How fashion repeats itself

We are products of the past in every way; the way we live and think is vastly affected by what came before us, and this is no different in the world of fashion. There is no doubt that in our current climate, we are all decided that the days of our parents’ and even our grandparents’ youth was a cooler time, displayed in the way they lived their lives and in the way they dressed. Sometimes we don’t even realise we are wearing what was popular before the turn of the century, we didn’t go through those trends the first time around so everything seems new to us. The inspiration for designers has to come from somewhere and the past is a great place to look to reinvent and reintroduce some classic looks.

 

The reinvention of style can come in many forms, for example, brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry have reinvented their old styles to ensure their relevance and to bring their names back to the top of the industry. Similarly, classic names and styles such as Levi’s, double denim and Macs surpass the years and reoccur in our wardrobes time and time again.

 

There are different theories arguing how long the cycle of fashion takes to come back around but it, of course, can vary depending on multiple factors, seasonal changes or what a key influential designer decides to push at that time. Modern designers are now referencing the past so often that the cycle theory may have collapsed and maybe all styles from any era are continuously in and out of fashion.

 

We know that popular old-school styles from the 1970’s to the 1990’s are often repeated; the question of why is quite simple. Media has injected this era into our lives for years. We grew up watching ‘Austin Powers’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘That 70’s show’. Our parents show us pictures of their youth and we hear stories of a better time before technology took over our lives. Once decided something is cool and desirable, we try to recreate it. The most obvious and relevant example of this is the hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders. The undeniably cool style (and haircuts) of the Peaky clan has affected men’s style unequivocally, bringing back a classic look from as far back as the 1920’s. This slightly oversized charcoal grey piece from Private White’s A/W 2017 Menswear collection (below, Vogue) showcases this perfectly.

Some other key trends that have been repeated include 70’s bellbottoms. They were reimagined in the 90’s as flares, which is what we know and love them as today when they returned triumphant (again) in 2015. This cropped pair from Louis Vuitton (below, Vogue) showcases an elegant and very ‘in’ way to rock them now.

Of course, you can’t mention iconic fashion repeats without the beloved choker. Britney Spears, an icon to many, blessed 90’s teens and kids with the inspiration. Now, they’re still going strong after being back for what feels like a lifetime. Chokers may be a trend that rears its head for decades to come. They can be dated back to the 90’s, the 40’s, the 20’s and further on to Ancient times.

 

Old school fashion was designed to show off the human body. Fitted shirts and trousers with eclectic patterns and designs are a trademark of the past that young people have not experienced and wish they could, trying to reclaim a past that never belonged to them and that only brings with it the good memories from those days. In a world so torn apart and beaten down by politics and technology, a glance at the past reminds us of a seemingly cheerier and simpler time, personified by their excellent fashion.

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How social media influences what we buy

Social media and the fashion industry have almost become dependant on each other to maximise engagement and profit. When we immediately think of social platforms and fashion, Instagram is, of course, the biggest and the best. Its unchallenged engagement levels mean that brands can reach their customers faster and to a greater extent. Though Instagram started off as a platform from which individuals could share personal photos; it has now evolved into a key component of brands and organisations’ marketing strategies, and one that is taken very seriously.

 

Other strategies and platform options do exist other than the way brands boost their own following on Instagram through their own posts or via an influencer. Though I believe, as a prime example of who these marketing technics are trying to hit, that none are as effective, personal and as non-invasive as Instagram. As a quick example, you may have noticed that if you search for something anywhere online, the site will follow you around the web; shoving adverts in the form of cookies onto your feed of Facebook, Instagram or any other site you visit that has space for personalised ads; usually always for the item you nearly bought or similar like it. The idea is to retarget you to the site to hopefully spend some money. This is all done anonymously so it is less creepy than we all thought. This technic along with Google Ads, certainly ensures the item or brand is kept firmly in our minds, and might even convince us after days or re-seeing it, that we, in fact, need to shop from the site, thereby influencing our purchase and boosting revenue for the brand. The strategy can, of course, be seen as an annoyance. Just because I searched for an item once, does not mean I should have it shoved down my throat on social media until I buy it.

