What is Camp fashion you ask? This question has been pissing off fashionistas for decades. Here in the USA, the style concept has been long appreciated and revered as a culture. Camp is the fashion that makes a statement. Come to think of it, the ideology is identical to what gave birth to fashion in the first place. To keep it simple, if contemporary fashion is a diamond, Camp would be its drunk mother, that shows up unannounced to dinner parties. So, what exactly is camp fashion?
Camp Fashion Origins and Ideologies
“Campish Undertakings” is what the prosecutors of 19th century London would call effeminate homosexuals who could not hide there “queen side”, flamboyant gay men who were quick at the tongue and not afraid to give the girls a reading. They wore over the top attire, and they pranced around the city causing the religion addicts to feel uncomfortable! Often these people were murdered or exiled from society for being; as the children would say, “too extra” for society at the time.
It is frightening that much hasn’t changed since then, other than the fact that the people with “Campish Undertakings” became proud and eventually a rebellious concept of fashion was born. Camp is a style but is equally a sub-culture within fashion. The idea of being extra is a personality trait to many. Bottomology is extra and we don’t give a FUCK who doesn’t like it! Point made. Our campish ancestors often placed themselves at the margins of their society from the beginning of time. Their brevity has been observed and renovated generation after generation. Keeping the demand for visibility and acknowledgement alive and slaying at the same time! This was camp until heterosexuals caught on.
In the USA during the early 20th Century, African American men where looked at as ominous and untrustworthy. Slavery had ended 5 decades before but most White Americans were uneasy with their parent’s former property living free amongst them. Therefore, the government and white citizens begin to establish a system of racism in order to keep the “negros” out of their society. Much like many systems in European and Colonial American history, racism was made to create levels of importance in culture and society. Once again oppressed, those on the margins would demand visibility with their style’s attire. Camp fashion would once again evolve in the newly western free world. Effeminate gay black men were especially ostracized from society. Because of the strict black laws (soon to become Jim Crow) and deep religious beliefs within the black community, they’d often hide their flamboyant behaviorisms. Eventually, safe spaces were made for them to come out and dress up like the high-class snobs they’d see printed in the papers, often wearing clothes made for women. They’d strut and impersonate female and male playhouse actors, singers, and opera stars.
Once movies were accessible to the commoner, they’d dress up like the movie stars and recite their favorite parts of the film. Soon, this involved lip syncing and dancing. What would become Drag, would be born from these very discreet events. White gay men would eventually join the rebellious cultural statement. Of course, this would spark attention from a much broader audience, and the origins of Camp had been gentrified ever since. By the 1940s, women in Hollywood would join in on the trending wearing over the top hats with beading and elaborate ball gowns. Camp fashion was now a trend amongst the artistic world and the start of a new unified movement. The camp styled in the 1950s and 60s were considered a class act. Camp eventually broke off into subcategories; such as Haute Couture, Drag, Kitsch, Cosplay, Ball Room (gay) and modern-day rebellious statement pieces.
How Does Camp Inspire Today’s Fashion?
Since the early 1900s, camp had become a fashion trend and statement amongst the gay, rich, famous and artistic community around the world. Fashion icons such as Marylin Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Patti Label, Josephine Baker, lady gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, Billy Porter, Titus Burgess and many others are considered Camp Queens and Kings. While they all come from different eras, social and professional backgrounds they all embody the essence of camp fashion, because they constantly and deliberately push the boundaries of fashion, entertainment and society. Camp isn’t just a huge gown with a top hat. It’s an attitude of not going to be boxed in. I am me, and I am here. Much of modern-day gay culture and fashion continues the campish undertakings and inspiration. Men are comfortable in ball gowns and women are comfortable in Versace tuxedos. This is now spreading over into mainstream “Hetero society”. Everyone is pushing the limits and resisting the norms. Ultimately, this is what the ideal behind camp and doesn’t seem to be trending down yet.
The 2019 Met Gala Ball
This year the annual Met Gala Fashion Ball chose the theme Camp. This caused quite a lot of people to scratch their heads. Many people hadn’t heard the term or did but couldn’t quite pin down the meaning. Luckily the celebrities and high society citizens showed the world a forgotten concept that has been absorbed as just “being extra” in contemporary fashion. 2019 brought out the creativity in our elite and the assortment of designs were extraordinary. Below are some of the best camp looks of Met Gala 2019:
These looks show the true meaning of being over the top and campy! What was your favorite look of the 2019 Met Gala Ball?
How to Wear Camp in 2019
Now that you’ve been convinced to throw out your wardrobe and buy every camp piece at the consignment store. Camp fashion is simply making a bold statement in 2019. This trend will become huge in the 2020s! Below are a few camp out fit guides for every day wearing:
Now you can go out and make a statement. The world needs people to push the envelope and shake up the norm. It’s time for you to join in! You can learn more about fashion by joining our free community! Click Here
Camp will always be in the hearts of every fashionista. It is the idea that pushes the world to try something different. To be bold and show the world who you are. Although its origins and resurgence came from oppression, the rebellion and light behind it will continue to drive the fashion industry and overall society forward. Those who are into camp fashion, inspire others to be brave and try something new. When is the last time you did?