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styleThe Croft2023

Clothes Of Note: The Revival Of Nostalgia

With the recent interest in nostalgic clothing, Naomi looks into ‘clothes of note’ and why past fashion trends are making a comeback.

By Naomi Yikuno-Amlak

The Croft Magazine // With the recent interest in nostalgic clothing, Naomi looks into ‘clothes of note’ and why past fashion trends are making a comeback.

Everyone has identifiers which denote a time that evokes nostalgia; perhaps a certain scent, song or food. But for me (and likely for you snazzy croft style readers), the clothes worn on a day of note, or your general sense of style in a particular ‘era’ of your life induces nostalgia more fervently than the song you shared with your ex ever could. I’m an incredibly sentimental person, so it’s no surprise that a smile beams across my face when I see something as trivial as the Aztec print leggings I wore on my year 7 non uniform day.

The fashion scene is no stranger to nostalgia either; the ‘nostalgia economy’ as dubbed by Quartz is an incredibly powerful trend in the fashion world. In the calamity of the last few pandemic-affected years, the tendency for trends to emulate the past has only gotten stronger. A number of brands are capitalising on this; in September 2020 clothing label Daisy Street joined ASOS to release a collection of T-shirts featuring a childhood cartoon favourite, Groovy Chick [see below]. This collection was widely celebrated by those in their late teens and early 20s (including myself) in the search for a nostalgia fix. Urban outfitters also featured collaborations over the past two years with Ed Hardy and Juicy Couture, two notoriously popular brands in the 2000s which experienced a huge resurgence of interest during the pandemic.

© Emily Fromant

So, what’s with this growing fixation on the past? As aforementioned, clothing-related nostalgia in recent years could be partially attributed to the tumultuous effects of the pandemic. What better form of escapism exists than to be clad in clothes from ‘the good old times’ when the future looks bleak? President and co-founder of Vestiaire Collective Fanny Moizant explained ‘‘Consumers are seeking rare and iconic pieces, perhaps that date back to a certain era, or that remind them of a relative's style or memories of their own style at a younger age, which might explain the huge comeback of iconic 1990s styles’. Moizant’s explanation resonated heavily with why I too find myself in attire from the 90s and ‘Y2K’ era. Growing up, I remember being enamoured with my aunt Esther’s style. It was then, strutting around her room aged 7 in her snakeskin boots and a gorgeous dress far too big for me, that I decided I wanted to look just like her one day! Fast forward 13 years, my closet is full of the styles I admired, aided by my aunt giving me most of her old clothes. Today, I wear outfits younger me would be proud of- something that evokes a warm, fuzzy feeling.

A lot of discourse around the resurgence of past fashion trends focuses on the negative environmental impacts that accompany the mass production of clothes to accommodate ever-quickening trend cycles. Whilst this sentiment is valid, I believe fashion nostalgia opens up more opportunities than ever to respond to trends as a conscious consumer. Charity shops and online platforms like Depop and eBay are full of second-hand clothing which emulates styles of the past without breaking the bank (ok, bar Depop).

You could also give your old clothes of note a new lease of life by styling them with newer items you like; helping you use nostalgia to connect positively with old clothes rather than wistfully watching your once favourite knit jumper become moth ravaged. I’ve had great joy doing this (though I must admit I won’t be reaching for the Aztec print leggings any time soon).

Featured image: Emily Fromant

Have you noticed old trends making a resurgence? Let us know!