Friday, 13 August 2010


One might think that because of the progress (or rather regress?) that we have made in the area of clothing, we would not look back at our past,Think again, today we all see a resurgence of popular fashion styles from the past.
It's no secret that fashion has come to the stage when it recycles itself, yes recycle in the sense that clothes from the 50s and 80s are back,fashion has certainly come a long way from the top hats and petticoats era of the past,Clothes today have become a great combination of aesthetics and function. Also, modern clothing styles are greatly influenced by certain patterns introducad by fashion, advertising, and stereotypes to make people look "sexy" or even "sexier."
Reality, as always, has a way of denying what we all think. Today, we all see a resurgence of the past,Fashion does tend to repeat itself,take a good look at what the runways have right now and if you search hard enough,you will find that at least a quarter of the current stuff on the runways has been inspired by retro or vintage looks!!
But what does retro or vintage actually mean? Does it mean that the same old clothes are removed and washed, and presented again as new looks? Or does it mean that designers combine old fashions with current trends to create vintage-inspired new looks?
It can be very surprising and frankly, it does sound like cheating,how can major designers stoop to recycle old fashions into new trends when they look exactly the same? Are we that uninspired in the modern age that designers have to resort to cannibalizing old fashions?

No one knows exactly when and what created an interest in vintage fashion. Till a few years back, anyone who wore old clothes was simply referred to as cheap but all that changed when fashionistas and celebrities started wearing gowns from the yesteryear collections of designers like Karl Lagerfield and Chanel to red carpet events. Pretty as picture gowns that were essentially designed way back in the 1920s and 30s suddenly came in to prominence and the style slowly started to seep down into the younger Hollywood set. Twin celebrities like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen where another teen sensation that wore vintage fashion consistently, not that they made it look good but for some reason, they managed to make it work! The essential look that they sported was old combined with a few expensive new pieces that created a completely new look. The tweens also managed to make a complete fashion empire of the look by designing and selling the patchwork look through their in-house fashion line for students. Eclectic stars like Dita Von Teese and Chloe Sevigny also were deep fans of the look and although they were initially panned for their old fashioned dressing sense, they did manage to garner praise and acceptability over time. But no one managed to nail the look as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Over a few years time, almost every student is now raiding their parent’s clothes closets to find fashions that could be distilled to form hip and happening college wear!

One major group of people that can be blamed for the surge in recycling of trends and fashion styles are FASHION STYLISTS! In an effort to create distinctive looks for the stars they were dressing, popular stylists started raiding charity run second hand clothing stores, garage sales, car boot sales, flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, vintage clothing stalls and collectible fairs. It was always possible to find cheap but still wear worthy clothes that no one else had or had worn to red carpet events. Distinctive but old fashioned dresses could then be tweaked and dressed up by designers to look different! And more often than not, stars who were dressed so different to the current modern trends were lauded by the media for being “different, classy, and stylish.” It created enough of a media hullabaloo to make the stylist, the Hollywood star and the dress instantly memorable in the public mind. This dress would then go on to be copied and used by other designers as an “inspiration” for their collections. But most designers were savvy enough to use the original design only with subtle and distinctive design changes of their own! And that led to fashion recycling without any copyright infringement!

All in all fashion is the art of styles that change, whether is be recycled or what not, old or new, it would still be a statement in our lives.

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