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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