that we should look at with humor or palatable fondness. We should be looking at Shia as an icon who is deliberately choosing to set a meaningful and unique example for the millions of people who follow him (as a meme or not). Is it that deep? Well, let’s review the facts.
Many articles that popped up around the time of the craze over Shia’s style labeled his style ‘Normcore.’ Although similar, I wouldn’t put Shia in this category. Normcore, as many fashion blogs put it, is a fashion statement against using fashion as a way to make a statement. As interesting as that sounds, I believe Shia is truly making a statement with his particular way of fashion, and thus I have decided to place my own category upon his style: ‘Shiacore.’ Catchy, in my opinion. You may ask: what is Shiacore, exactly? From top to bottom, the formula is pretty simple.
For his tops, Shia tends to alternate between blank t-shirts of various colors, t-shirts that seem like they would be the that one ultimate find at some random, bizarre thrift store, or the occasional flannel. In colder weather, you’ll probably find him in a crewneck (again, either of a blank color or thrifted), a Patagonia sweater or fleece, a hoodie, a fuzzy, yet simple winter coat, or some combination thereof. Dad caps are always a go to for him as well.
Pants-wise, Shia will typically rock either blue or dark jeans, jogger pants, distressed chino shorts, or sweatshorts of various colors. Occasionally, he’ll wear cargo pants or literal military pants. With pants, Shia will either tuck the cuff of the pants into his socks with a pair of hiking boots, military boots or sneakers. Shia also likes to wear boots with his shorts, but it’s not unusual to see him wear his shorts with sneakers as well.
Essentially, Shia’s outfits make him look like he could go from eating in a restaurant to hiking up a mountain in an instant and I love that. It might not be your typical high fashion that we love to strive for, but I see much significance in his choice of arrangement.
I was getting tired of my typical day to day style, so I decided to tear down all my clothes from their hangers and try to fashion some Shiacore fits to wear for a while. The first thing I immediately noticed as I went on throughout my day in the fits was just how adaptive the clothing were. Throughout my entire day, I was able to commute, go to class, go to work, go to the gym and hang out with friends–all in the same fit. Not only were the clothes adaptable to many different situations, but I was so cozy the entire time. I definitely took a few naps throughout the week with the outfits I contrived.
I don’t know if any of you are like me and lose all energy throughout the day if you’re not wearing an outfit that’s on point and I was worried this would be the case when I decided to change my closet. I was so used to the versatility and the sense of confidence I would get from my large and (mostly) fast fashion closet, but these Shiacore fits are the perfect balance of the logical and emotional decisions that go behind choosing an outfit for the day. For people like me who have a really busy lifestyle but still care about the way they dress, these sorts of fits were the perfect combination of adaptability, comfortability and attractiveness for most situations of a day-to-day lifestyle of a student.
I should also mention that washing the clothing was painless as I didn’t have to worry about dry cleaning or specific settings for the clothing; I was able to just pop the clothes in the washer and dry them right after with no worry. The clothes were so comfortable, so painless and so versatile that they were one less thing I had worry about as I went throughout my day.
With less and less government intervention on climate change, it looks like we’re going to have to make a difference ourselves as the average citizen. Although I think policy change will be the only thing that will save our children from their climate-based demise, I guess it doesn’t hurt to help through changes in our day to day lifestyle. This can especially be done through the clothing we choose to wear. As the fashion industry is the second largest cause of global pollution, it doesn’t help that the average American throws away close to 70 pounds of clothing each year. A lot of this can be directly attributed to fast fashion which attempts to incentivize a high degree of consumerism in favor of more profit. This only creates a huge carbon footprint for the fashion industry, which is already hard to calculate with the many steps to creating clothes for a high degree of consumerism: farming, harvesting, extraction, manufacturing, and sales. These steps use a large number of resources and cause massive amounts of pollution, all for most of the products of the process to end up in a landfill may be a year or two from then. For instance, with the 40,000,000,000 pounds of cotton extracted per year, one kilogram of cotton (which can make one t-shirt and a pair of jeans) takes 20,000 liters of water. You don’t even need to do the math with numbers that monumental. Also, consider the 40,000 to 50,000 pounds of dye used for clothing entering the water system each year. These are only a couple ways the fashion industry is hurting our environment.
Many, if not all, of Shia’s clothing, are either thrifted or of sustainable nature in themselves. From his thrifted shirts and sweaters or his sustainable brand clothing such as Patagonia to his more durable and long lasting boots and jackets, Shia’s style is the pinnacle of sustainable fashion. By buying second-hand clothing, or clothing that is from a sustainable brand, you are reducing your personal demand for fast fashion clothing and thereby reducing waste and emissions. I firmly believe if we stopped consuming from our typical, fast fashion stores and instead took the time to think about the impact of what we’re purchasing, we could reduce demand little by little to end the trend of fast fashion and reduce our carbon footprint. Shia’s style is one particular way I enjoy doing so, but it definitely is not the only one.
So why did Shia begin to start dressing as he does now? Was it for the reasons aforementioned? Mainly, Shia began to dress in the way he does so as to not intimidate veterans that he talks to in order to help them with their PTSD-related stress. Imagine a high fashion runway model trying to connect with someone who has gone through the horrors of war. Even if Shia did not consider the facts I just reviewed, the facts remain the same. His personal purpose in dressing in such a fashion makes his style all the more considerate. Even if you don’t like the way he dresses, we can all do our part by picking more durable, sustainable clothing, mindfully thrifting and altering to our taste and collecting more lasting pieces that we can wear for many years to come.
Here’s to Shia LaBeouf. People love to make memes and the media loves to portray him in the light of another superstar gone mad, but I stand by Shia making a difference in the world, no matter how little the difference may be. •
By: Mostefa Sheikhi
Graphics by: Vivienne Leow
Mostefa Sheikhi is a fourth-year Biology student at UT Austin with interests and passions that range far beyond his interests in science.