Style Icons – Issue 1

He is the embodiment of alpha-male anarchy, junk shop chic, and utter cool.


Fight Club’s enigmatic Tyler Durden is in my opinion, one of the best movie characters ever penned and a true understated style icon. He is the embodiment of alpha-male anarchy, junk shop chic, and utter cool.


He frequently describes and acts on his opposition to mass society, materialism, property, capitalism, and almost all technology and social order. He even vows to annihilate civilization itself. This is all reflected in his choice of wardrobe, consisting of vintage T’s, 70’s leather jackets, and chaotically coordinated colours, which all snub modern for retro, subtle for brash and sophistication for flamboyance.


To create this look, the movie’s costume designer, Michael Kaplan raided charity shops and vintage stores. This shopping odyssey of unwanted jackets, dated shirts and psychedelic craziness means that recreating Durden’s look to every fabric and every pattern is actually impossible. The internet is littered with websites and forums dedicated to tracking down the exact same pieces as worn by Durden in the film, but please don’t waste your time as these pieces are the Holy Grale, and you my friend are definitely not Indiana Jones. Instead, it’s about re-creating the essence of his style. It’s about imagination, it’s about risk, and most importantly it’s about a total disregard for the rules and the people who make the rules.


As Tyler says ‘I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.’ If you’re going to evolve and grow as a creative person in the way you dress, you’re going to make mistakes. In fact, you should start making twice as many mistakes as soon as possible if you want to have an innovative breakthrough. Make mistakes and let the chips fall where they may. You might like the landing.


The film throws up no shortage of inspirational fashion ideas. Durden’s most iconic item is surely his crimson jacket, with the semi-70s lapels and close tailoring, of which there are countless replicas available online, though he does also don another stylish jacket, a zip-up biker one with double white stripes on the arms. Durden teams these jackets with his outlandish shirts, often preferring short sleeved ones but sometimes mixing it up with some clingy, stretchy T-shirts and vests.


Of course, like other style pioneers, some of Durden’s choices are pretty leftfield and stray into territory that even his most die-hard fans might fear to tread. Such choices include the vividly patterned vest, pink sunglasses and fluffy bathrobe complete with bunny rabbits – though thankfully not worn all at once, even Tyler Durden’s not that much of a fashion maverick.


But despite the unconventional choices, Pitt and Kaplan clearly have a strong working relationship, as the costume designer has also kitted out the A-lister in the likes of Se7en and Mr and Mrs Smith. And Kaplan’s hard work on the film didn’t go unrecognised by his industry, earning him a nomination for excellence in costume design by the Costume Designers Guild Awards.


Yet it’s the fans and wannabe Durdens that have established the anarchist as a fashion heavy-hitter. Yes, Durden’s clothes are dated, typically unfashionable, too busy and bizarrely mixed, but it is this disregard for rules and the willingness to take risks that both defines Durden’s unruly personality and makes great onscreen style.


The whole premise behind this iconic character is to break away from the norm and to try something different. So many times we get caught up in a rut trying to follow things that work for other people. We are all influenced by something, but at the end of the day you have to look at yourself and wonder why you do the things you do? Is dressing like every other person you know "okay" because it is the safe choice? Break some rules! Be the Shepard, not the Sheep! And remember, the true first rule of Fight Club is – there are no rules!!!


Fashion fades but style is eternal.