Louis Tomlinson x Balenciaga: "A Common Language"

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Louis Tomlinson is known for the strong online relationship he has with his fans. He regularly communicates with his Louies through Twitter, Instagram, and more. Louis has used social media to build an online community and culture for his fans. It comes as no surprise, then, that Balenciaga - one of the staple brands in his wardrobe - is designed by "one of the first designers to truly understand internet culture".

Demna Gvasalia began at Balenciaga in 2015 and ever since, he has been lauded as the "outlier fashion designer". He's the designer that sends platform clogs, designer Ikea bags, and triple-soled sneakers down his runways. His clothing gains attention as internet memes, but quickly turn into the season's hottest trends. In a world of excess and materialism, his work is known both for its meme-ability, and its playful irreverence.

Louis Tomlinson meeting fans in a Balenciaga turtleneck.

Louis Tomlinson meeting fans in a Balenciaga turtleneck.

Louis has a particular penchant for collecting Balenciaga's speed-knit sneakers. They're the anti-shoe, essentially a pair of socks with soles. Though underestimated by fashion critics and bloggers alike, the sock sneaker became the defining footwear of 2017. It's been referenced in Top 40 tracks, memed across every networking site, and worn by countless celebrities.

This is a common theme for Balenciaga's stand-out items. Under Demna's direction, the decades-old fashion house is still somehow an underdog that comes out on top again and again with out-of-the-box pieces inspired by the internet and everyday life.

Louis typically sticks to Balenciaga's subtler menswear - clean lines and silhouettes. But almost every Balenciaga piece he wears contains a bit of Denma's trademark winking irony; an aside to those versed in current internet culture.

Louis has worn a Balenciaga hoodie from a collection that was inspired by Bernie Sanders' political campaign logo. It's no coincidence that Demna drew inspiration from Sanders, who was arguably the popular candidate among America's youth.

Louis Tomlinson in a Balenciaga hoodie (pictured with collaborator Bebe Rexha)

Louis Tomlinson in a Balenciaga hoodie (pictured with collaborator Bebe Rexha)

In Amsterdam, Louis wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with "femme fatale" and 90s heavy metal iconography - a callback to the music that today's youth grew up with.


Fans were even quick to spot the underlying meaning in a Balenciaga-designed "Homme" sweatshirt that Louis wore to a day of promo. "Homme", of course, is interestingly close to "Home" - the name of a fan-favorite One Direction song that Louis co-wrote.

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It seems intentional that Louis chooses to consistently wear clothing from a designer who's so ingratiated in internet culture. Just as Louis communicates with his fans through social media, his clothing sometimes feels like an extension of that communication.

Like Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, perhaps Louis employs "widely-understood pop cultural signals as a common language" in his clothing to subtly nod to the world around him. As a fan, it's fun to see that Louis' clothing often reflects the internet culture that Louies engage with every day.

Special thanks to the team at LT Fashion Archive for sourcing Louis' clothing.

Best-Dressed: Louis Tomlinson's X Factor Fashion

Louis Tomlinson has long been known for his iconic streetwear-inspired style, and his wardrobe from his first week as an X Factor judge has upheld that reputation! Over the last several days, he's worn pieces by a number of his favorite designers - like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Adidas - in addition to new ones, like Heron Preston.

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Louis began the week at the X Factor press conference, wearing a football turtleneck sweatshirt by often-worn designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. He paired the sweatshirt with Valentino side stripe track pants. The look garnered critical praise, earning Louis a spot on GQ's 10 Best Dressed Men of the Week list for its unique details and clean, minimalist aesthetic.


During the first official day of auditions, Louis stepped out wearing a classic shirt by another favorite designer, Burberry. The shirt comes from Burberry's new vintage collection, using their classic check print. He added a sportswear twist by pairing the smart button-down with a pair of Adidas Originals Continental 80 sneakers.


As auditions progressed, Louis returned to his sportswear roots, but kept the aesthetic fresh with a statement shirt by designer Heron Preston. The shirt features both front and back graphics - "Build Your Own Future" on the back, and "No matter how hard you try, you can't stop me now." on the front.

Louis wore the Gucci Blue and Orange Technical Lounge Trousers alongside the shirt, staying on top of the recent motocross-inspired fashion trend. He finished the look with Balenciaga Speed Knit Sneakers, a luxury brand he's been wearing throughout his solo career.


Closing out his first week as an X Factor judge, Louis chose another statement shirt - this time by famed designer Stella McCartney. Emblazoned with an eye-catching mouth graphic and the phrase "no smile, no service", the shirt is reminiscent of Louis' penchant for wearing similar tops while touring with One Direction. He completed the outfit with a pair of monochrome Gosha Rubchinskiy x Adidas sneakers.


Louis' style thus far has been a creative mixture of classic and new trends, and he's worn pieces from his standby favorite designers and fresh faces in the industry. We look forward to see what other looks he has in store!

Special thanks to the team at LT Fashion Archive for sourcing Louis' clothing.