 

A strategy that I believe massively help brands reach their customers through social media is to address them via someone they already know, trust and follow. This way, they may shop from a brand because they have chosen to, not because they have been force fed the information. They willingly clicked on their favourite influencer’s latest Instagram post or YouTube video because they wanted to know more. Two of my most favourite and trusted influencers, SunBeamsJess and Lissy Roddy are shown below in an example of how they and the brands they work with utilise their Instagram feeds and followers to create engagement and profit. They tag the brand and use hashtags to maximise engagement, whilst styling the pieces in their own way, which their followers already know, and love.

 

Of course, it massively helps if the brand itself already has a strong following, making engagement with them a natural move from browsing influencers’ feeds for fashion tips. At a recent Digital Fashion Futures event, I attended, Mark Leach, head of e-commerce for Missguided highlighted this importance. (Missguided’s following shown below)

Because social media influences what we buy so greatly, we want the relationship between brands and social to stay positive and real. The issue of authenticity is a barrier that needs to be overcome if the marketing strategy is to continue to work. Whether you trust the influencers you follow or not is something you have to decide for yourself. Influencers are under no obligation to divulge the details of their brand deals with their followers. Brands may give them affiliate links to use on their social accounts from which they receive money for every purchase from that link. Or they might sponsor videos where the brand is reviewed. This has the potential to corrupt how truthful their reviews of the items sent to them may be, and therefore lead us in false hope to buying an item they actually do not believe is that great.

 

In a world where social really commands what we buy online, we must be savvy to those who really are only about the brand deals, so that those brands and the likes of Instagram and YouTube can become more aware of the problem and dismiss it. It is now possible to buy Instagram followers to make it seem like your support and online attention is huge; and so brands want to work with you when in actuality their genuine following is very low and brands get nothing from the deals. Australian YouTube sensation Chloe Morello posted a recent video outlining how you can spot fake followers, which you can find here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0aNjpaN5cE

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Five Menswear Coats You Should Be Wearing Right Now

When it comes to outerwear for men, you might assume that their shopping experience would be simpler than women’s, and that their choices would be limited. In reality it is quite the opposite, in that the array of options for a particular style or trend may have varying subtle differences that make choosing the right one for you, a complex process.

If we first focus on the shape that menswear coats are taking this season, we may see how they differ from previous years. It should come as a relief to some, that skinny fit everything that ruled men’s clothing has now taken a turn to a more relaxed, even oversized fit, and this is also the case for outerwear and coats. This slightly oversized charcoal grey, Peaky Blinders-esque piece from Private White’s A/W 2017 Menswear collection (below left, Vogue) showcases this relaxed way of keeping warm perfectly. Cult classic Barbour showed us a move from its typical well fitting, perfectly shaped wax jackets for a more relaxed fitting and distressed look (below right, Vogue).

 

 

When it comes to outerwear for men, you might assume that their shopping experience would be simpler than women’s, and that their choices would be limited. In reality it is quite the opposite, in that the array of options for a particular style or trend may have varying subtle differences that make choosing the right one for you, a complex process.

Padded jackets follow suit from the oversized trend in outerwear this year, only this time they follow a chicer design. Moncler, arguably the top downs jackets and ski coats brand of all time has always showcased this trend, but now with more of an edge, an abundance of laces and ties were added to the pieces showcased in the Gamme Bleu collection for AW17 which gave a unique mountaineering look (below, Vogue). Moncler might have never stopped giving us padded jacket chic, the only difference is now everybody wants to wear it, but this time, its smarter than the North Face padded jackets everyone once favoured so dearly.

 

Once we see how the shape and fit of menswear coats has evolved, we can start to look at more specific trend aspect, such as texture and colour. My most favourite texture corduroy has returned. Corduroy is so versatile in that the way it fits can manipulate its wear so drastically. A baggy pair of corduroy trousers compared to a well fitting suit of the same fabric gives off a totally different look. Officine Generale (bottom left) and Hermes’ (bottom right) AW17 collections conveyed the smart aspect of corduroy wonderfully.

