Why Being “Fashion Forward” Is a Glimpse Into the Past

Not too long ago, one of the most iconic shoes was released. A light, springy, all-white piece of footwear specially formulated for basketball. Just by this description alone, you may somewhat be able to guess which sneakers I am referring to. This shoe, the Air Force Ones, was released originally in 1982. They came out to be one of the top sellers in the ’80s for their unique look and stylistic charm. 

Now thinking to the present year, 2021, Air Force Ones have made a major comeback. The shoes, originally basketball shoes, have made it to the feet of even non-athletes like Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Cameron Diaz, and many more. This is not the only instance of past trends coming back into fashion. We have seen this with the return of Crocs from the early 2000s, tapered jeans from the 1960s, and even pleated skirts all the way from the 1920s. This proves that fashion trends indefinitely repeat. But this leads me to wonder certain things about the repetition of trends. Why do fashion trends repeat? And can these repeats be traced in order to stay ahead of any old fashion trends that may reappear in the future?

I decided to search the web for some trusted sources that may help us figure out the answers to these questions. The first website was an article in dsnenglish.com, which let us know that we may be more inspired by our parent’s fashion choices than we think we are. “Researchers think that trends repeat because of generational changes as well as designers taking inspiration from styles their parents wore.” This means that fashion designers’ pieces may not be as original as we think either. So why do we seem to feel as though it is fresh and new? According to Vogue.it, “The younger generations didn’t go through those trends, therefore, everything seems new to them.” Because we didn’t initially experience these trends they didn’t necessarily come back but are newly introduced. 

Now, the tracing of trends seems to be just as controversial as something uncertain can be. Vogue, the fashion magazine, says that “cycles and recycles are a common thing in fashion and they happen in precise moments, usually every fifteen years.” Vogue tells us that any different fashion statement from any different time could come back every 15 years, but dsnenglish.com disagrees. According to them, “The average amount of time it takes for a certain style to come back into fashion is around 20-30 years.” This website believes that since we are in 2021, fashion trends from the 1990’s to 2000’s would be coming back the most. 

Since these two articles had conflicting opinions, I decided to do some research for myself. I searched up the top fashion trends of 2021, then traced these trends back to a specific time period. Air Force Ones were traced back to the 1980s, turtlenecks from the 1940s-50s, Crocs from the 2000s and baguette bags from the late 1990s through early 2000’s. These trends seem to be associated with parts of both theories. Still, none of these two theories completely describe the mysterious phenomenon of recurring trends.

If you ask me, I would say that there is no real way to trace fashion trends. We wear clothing from a range of different decades. Fashion all the way from the early 1900’s could catch the eyes of designers and inspire a new trend in 2021. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to know the trends before they actually happen. Certainly one thing is for sure, the same clothing that our parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents wore will indefinitely make a comeback. So the next time you frown upon the old clothing in your parents closet, hold onto it because your idea of being “fashion forward” may require you to take a glimpse into their past.

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