Years ago, celebrities wouldn’t dare to wear the clothing featured on the itsmaysmemes Instagram account, but times have changed. At some point in the recent past, the fashion world decided it would stop trying to look cool. As nebulous as the word “cool” can actually be in an industry whose foundation shifts every time the weather changes, the latest trends in fashion ditched the untouchable cool of their past and took a sharp left. Long gone are the days of streamlined fits, meticulously curated accessories and deliberate monochrome; they have been replaced by baggy sweats, hoodies with raw hems and oversized puffer jackets of every color and cut imaginable. It’s fashion for a new age, a new generation of unbothered, effortlessly stylish dressers.
It became the look that took over the world. At least, it took over Instagram, but in the modern fashion industry, it’s more or less the same thing. Fashion accounts filled up with paparazzi photos that turned an armada of celebrities (think the Jenners, the Hadids, the A$AP Rockys of the world) into street fashion all-stars. They were the walking billboards of modern fashion in a time where any given street essentially carries the same weight of a fashion week runway.
Social media users responded to this ubiquity the way it always does: They made some memes. But one Instagram meme account in particular, itsmaysmemes, seems to have uncovered a secret link between the ever-changing fashion world and everyone who religiously follows along at home. Itsmaysmemes has embraced this moment of surprisingly accessible high fashion and tied it back to the fanatics who livestream every Fashion Week and feverishly await the reveal of every designer collaboration. It’s an account for everyone who still worships at the altar of the runway.
And so, May, a 17-year-old girl from Hawaii, took to Instagram, photoshopped a few pictures and found a way to make fashion cool again: by making it super weird.
This is what itsmaysmemes is all about. She takes photos of fashion’s favorite people and messes with them on photoshop. It’s street style of an alternate universe: one where Rihanna walks the streets of New York wearing a Vetements hoodie so behemoth that the larger-than-life pop star looks like a child playing in her dad’s clothing. Virgil Abloh doing a kickflip in a massive pair of Vans Old Skools that, if they were real, would probably be heavy enough to snap his board. Hailey Baldwin channeling Quasimodo in a denim jacket six sizes too big for her.
On top of that, itsmaysmemes does the one thing all memes must do — the cardinal rule of meme making — it makes you laugh. That’s the quiet genius rumbling beneath the peculiarity of itsmaysmemes’ posts.
There’s something inherently funny about the state of the fashion industry today. For the same reason people lose it at DIY baking fails or a mass of clowns exiting a very small car, modern street style being represented by Kendall Jenner, the world’s highest paid model, walking around in an outfit you could wear to the gym, is entertaining. Itsmaysmemes not only draws attention to this dichotomy, but she blows it up to ridiculous proportions.
Nowadays, high fashion seems to be defying its history by adopting an aesthetic that is purposefully pedestrian. High fashion has always been aspirational, the kind of clothing made to be immortalized by magazines for generations to come to covet and fantasize over. High fashion should be gawked at. Now that cotton-poly blends have made a genuine impression in the modern fashion industry, in pieces people are willing to drop hundreds of dollars on, it’s difficult to see this as still being the case. There’s no rule saying that high fashion can’t be comfortable, relatable and accessible. But it’s so much more exciting when it isn’t.
Itsmaysmemes’ edits are weird, and that’s why they work. With every over-oversized jacket, every pair of sneakers enlarged to the size of a small sailboat, she injects the unpredictability that fashion has been sorely missing.
The strangeness is what makes the photos so alluring. They’re forward-thinking fashion made for an era in which the industry is doing the opposite. Recently, Marc Jacobs announced that one of his new collections would consist of reproduced looks that he created for Perry Ellis back in 1993. At a pre-fall show in New York, Versace hosted the reappearance of a dress previously worn by Jennifer Lopez at the Grammy Awards in 2000. (It was the dress that, incidentally, served as the spark for the creation of Google Images.)
In interviews, May, the creator of the account, has cited a wide breadth of designers among her favorites, including fashion houses like Maison Margiela, Balenciaga as well as independent lines like Imran Potato. Like many before her, she is a fashion devotee.
However, through her edits, May has revealed a new way in which fashion followers can interact with their favorite brands. Change it in whichever way you see fit. Fashion is about being unexpected, in creating clothing that demands to be stared at until it elicits a reaction.
The mindset has paid off for May, and some of fashion’s current biggest players have taken notice. In March, model Luka Sabat, who has 1.5 million Instagram followers, liked and commented on an edit of him wearing a blue Vetements puffer jacket. This led to itsmaysmemes’ first brush with viral internet fame and helped her accrue nearly 100,000 followers of her own. She then worked with giant streetwear publication Hypebeast for an editorial shoot inspired by her posts. Soon after, an edit of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian drew the attention of the rapper who borrowed itsmaysmemes’ wild-proportioned aesthetic in the music video for his song “I Love It.”
In all likeliness, itsmaysmemes did not expect the sort of response or attention her posts would receive. She was a fashion fan who was scrolling through Instagram and stumbled upon a picture that caught her attention. Armed with some photoshop prowess and an out-of-left-field idea for a couple of fashion memes, she has found herself, however tangentially, on the path of fashion’s future.
As she states in her Instagram bio, “Giant jackets are the new wave.”