Officine Generale also shows us one of the hit colours for menswear this season, moss green, and as we can see here, it is mostly paired with high-texture fabrics. It is a colour that suits all skin tones, and goes perfectly with the earthy tones that haunted the catwalks for AW17. In keeping with such tones of the season, orange was displayed en masse on the runways and can be used to add some interest to your black, navy and grey staples. Givenchy gave us this brave look with this incredible bright orange duffle (below left, GQ). Similarly, Mia Vesper created some outlandish unisex pieces for the fashion brave (below right, Vogue). They are all handmade from vintage fabrics and perfectly demonstrate the Western trend that is trickling down amongst designers into both men’s and womenswear.

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5 Womenswear Coats You Should Be Wearing Right Now

It is officially cold; and as we accept this dark reality, along with the influx of crowds who wish to visit the illustrious festive markets that surround us, we can be comforted in the knowledge that winter coats are back.

If you are to invest in any of your wardrobe items, the winter coat is the one to do it in, especially for those classic pieces that rear their heads year after year.

The first that comes to mind for me, is Acne Studios’ infamous and so covetable that the price rockets every year, aviator jacket (left). This ‘Velocite’ style is a thick shearling jacket in cow leather that epitomises the cool edge that winter dressing can bring, whilst being a warm and substantial weather-protecting coat at the same time.

 

Should your budget not reach this far, Topshop, do a wonderful alternative at £89. Excitingly, Acne Studios is also now available at world-class outlet centre Bicester Village, following their huge refurbishment this year.

Comfort reaches new heights of cool with shearling and teddy coats. They are huge this year and understandably; their warmth is unbelievable and are a hybrid of adorable and edgy. MaxMara’s iconic maxi teddy coat in camel is still a top seller (red version pictured below left, Vogue).

The subtle difference between this season and last season’s make the current one even cooler. The collar is bigger. The back seam has been removed and two have been placed under the arms instead, which make it drape further and fit even more oversized. Each one of these minor improvements adds to the already dramatic effect the coat has. H&M (right) have a dupe at £69.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tailoring has returned triumphant for winter and nowhere is this more evident than in the checked coat trend. The masculitny of the print is either being played on or offest by more feminine accessories or colours. This checked Mulberry coat (right, Vogue) is a perfect example with the flowing cream knits and slouchy bag which perfectly counteracts the heavy structure of the coat. November’s edition of Vogue tells us to play on the proportions of our checks to keep them current.

 

 

This month’s vogue also tells us how we can amplify the puffer jacket trend. Team a classic slip dress with a cool Louis Vuitton ski jacket.

In a bid to keep the puffer trend from becoming boring and over done, British brand Olivia von Halle, creater of luxe silk pyjamas has now moved onto creating quilted jackets in decadent jewel tones, buttery soft finishes and universally flattering shapes, allowing you to take them from day to night.

 

 

The Western trend has been on the outskirts of the fashion world for a while now and has only just started to make its moves into the forefront. Zara is a great affordable option as they have a whole collection dedicated to the trend. However, more high-end designers best create the intricate detailing and mix of textures that is necessary to achieve the ranchero style. Earthy tones, illustrated knit outerwear and fringing encompass this trend perfectly. Georgia O’Keefe inspired Christian Dior’s Resort 2018 collection most famously (below).

 

 

 

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The Future Of Fashion: Sustainability In The Industry

Given the number of parties usually involved in producing a garment, transparency in the fashion industry is no small feat.

From farmer to consumer, there are multiple steps along the way to create the t-shirts, jeans and dresses we all frequently buy. And buy we do. According to a study from McKinsey & Company, annual clothing production exceeded 100 billion items for the first time in 2014. Consumers also now keep said pieces for about half as long as they did 15 years ago, and nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.

