Alexander Wang pretty much solidified the fact that Hot Topic—the “rebellious,” inexpensive, gothic-punk-skater mall store of our adolescence—is worth revisiting when he posted an image of its vintage facade two weeks ago on Instagram. The photo went up right before he showed his Fall 2016 collection, and he captioned it “High School memories #fall2016.”
Wang wasn’t shy about calling out the retailer as inspiration for his runway show, which featured his crew of cool girls in hoodies, chokers, acid-dyed tops, and statement beanies, and it seems he’s not the only designer taking cues from the unabashed goth-punk vibe Hot Topic’s known for.
At Prada in Milan, models walked the runway sporting corsets over blouses and coats that were equal parts nautical and steampunk. Back in New York, Marc Jacobs took the trend even more literally with black lipstick, eye-popping platform boots straight from a goth-raver’s wet dream, and plenty of lace, polka-dot dresses, striped tights, and, again, acid-dyed pieces: all hallmarks of Hot Topic style. Then there was Rodarte’s femme lineup of more black lips, loose lace slips, and fishnets.
Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma went health-goth, with sporty sweats and (again) an intense dark lip; Alexander McQueen gave in to black tulle miniskirts and leather jackets; even typically conservative Giorgio Armani’s dark, round-frame shades hit all the right notes when it came to Hot Topic sensibilities.
So, you have a choice: You can wait five months to spend thousands on Jacob’s clunky boots, Wang’s corsets, or Rodarte’s lace or … you could get ahead of the trend by popping tags at Hot Topic and still have money left over for Panda Express at the food court.
The all-American mall staple is filled with pieces that feel so right now, that it’s actually kind of mind-blowing. Above, shop some of the most surprisingly high-fashion looks above, then click through the gallery to see the best Hot Topic–inspired runways from the Fall 2016 collections.
And remember: No matter how cheesy you think something is, it’s all in how you style it.