Retro Branding & the “New Normal” in Functional Fashion

Runway loves juxtaposition. High fashion is known to shock expectations in a way that’s bewildering and beautiful all at the same time. Yet, haute couture usually insinuates the type of fashion made for innovation more so than anything fit for everyday life.

It’s not new to this year or even this decade, but fashion more and more is shocking the system with its surprising degree of sensibility. Famed architect, Mies van de Rohe, coined the phase “form follows function” to explain his incredibly intuitive, unfussy approach to built environments. Is fashion taking a similar approach? Maybe it started with the reign of street style and fashion blogging, but as influencers continue to crop up from the most unlikely places, it safe to say that fancy and fashion no longer have to go hand in hand.

Recognizing fashion outside its formal parameters means inventing a new normal. When we speak of “practical clothes,” we usually mean boring clothes “concerned with the actual doing of something” (according to the definition of practical provided by Google) but as of late “practical” clothes are not only being embraced but favored by many of today’s top designers. Just take a look at the polyester raincoat being made over across the runway. The bigger question is what spurred this avalanche of trends not only in practicality but nostalgic branding.

The cult following of retro styling prefers the relatively un-modernized, pure vintage looks of ages past. And yearning to the past often implies an aspirational desire to remember the “good ol’ days” of a simpler time.

Functionality. Simplicity. The Good Ol’ Days. Mashing up high profile individuals in down-to-earth staples seems to be the direction Calvin Klein went with the reintroduction of their 90s collection. All-American overalls, cotton sweaters and other around-the-home basics make up this ironically exclusive line.
In the end, fashion’s still about jolting expectations, but the shock value comes not only from what’s being worn but increasingly whose doing the wearing.

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