[Cyclical Nature of Fashion] Time to Remodel Your Past 80’s Garments in 2020

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Cyclical in nature, fashion revives garments of the past as new generations unearth styles of a bygone era. We’ve seen 90s’ slip dresses and sportswear, 60s’ minis and 70s’ flares, but now it’s time for the 80s to have its 21stcentury re-model.

From Madonna’s ruched tutu skirts to Grace Jones’ accentuated power suit, the 80s were truly a sight to behold. While certain peculiar fads like neon leg warmers and fishnet gloves might not be making a reappearance – thank goodness – all things ruffled and ruched are the 80s silhouettes you’ll be wanting in your wardrobe in 2019.

The first glimpse of the 80s revival was seen on the SS19 catwalk, with fuchsia power suits at Escada, shoulder pads and polka dots at Marc Jacobs and ruched sleeves at Isabel Marant. But now, spring couture and AW19 RTW has taken the decade up a notch.

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Viktor & Rolf  (above) made headlines with sarcastic slogans plastered on vividly hued gowns and its pleated tulle and ruffled skirts were larger than life. Rodarte opted for ruched leather and puffed sequin sleeves, while Giambattista Valli crafted hi-low dresses adorned with oversized bows. Though, it was Mary Katrantzou whose 80s pastiche shocked the most, as ruched scarfs brushed the floor, coats were plastered with ombré tassels and sequinned animal prints clashed flamboyantly.

But, will the 80s catwalk renewal trickle down to the high-street? Threads personal shopper, Katie Bryce says: “I feel like trends are cyclical and they never really leave or come back, high fashion has always drawn from subcultures, the streets and the youth and when you don’t have anything currently inspiring you kind of have to turn to the past for inspiration.”

It’s true that the high-street has started to filter in a subtle ruffle on a jumper or a ruched dress in recent years, but this year could see it have its Insta-trend moment. And, fashion blogger, Shanice Baker agrees: “I personally like that the 80s is coming back, it’s nice to have a mixture of the past coming back into the fashion trends. It gives people a chance to mix it up and not just follow the on-trend items now.”

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It’s also had the celebrity approval as Bella Hadid and Kate Moss were spotted in corset waist belts, while Miley Cyrus (above) wore head-to-toe ruffles on the red carpet and Emily Ratajowski caught a flight in shoulder pads and oversized lapels.

So, how come we’ve re-ignited our love affair with the 80s? Stylist Sophie Hill says: “I think it has to do with ‘power dressing’ and feeling bold and in control.”

“The 80s silhouette has perhaps come back around in a time when our political situation is anything but powerful,” Hill continues. Perhaps then it’s the impending fear of Brexit or the problematic US President that’s causing us to be more strategic in our dressing.

The 80s have also been an increasingly prevalent era in modern pop culture, as hit Netflix shows Stranger Things, Black Mirror and Sex Education draw upon the music and styles of the era. Editor of Blogosphere magazine, Albertine Brandon, says: “We have so much imagery and video of style from these decades so it’s easy to draw inspiration from them” And, Hill agrees: “Netflix is such a force that its shows can reach the most people and in turn control the direction of youth culture.”


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// L O N D O N – T H A N K Y O U // @spotify L O V E

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It’s certainly a risk to unearth outdated sartorial choices for TV directed at younger viewers, but they do so in a way that feels oddly current. Film writer, Laura Reaney says: “I just love how the fashion and film industry is taking inspiration from the 80s and 90s but modernising them – basically taking the best bits and making them more wearable and appealing now.” The influence can even be seen in the music world as artists like The Japanese House, The 1975 and Christine and the Queens opt for an 80s tinged soundscape and aesthetic.

Though, where has all this inspiration suddenly derived from? In short, it all comes down to our love of nostalgia, which just so happens to be this year’s forecasted trend. In Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends report, ‘80s Opulence’ and ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow’ were outlined as the focal trends for all creative mediums this year. From vibrant 80s colours, to synthwave, neon and animals prints, the inspiration for this year will continue to draw heavily from the light-hearted glamour of the past.

With such an explosion of all things 80s in the fashion and pop culture sphere it raises the question as to whether this will replace our adoration of 90s revivals. Digital fashion content creator, Lauren Collins says: “I think the 90s style has such a strong presence in the daily lives of millennials.”

“With references to The Spice Girls, Clueless and Sex and the City, I think the 90’s will always be a consistent style that we reach towards in this generation, so I don’t think 80’s will ever replace 90’s I feel like it may just run parallel,” she continues.


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So, whether you love the flamboyance of ruffles or loathe the gaudiness of clashing prints, the 80s is here to stay for at least a little while longer. But, there’s no need to fear looking like you’ve stepped out of the costume store, as high-street brands are offering pieces with just the right amount of nostalgia and modernism. Try Topshop’s ruched satin midi dress or Urban Outfitter’s ruffle crop blouse for just a touch of vintage flair. Or, if you’re feeling like a splurge try Rixo’s polka dot midi dress in royal blue for a cool £305.

Maybe you’ve even found an item from your mum’s wardrobe that you’d love to give a new lease of life or a vintage shopping trip unearths an 80s gem, whatever it is, Bryce’s style tips have got you covered: “I think if you’re doing a ruffled shirt it always looks amazing tucked into a high wasted pair of flares or kick flare jeans. For a ruffle dress, if its short I would pair it with a pair of fishnets and DM boots just to contrast the girly ruffles with something a bit rougher around the edges.”


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You might decide to mix your 80s with your 90s, or perhaps you’ll try puffed sleeves and polka dots à la Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink. Maybe, you’ll just opt to observe the era’s style through the small screen. However you choose to hark back to the decade, it seems fashion “just can’t get enough” of the 80s.

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