Recycling in fashion Industry : Every season, trend reports pop up with a throwback or two to the past, whether it’s paying homage to ’80s power dressing or reviving the ’90s grunge – by now we’re all too familiar with the styles that past decades resonate with. So why do designers keep getting nostalgic ever so often and bring back the old in some new form or another?
Looking Back & Ahead
For his summer 2017 AIFW runway show, Amit Aggarwal went on to dedicate the entire show to nostalgia with a collection titled ‘icloud’ that drew inspiration from some of his most cherished moments as a child,
I pulled out all the memories of my growing-up years, which I thought that was probably the easiest time of my life. So, I used little detailing of a teddy bear eye. This line is a fusion of what India has to offer to the West – it’s textiles, and what the industrialisation has brought in – technology,” Amit told reporters post the show.
His creations featured recycled elements like music discs, doll eyes and sequin waste that were infused with handwoven textiles like chanderi and kota doria. Perhaps the answer to all the habitual recycling of trends is as simple as the rush felt when running through an old picture album to reignite a temporary state of happiness.
Introspect In Retrospect
Looking into the future requires reflecting on the past – photographs, treasured knick-knacks, time capsules – they remind us of a better time, a time that momentarily takes us away from the distorted present. So why does it surprise us when designers keep pinning the past onto their mood-boards?
Simon Reynolds, culture critic and author of ‘Retromania: Pop culture’s addiction to its own past’, claims that the reason we romanticize the bygone era is because we can enjoy it’s culture without the political or social context, “You only get the good parts, not the bad ones, it’s an escapism where you can blank out all the negativity,” he said.
Fashion isn’t the only victim that’s been prone to nostalgic fever, the world of tech and cinema are no strangers to it either. Famous ’90s sitcoms from the U.S. have been making renewed comebacks on Netflix or on the big screen in the form of movies. Whereas Bollywood has been besotted with the idea of remixing hits from ’90s films and re-releasing them in a new tune. Tech, on the other hand has recently seen a resurgence of the Nokia 3310 handsets, famously known for their game ‘Snake’, are making their way back on gadget shelves as novelty items.
It almost seems as if nostalgia is making a strong case for itself as a great tool for marketing and reinvention today.
Decades from now, could we see the possibility of revisiting the trends that shaped the millennials? Will trends like ‘althleisure’ find themselves back into our closets at that point? Aside from a budding revolution in 3D print and technology – something that will only advance beyond our imagination by then, perhaps even exist in 4D – one can’t help but wonder, originality in innovation, culture and art hasn’t exactly had many defining moments since the beginning of the 21st century. Except for the dawn of ‘the internet’ – something that’s already been fetishized in couture through Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring ’17 collection for Chanel that paid homage to the ’90s, when internet was still in its infancy.
The internet has overfed and exhausted us to a point where we’ve reached a cultural inertia. “I think we have replaced innovation with perfection. We don’t innovate the present but perfect the past,” says Reynolds.
We have all been exposed to fashion in different ways and have had our own versions of first encounters with it – for most of us who were born in the early ’90s, it was either through magazine stands or a music video on MTV; for our older siblings it was at a time when colour television sets started running international series like Beverly Hills 90210 and for our parents it was when they saw it on silver screen starlets – most of them in black and white.
Will nostalgia ever fade? We think not, but with good reason – the past gives us reason to carry on, rather than facing the unknown, we go back to the past to remember why life is worth living, when getting dressed up was such a joy.