Fashion & Time: The Ultimate Shoplift

All around us we hear words like “vintage”, “funky”, “retro”, and “oldschool” that are used to describe the latest trend in fashion. Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron, though? How can vintage styles be the “latest” in mainstream clothing? It’s true, though, isn’t it? The fashion world constantly steals or borrows from the past to create new styles of clothing that will be just as popular as their historical counterparts.

What kind of clothing am I talking about? Well, how about that “emo” look? “Emo” clothing might include corduroy pants, a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt, and skateboarding shoes. We see it everywhere — on scrawny MuchMusic VJs or on Seth Cohen from The O.C. Well that look is nothing new! It’s just a combination of some popular 1960s and 1970s clothing.

There’s also that recent music video for Eric Prydz’s song “Call On Me”, which shows an aerobics class where all the people are wearing colourful spandex leotards, high ponytails, and hair bands. After that video came out I noticed the high ponytails, stretch pants, leg warmers, and hair bands making their way into gyms and dance classes everywhere. This style wasn’t created by Eric Prydz or his producers! It was taken right out of the decade where Paula Abdul rang in your ears and Dukes of Hazzard filled your television screen — the 80s! What a fantastic decade that was…

Now I’m not trashing vintage or retro clothes, the people who design new versions of them, nor the people who buy them. In fact, if I had more money, my drawers might be full of old Beatles tshirts and acid-washed jeans. My point is, why do we take old fashions and make them new rather than just making new fashions? Author Ulrich Lehman wrote a book called “Tigersprung”, which means “tiger’s leap”, that discusses how fashion leaps into the past to create an everchanging present. I must agree with Mr. Lehman here, because I believe that it is our interest in changing the lives we live that drives us to change our fashions. Fashion isn’t infinite; there are only so many ways we can adorn our bodies. So Lehman says we take an element of the past and activate it in the present to create something never seen before while still continuing fashion’s cycle.

Conclusion: It’s now entirely socially acceptable to raid your parents’ closets!