When discussing sustainability and its forward motion into the fashion industry, we should first explore its history. In the broadest terms, sustainability came hand in hand with the political and social movements of the 1970’s.

The post war mentality of increased spending and consumerism lead to dissent among some. With the political and social movements that ensued, so did a greater awareness of human impact on the planet. You could say the hippie movement for a kinder, more environmentally aware world wasn’t taken too seriously; but they certainly started a trend that is ever growing nearly 50 years later.

In more recent years, a desire amongst consumers for more sustainable fashion, or ‘eco-fashion’ has occurred, and has made quite an impact on social media.

Even without wanting to/realising it, I have found myself cringing at the sight of real fur coats and clothing. Of course, sustainability in fashion can refer to many aspects of the process/industry, from the materials used, how they are worked, who is involved to fast fashion and landfills. As awareness spreads about the issue, more and more people want to know where their clothes come from, and what it means to buy fast fashion in terms of the planet.

 

Blockchain is a technology where brands can share, real-time, updated product information for retailers to immediately report back to suppliers on things like stock levels and customer feedback.

It was traditionally used to trace transactions in the banking sector and made its fashion debut during a Shanghai Fashion Week. As well as streamlining business processes between retailers and suppliers, its goal is to also establish trust, accountability, and transparency between brand and consumer.

It’s most immediate and obvious use in fashion is to verify the originality of a garment and its general history, allowing customers to be aware of how the products they are buying were made, where and who by, humanising the process; thereby garnering greater trust and brand loyalty by going into unprecedented detail about garments.

This allows the new interest in the history of clothes to be more accessible to consumers, allowing them to understand the layers of complexity involved in bringing a product to the market and its life after. It will shift the mentality away from fast fashion, where we buy and bin our clothes so regularly, so we instead value items and choose to give them away once we are done with them.

The trend is growing, and designers must listen, but also lead the way, taking control of how thoughts are changing. For sustainability to win over non eco-thinkers, the fashion must come first. Typically, eco-fashion inspires bland images; beige, oatmeal, woven and boxy shaped pieces that smell like earth. When in fact, eco-fashion can be just as luxurious as disposable, fast fashion. Forbes even said that ‘green is the new black’.

Some brands you already may know and love are making waves in the sustainable movement. Stella McCartney, OBE and animal rights activist was one of the first big names to introduce a more sustainable attitude to her work. In a recent Vogue article, her new sunglasses collection was revealed, which were designed not only with the modern woman in mind but also with a focus on what sustainable luxury looks light right now.

She parallels her ready to wear collection and sunglasses line in design and ethical stance. The new addition of metal frames to the range incorporates technically complex bio-lenses that are made from natural plant extract. This, amongst many other elements to her collection shows her unrelenting commitment to sustainability. (Vogue, June 2017)

In 1991 Nike came under fire for their low wages and poor working conditions of Indonesian factory workers, which lead to consumer protests and boycotts. Now, Nike is one of the world’s most sustainable companies. Their new Flyleather trainers’ look and feel like leather but are not made from animal hide, but from leather scraps and polyester blend fibres.

The process of making denim is extremely tough on the environment. Levi’s, the originator of blue denim, is now one of the first denim companies to reduce the amount of water used in manufacturing; and plan to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.

The latest ‘Wellthread’ collection uses Levi’s ‘Water<Less’ fabric which saves more than 60% of water in the dye process. The garments are also made from single-fibre cotton that is totally recyclable and made in factories that have an emphasis on and invest in the wellbeing of its workers.

Sustainable fashion is more present than we may think; often we are investing in the sustainable movement unknowingly because the garments are undetectable in their sustainably. Eco-fashion must be accessible and desirable; the industry is making moves in this area but must one day overtake favoured brands in style as well as ethics to compete for consumers.

It is important that knowledge and transparency are readily available to consumers so that they may make informed decisions regarding their purchases. Blockchain is empowering fashion brands to do this by educating consumers on product life cycles and is going to redefine and revolutionise the meaning of fashion by including and being paramount about honesty.

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