Nicotine stained fingers grasp a cigarette, desperately sucking the remains as if drinking through a straw. In this confined space called a model apartment the stench of old fags is suffocating. The threadbare carpets match our dispositions. Mere shadows of our former selves. Greasy unkempt hair, exquisite bone structure jutting out from under thin pale skin. Hey, I should be worried, break this silly mold we are stuck in, but this is the look of the season, totally in vogue and due on a photo-shoot in a few short hours. So on goes the coffee pot bubbling away like an old friend and the only thing on the menu for breakfast. We are the abused beauties of the Heroin Chic era.
It’s the 90’s. Trainspotting is a box office hit, people have pagers or very large mobile phones with limited battery life and it seems that the fashion industry is flirting with the realism of the art world, with raw images of dangerously emaciated models appearing everywhere. Fashion is imitating art. All of a sudden a model wasn’t a glamorous representation of impossible perfection, she was shot raw, ungroomed, impure and edgy. There was a certain beauty in this realism. Models looked like they had something to say for once, maybe even be your friend or the ‘girl next door’. Gone were the hair rollers and high maintenance looks of our predecessors and in came the anti-glamour movement called Heroin Chic. The decade I fell out of my school uniform and into the fashion industry.
The public was instantly infatuated, absorbed in the lust and lunacy of this new trend, engulfing it in its entirety. Voyeuristically gazing into the intimate photos of a models world. The images cut to the bone, and the models were almost typecast becoming the characters in the photos going beyond the role of just selling fashion. Models were selling themselves, some showing the good and the ugly side of their lives. Beauty was now a feeling and this look was easy to imitate, perhaps explaining why the world became so unduly obsessed during this decade of change.
Every client was looking to book a ‘waif’. Every pose we looked like precious broken dolls, half clothed, glazed over expressions, dark eyes, or better yet, no makeup at all.
One of my first editorials I ever did was called ‘Fashion Junkie’ a story of a girl so obsessed by clothing she put fashion above all her other needs and lived on the street begging for money to buy more clothes.
10 thoughts on “Heroin Chic Degeneration Part 1.”
The most contriversial fashion trend
Hi , one of your posts (history of turbans I think) came up on my blog _being the nosey pesron that I am I followed the link. I must say, this is fantastic. I love the way you applied your passion for history, art and fashion. I will definitely be checking you girls out once in a while. Keep up the good work, I am loving this.
Im studying Heroin Chic for my exams and found this article v interesting. Looking forward to your next article on this, and about hearing about your first hand experiences
We can’t be sure what counts as an exrmete measure . Mugging little old ladies, that’s exrmete, but past that Making your own slightly shonky [drug of choice] at home? Travelling to a foreign country to obtain [drug of choice] at a cheaper rate? Using [drug of choice] while responsible for young children, even though you know it impairs judgement? As a society, we won’t be too bothered by the insertion of booze into those sentences but say heroin and no one will hesitate to call it exrmete.Granted, caffeine and cocoa are also addictive drugs over time, although I think it’s relevant that you would need to ingest an awful lot to experience a short-term change in your psychological state. But then, that was part of the point of the research that got Prof Nutt sacked from government work that the effects of drugs are not in proportion to their hazard perception or their current legality. There are some Class A drugs which are less dangerous than some Class C drugs. As you say, the easy headline is ZOMG alcohol more dangerous than heroin!!!1one! and everyone will home in on it because just about every adult in the country will have imbibed alcohol at some point but it wasn’t the full point of the research. The Lancet paper *did* focus on the differences in availability for various drugs, scale of usage, harm to individual vs society, and possible approaches to solving the issues. The intention of the research is to enable drug policymakers to try and find appropriate solutions based on evidence rather than anecdote.
I love the photos…. thank you for sharing your experiences……
From what I’ve read and seen on Trainspotting, heroin gives an intnast high’ that several drinks would fail to achieve. You can’t have a shot equivalent to one drink, it’s all or nothing. That makes it extreme and yes, I’d be a lot more worried about someone using heroin whilst responsible for young children than if they were drinking a single glass of wine.But I’m focusing on this more from the use of data visualisation to present statistics than arguing the case for or against alcohol. The chart provided by The Lancet report is misleading because it suggests if you have the choice of a glass containing alcohol or a syringe containing heroin, the latter is a safer option. No context is provided. Is it a like-for-like comparison or based on total consumption? And if it is the latter, proportions should be included. If the ratio for alcohol vs heroin use is 100:1, it will take a lot more resources to lower the harm score for alcohol vs the harm score for heroin. And if the side effect of that effort drives just a small fraction of those alcohol users over to heroin, the net result will be greater harm overall. Comparing totals to calculate a scale can be a risky strategy for decision-making. Using that method, swimming would be considered more dangerous than riding motorbikes or horses based on annual deaths. Insurance premiums suggest otherwise.Assuming the chart isn’t a like-for-like comparison, the chart title should be amended to include based on total consumption’ and add a scale to show how many people are considered to be using each of the drugs listed to (in total and to harmful effect). That would present a more accurate picture and doesn’t reduce the argument for tackling what is clearly a big problem within society.
Heroin chic is a fascinating era, im looking firward to hearing more.
I’m fairly cfoeidnnt the hundreds of thousands figure is a UK one and to be honest I’m more surprised that the figure is so low. Alcoholic doesn’t just mean homeless tramp clutching a two-litre bottle of cider, it also means all those well-to-do middle class people who can’t contemplate getting through a day without at least one drink (ie they have developed a dependency), or who regularly and repeatedly binge to the point of making themselves sick or otherwise harming themselves and those around them (ie they are unable to control the impulse to drink despite being aware of the consequences).The societal effects ARE unique to alcohol because of the unique position of alcohol as a legally-available and socially acceptable (sometimes downright socially required!) psychoactive substance. This position means that the alcoholic demographic don’t need to have any criminal connections to begin, develop and pursue their habit how many of us were offered our first glass of wine by parents who wanted us to be able to drink it properly at social functions? and in the early stages, an alcoholic’s drug use is not seen as a problem. The freaks in our society are the ones who choose not to indulge, and in many circles it’s considered acceptable to berate, criticise and even spike the drinks of people who prefer to stay sober.Someone who shoots up heroin twice a week is a junkie. INTERVENTION! Someone who has a bottle of wine twice a week is a perfectly normal member of society who will be offered another glass. Even people who get completely blitzed twice a week no one’s quite sure where the line should be between I think you’ve got time for one more, and I think you’re drinking a bit too much these days. I feel that the most harmful part of alcohol is the way that it’s the one drug towards which we have a generally positive societal disposition.
Alcohol isn’t the only drug we consider sallociy acceptable. So is caffeine and cocoa. People who feel the urge to eat chocolate on a regular basis or can’t leave the house before having their morning cuppa could equally be classified as addicts. So yes, with that definition the numbers probably are low. But the quote seems to be referring to those will take extreme measures to acquire it, which suggests theft and/or abuse.Alcohol-related violence and illnesses are problems. As is a culture that marginalises people who choose not to drink and encourages regular binge drinking. But a report suggesting alcohol in general is more dangerous than heroin offers easy headlines and no solutions. You could make the same case against food, given the rising cost of treating obesity-related issues.
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