We bid a fond adieu to the Grunge scene for a while, and its most subversive fringes seem to be creeping back in a very sneaky way. Fond (the adieu) because it gave those of us with the right thrift store hook-up, the entree to one of the first accepted bouts of truly cheap chic. It was no huge challenge to throw a worn plaid shirt over a tie dyed T-shirt over a floral maxi for 6.95, and spare ourselves the alternative of Versace at the price of a small lot of property in Belize. A gay era when fashion victims, near and far, caught up on their student loans. Partly as a socially based reaction to the '80's, (and part common sense), it opened the doors to recycling the world of fashion like we're hopefully trained to do by now with our garbage. Maddening still, are the number of Fashion Houses that continue to use evil Styrofoam cups that take centuries to decompose.

The polished clean and simple look made headway in both the high end and European markets, as well as the fast fix trendy lines for the past few seasons, starting right about when the whole athletic striping craze simmered down. (If you're still wearing it now, by the way, stop.) Fashion in all its trite glory, it seems, no matter how hard it tries to take its own form, is still very influenced by global issues. Politics, the economy, racial issues, the works. It's true. Look how well Tommy Hilfiger made out after he was down with the brothers. Still is. But, something was wrong with fashion's new polished face. Heroin, with its powerful army, began to infiltrate the fashion scene, as well as Wall Street in threatening numbers. Thus, the polished junkie executive look was born. Suddenly grunge was back, at least in theory. A lot of companies tried to sneak the bridge/exec look back as being hip, by showing really boring clothes on models that looked like they've been up all night having great sex and popping smack. Tricky plan, but it's only a matter of time till the consumer realizes that she's been duped and looks like a geek, instead of blissfully ravaged, and overthrows the perpetrator. Be a junkie or just look like one is a stupid marketing message. Ace photographer Alisia Exum, honorary member of East Village Jr. Varisty noise band Space Mouse (beat maintained by Elite runway diva Soos Packard), shot a story on the subject at hand in the heroin capital of Washington state for Rolling Stone's May 30 issue. With models glamorized on dope all over the newsstands, it showed a photo pictorial that hits a strong message home. Heroin is not fashionable. It's stupid.

Space Mouse

See Space Mouse drug free at NY's Spiral, August 2nd, 9pm.