Quechua jacket, Kalenji hat and Lidl sneakers: the new chic of the entry-level dandy


Rapper Central Cee attends the Fashion Awards 2022, at the Royal Albert Hall, on December 5, 2022, in London.

When he shows up at the British Fashion Awards in December 2022, the young London rapper Central Cee comes up against the security service, who first takes him for a guy trying to get in. It must be said that, that evening, the icon of drill music, whose titles have accumulated millions of listens, arrived with a more than casual outfit, typical of those worn by young dressers who “burn” ( sell cannabis) at the bottom of the city: sweatpants, a windproof Forclaz jacket at 60 euros, designed for mountain hiking, and a Kalenji hat at 6 euros.

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His red carpet colleagues, dressed in luxury brands, are surprised by so much audacity and ask him where the pieces that make up this unexpected look come from: “Decathlon”, responds Central Cee, who also appears in his Givenchy balaclava clips. Illustrating the new fashion aura of entry-level technical clothing, this slender and elegant young artist is emblematic of a new sociotype: the entry-level dandy. “Showing off the cheap is a way of socially playing off the strength of kitsch against the diktat of good taste. It is a way of displaying a freedom with regard to aesthetic canons »explain marketing professor Benoît Heilbrunn, author of Consumption and its sociologies (Armand Colin, 2020).

In a climate of perpetual reassessment of codes, the entry-level dandy achieves an ultimate twist that looks like a hold-up: returning the garment to its function of use. Through this sleight of hand, which constitutes the height of metadistinction, the basic piece sends a stunning post-Magritte message to the face of the world: this fleece is a fleece. Wow, admit that you had to think about it! “A few years ago, people weren’t very proud to say they were wearing Decathlon, whereas today many young people are spontaneously appearing on social networks with our products, anonymous people as well as artists. »notes Yann Amiry, social media manager at Decathlon France. “I’m dressed like this 365 days a year. And I will not change, even for my marriage”abounds Central Cee on TikTok.

For small budgets and the ultra-trendy

Recovered by rap, these popular clothes, which symbolize the marriage of culture street and culture outdoors, benefit from an aura partly acquired in prison, where they constitute the cozy and affordable outfit of the convict serving his sentence. In France, it was the rapper Jul who became the first volunteer ambassador for Decathlon’s technical ranges (Quechua, Kipsta, Kalenji, etc.). “We sometimes send him clothes, but he doesn’t ask us for anything”, says Yann Amiry. In 2015, in the clip Y-shaped, Jul appears for the first time with a puffer jacket of the mark, then recidivism on many occasions. In the shops of Marseille, the Kalenji jacket is even renamed “KanlenJul”.

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