Flash back to the halcyon days of 2016 and you’ll remember that there was once a time when emojis were fashion’s favorite digital trend. Chanel incorporated the symbols into its Fall 2016 collection, Versace released a sticker pack of Medusa-inspired smiley faces, and Acne Studios produced not one but two collections of sweaters and knits with the cheeky graphics. Add the ubiquity of Kimojis to the mix, and it seemed that the cute figures had become the official digital shorthand for fashionable folks. But like all worlds, fashion keeps evolving, and it seems the predominant trend of 2017 will be style-savvy memes.
Leading the meme movement is Gucci, which is debuting a new range of branded memes created by artists and meme-makers around the world, like Los Angeles’s Amanda Charchian and the Qatar–based duo Christto & Andrew—see them exclusively here on Vogue. The project, called #TFWGucci, features the brand’s Le Marché des Merveilles range of watches showcased in original photography or against reappropriated paintings, each set beside the irreverent, sometimes witty captions meme lovers know well.
Gucci’s savvy juxtapositions are far from a one-off in the fashion sphere. Last year, we chatted with collage artist Benjamin Seidler, whose re-workings of classic film and TV show characters in the latest fashions continue to be popular. There’s also the newer account @siduations, which puts fresh-off-the-runway looks into comedic scenarios and—ahem—situations. Just this week, Marc Jacobs revealed at SXSW that his favorite Instagram accounts belong not to models or stylists, but rather @earlboykins (for the uninitiated: mostly cute animal memes) and @michelgaubert (fashion’s music man with a punchy take on fashion news). Add to that the fact that meme master @fuckjerry walked the Ermenegildo Zegna menswear show in January and that, for the Vogue team, @youvegotnomale’s fashion starter packs are constant DM fodder, and you have a trend in the making.