It’s a trend that you will no doubt have noticed gracing the catwalks in all its forms – an emphasis on vintage inspired design. From small details, to head to toe looks, the 20th century is alive and well in a world that is increasingly nostalgic. Prolific American designer Bill Blass once stated ’The role of the designer is to refresh and change the look of the past for the present.’
In the late 80s and 90s, a lot of high fashion channelled what they saw as the ‘future’ of clothing, but recent success stories like STAUD and Zimmermann have demonstrated that a historical aesthetic strongly guided by vintage imagery is not only commercially viable, but advisable! We want less metallic and structure, and seem to gravitate towards Laura Ashley style florals.
But why is fashion looking backwards? The answer is more nuanced than we might think. Sure, nostalgia plays a part. As the millennial generation ages we are fondly looking back to the 90s as a simpler time where slip dresses and chunky boxy-toed platform heels reigned supreme and we didn’t have to be digitally connected 24/7.
Aside from the strong emotive attachments we have to garments from certain eras, traditional production techniques often hint at luxury and time-taken, visual triggers for consumers that are craving higher quality items.
The pressure placed on designers for constant newness is also a factor. As houses become more self-referential and dive into their archives to create ‘new-but-old’ collections (see Tommy Hilfigers’ nineties capsule collection). Using past resources to create new profit is a no-brainer, and capitalises on the trend for nostalgia and ‘heritage’ designs that have become iconic to British fashion.
So how can you embrace this trend? Think about digging up some family heirlooms from you mothers or grandmothers closet (even your grandad’s – those chunky cardigans won’t wear themselves!) and see how they slot in to your current wardrobe. You might be surprised at how versatile they are!
You could also think about adding some vintage into the mix – check out Trendlistr for a curated and trend-conscious collection of authentic retro items. Cinch them, shorten them, layer them for today’s trends! Remember to have fun and experiment – the most delightful outfits come from the most unexpected mix of elements.