WHY FASHION TRENDS RETURN
from EVOLVE, Autumn 2021
In her 2020 album Evermore, Taylor Swift sings, “I come back stronger than a 90s trend”, a phrase that reflects the return of fashion from this era. We’ve all seen the photos of Bella Hadid wearing low-rise jeans, Lizzo posing with mini handbags, Paris Hilton in “juicy couture” tracksuits, and Hailey Bieber in leather blazers; all are trends returned from the 1990s. However, current fashion is also being inspired by older trends, with corset tops taken from the 19th century and bright, patterned flared jeans from the 70s back in circulation.
But what drives the need to revive these trends? Television, an environmentally conscious attitude leading to an appeal for vintage clothing, and younger generations wanting to experiment with fashion are all significant factors.
In December 2020, the Regency period drama Bridgerton hit our screens. Set in 1813, the characters are seen wearing immaculate Regency-era gowns as well as dainty corsets. Since its release, corset tops have become a staple item for many high street brands, including H&M and Urban Outfitters, demonstrating the influence of popular culture on fashion.
Another TV show that is inspiring the outfits of the younger generation is the hit 90s sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I have often taken outfit inspiration from one of its leading characters, Rachel Green. As a result, the fashion world is seeing the rise of layered dresses on tops, the reintroduction of sweetheart necklines as well as celebrities rocking leather blazers. All of these outfits or fashions are typical of the 90s and early 2000s and are now being worn by the teenagers and 20-year-olds of today, further showing the impact television has on fashion.
Additionally, a more current reason why many older fashion trends are returning is people choosing to shop in charity shops instead of high street brands. This is because they want to be more environmentally conscious to combat fast fashion.
Fast fashion, represented by brands like Boohoo or Pretty Little Thing, is an industry that sees 10,000 items sent to landfill every five minutes in Britain alone. By buying second-hand clothes and avoiding supporting the fast fashion industry, noughties clothes have been rediscovered. This in turn incites brands to produce similar clothes to satisfy the demand, causing these styles to come back into fashion. Moreover, this recycling of items such as previously discarded low-rise jeans or leather blazers has been greatly beneficial for the environment.
Vogue tells us that fashion trends often return every twenty or thirty years. A reason for this is the appeal of “vintage”; if you place “vintage” on a label, the price will increase dramatically. This is because people like the idea of owning something that other people do not or perhaps cannot. Vintage clearly fits these criteria, explaining its recent resurgence.
A final reason to explain the recurrence of trends is that young people always want to explore and experiment with fashion. This can be seen in the 60s, when we suddenly had miniskirts and shift dresses for women, in contrast to the 50s’ A-line midi skirts - think Sandy in Grease. Now, we have the resurgence of low-rise jeans as well as the creation of mini shades. This shows how Gen Z is no exception to the need for experimentation in fashion and, moreover, that they will happily return to previous decades for looks, leading to a rise in older fashion trends.
So, I would suggest you hold on to those matching sets - 2040 you be thankful!
Written by Madeleine , Y12