Its 1971, the year that catapulted us into the ‘decade of decadence’ , an era characterized by excess and androgyny. For there is a mainstream movement that echoes ‘masculine fashion’, where shapeless silhouettes merge seamlessly with tailored shirts. At times, looks are bottom heavy, loose flares vs tailored shirts, at others looks are more streamlined, sharp and precise. Hems become longer and the micro mini’s of the 60’s are replaced with longer midi’s and even loose maxi skirts, worn with bell tops and peasant blouses. There is almost a bohemian vibe and a sentimentality for looser fabrics, see men and women unified in a love for ‘genderless clothing’. But for others they are still caught in the cusp of time, where short hems still exist and a more tailored silhouette sets them apart from the ‘peace and love’ hippies. In our modern fashion-scape, the prevalence of 1970’s fashion still influences the way modern fashion icons dress. Note Sienna Miller’s bohemian white floaty gown or street style blogger Blair Eadie’s infatuation with floppy hats, clearly hailing from the 70’s era of decadence. The 1970’s seems to be an era that has sparked many modern day trends including ‘ off-beat layering’, knee high boots, suede and peasant blouses but is especially prevalent in Autumn/ Winter fashion. Note the S/S 17 catwalks, awash with colours that are far too bright to be considered as 70’s, but A/W 16 was famed for its disproportionate hem lengths juxtaposing tight and loose silhouettes to create that 70’s vibe that us modern fashion lovers all heart.
Modern day designers are so enamored by the ‘free-spontaneous’ vibe of 70’s ready to wear collections, that pop up stalls, vintage sites and vintage catwalks have become ever popular, especially in 2017. For some, brands like Rokit began as a mere pop up stall, specializing in thrifted wares like denim, before organic demand led to brand expansion, resulting in 4 independent shops to be opened to keep up with public demand. For others, they hustle in markets like Camden, targeting a specific demographic that travel far and wide to buy vintage wares that are specifically either designed in the 70’s or is inspired by 70’s fashion. One of the most distinctive features of the ‘me’ decade was not just its ability to spawn commercial, evergreen trends but to create a colour-specific palette, that we now associate with autumn fashion. While summer/spring ready to wear collections are awash with lemony yellows and pastel brights, autumn/winter draws inspiration from the 70’s love of neutrals and earth tones. Jewel tones are kept to a minimum, although burgundies that lie somewhere in between ‘earthy’ and ‘neutral’ were a popular tone to contrast an outfits earthy accents.
The concept of the 70’s being about ‘freedom’, ‘identity’ and ‘personal expression’, is an asset that remains relevant to modern fashion today and indeed fashion throughout history. Being able to ‘dress’ without inhibition is what creates the greatest fashion ‘trends’ and has seen an increase in ‘buyers of vintage fashion’ who crave a movement away from mainstream ‘fast fashion’. It seems ironic though as decades past are ‘movers and shakers’ rather than explicitly buying into ‘slow fashion values’ but nevertheless 2017 is an era where our trends are ‘recycled versions’ of trends past. Its this notion that we live in a ‘fast fashion’ environment that has created a demand for vintage suppliers like Rokit, who are able to supply us with real authentic dresses, trousers and more from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, all at wholesale prices, that seem fairly ‘cheap’ for vintage fare. Notably the 70’s collection predictably features dreamy floaty smocks, neutral tones although the shocking inclusion of 50’s tea prints makes us remember how the 70’s borrowed freely from its predecessors, without certification. The tea lady ‘floral print’ might have been more 50’s but the 70’s adored adopting trends like the floral print and making it the era’s own. Arguably the 70’s inclusion of floral was often ‘moody’, in saturated tones and would adorn folk blouses, embroidered skirts and more. The infusion of ‘floral’ was quite often linked to the ‘hippy movement’ although many argued it was ‘folk’ linking to Hungarian and Scandinavian trends at the time.
The 1970’s had an influence on eras to come and arguably still remains one of the most popular influences in modern fashion. Its ability to accommodate trends like the midi, floral and boots and mark it as its own, was one of fashions greatest accomplishments while its philosophy that ‘freedom of expression’ was a trait we should all abide by, still stands as a value we use today. The 1970’s outside of the fashion world was nevertheless just as culturally relevant but for many and especially me, the 1970’s significance is rooted in its eclectic fashion tastes.
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