Why Everyone Looks Like They’re Hanging Out At The Mall Now

“We are living in a simulation,” people like to say—about Mike Bloomberg, about fast food, about Tekashi69. A counterpoint: what if we are all living in one giant mall? A quick survey of pop music, social media, and fashion suggests that mall culture—unlike malls themselves—has never been more alive. Billie Eilish, who made the Gen-Z leap from teen-famous to boomer explainer-subject after sweeping the Grammys on Sunday night, is widely interpreted as a new type of pop music heroine, neither the princess nor the sex kitten, but a young woman with no agenda save her own. But I look at Eilish and I see the spirit of the mall, from her giant black fan T-shirts (“I love this band, man!”) to her loose raver silhouettes. Her look—which you can also see on Rue, the sullen star of the spaced-out Gen Z drama Euphoria, brought to half-life by Zendaya—is what you might wear to pop a few pretzel samples at Auntie Anne’s before heading over to try on watches at Fossil and pick up a new spike necklace at Hot Topic. (With some deference to her fellow streetwear fanatic and friend Takashi Murakami, perhaps.) Read more at GQ.