What’s all this then? People, we don’t have to take a clean, pristine and pure approach to life — dirt, grime, mess, and mud are being accepted as a new (likely to be rusty) gold standard.

Phew! No more wipeable sofa cushions! So where are messy aesthetics being celebrated? They’ve moved on from just a social media-fueled shock tactic as people have grown desensitised to yuckiness. Now mess and dirt are making an impact by appearing in everyday, big ticket pleasures. 

Tell me more… There’s a lot of mud being thrown in high fashion — think Elena Velez models and mud wrestles on the runway, or Kylie Jenner’s recent Acne Studios campaign clothed in thousand dollar garments and splatters of mud. We’ve also seen the return of the moto and rain boot, and also niche creations like Crocs’ new Shrek-themed shoes (“get out of my swamp!”-core).

How else is messy realities making an impact? Meanwhile, on social media you’ve probably noticed the dirty/messy trend. Think: glass tubs filled with paint being rolled down stairs for ASMR videos, or wine bottles being thrown into walls. And if you can bear to watch it, there’s the ‘is it cake’ trend’s viral older sister — the zit popping cake and the bloody cake smash trend.

Ok, give me the dirt on dirt – what’s really going on here? It’s way more than just surface level spillage. It’s a manifestation of our collective desire to embrace imperfections and chaos in an overly curated world. It’s how Kylie appears with a dirty double of herself in the Acne Studios advert, signalling that this aesthetic is an acknowledgement that we all – yes, even the supremely manufactured Kardashians – have a good and messy side…

So no more clean fun? The world is literally boiling and the clean movement just didn’t seem to capture the overall dirtiness of how people have been feeling. We’re living with dirty realities all around us, and there’s a collective sigh of relief in being honest about it.

TL;DR: As the earth boils and the ground muddifies, everyone and everything is welcome in this swamp!