The Rebirth of the Flower Generation

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Olivia Schmitz


Writing 10 Section 14

16th March 2015

The Rebirth of the Flower Generation

Out of the approximated seven billion people in the world, several ideas involving fashion will clash. Meaning at one point, similar ideas such as silhouettes or patterns in the fashion community will look as if one designer stole another designer’s idea. Since clothing designs are produced by an artist’s vast imagination, the process of creating a collection strains their brain to think of new inventive “looks”, becoming a rigorous challenge. When styles are borrowed, they clothing is compared side by side and seen as similar in their appearance. Yet, this can be accepted as a form of appropriation art. After all, fashion is wearable art so it is easy to appropriate for the sake of reforming outdated clothing. Older clothing maybe seen as outdated, but some designers still see various potential outfits waiting to be created from any decades’ old garments. A lot of designers in the post modern time as a result reflect on the 1970’s era for inspiration. During the 1970’s the fashion scene became a revolution full of colors, cropped blouses, and high waisted jeans. Eventually, this all became a product for the fashion community to reuse and manipulate, like any other appropriating artist would do. Through imitating the free spirit of 1970’s era, fashion designers encourage an individual’s self expression essentially to provide similar styles from the decade.

Looking back on the past, the fashion industry of the 1970’s decade decided take certain key components from the 1960’s, but with a fresh take. North Korea had become a desolate country, cutting off ties from the world since 1948. Since the country hardly relied on other resources such as trade, it was rare to even see equivalent fashion trends. By the late 1960’s, early 1970’s, North Korean women wore the same trends of the business attire genre. Usually, when business attire is mentioned, suits and sophisticated clothing instantly comes to mind. During the 1970’s the bright array of colors was still used even in the office apparel. Essentially, not even North Korea, one of the most isolated countries on the globe could resist the ongoing fashion trends (Kim 12-22). The true significance of fashion trends favored around the globe symbolizes a universal language. The language speaks to connect each other region on a mutual level for fashionable expression. Another example includes the aftermath of the Portuguese revolution. The citizens of Portugal reconnected with their trades to the world, mainly through exporting fashion (Da Coasta Soares 4-8). With the help of foreign countries, the United States used certain foreign styles like “mod” and “hippies” creating relevance and turning the 1970’s into one of the better fashion decades.

For instance, movies released in London during the seventies the cast in the films majority of the time wore a mod wardrobe (Smith 11-19). Mod fashion portrayed in movies was iconic enough to inspire audience members to purchase a closet full of replica outfits. Today, mod is appropriated for minor yet significant contributions in the fashion industry taking an old fad and dusting it off, sold as a new start. Likewise, hippie apparel carried over from the 1960’s into the seventies, and continued to be a prevalent sense of style. For example, tie-dye has been passed down for generations used in clothing and accessories. The psychedelic waves of tie-dye are still practiced, continuously used as a fun activity for individuals. Certain “accent” styles hippies had worn like fringe vests, bell bottomed jeans, and thick heeled shoes are not seen as much with the whole “look” (Welters 14-17). These pieces are made into accent pieces, complementing an individual’s outfit, enhancing the outfit of the day. For instance, a casual outfit on the streets could be simple jeans and a t-shirt, but this individual is using a fringe decorated handbag. Accent pieces with bold colors or odd designs are intriguing to modern day people. Today’s audience was most likely not born in the same decade where today’s accents were common everywhere during its spotlight. Like Mod and “hippie” styles being appropriated, it is common for fashion designers to resell old looks to a young public.

The natural instinct for future generations is to eventually pass on well known fads to the following generation. Although the seventies was a decade defined by its popular free-spirited fashion statements, minimal genres gained attention in the future. In fact the influence of the 1970’s expanded sub-unit styles into future decades. Like the secondary style known as “punk”, evolved into bigger fads entering the 1990’s (McMahon 21-49). As a muted fashion back in the seventies, punk was reintroduced nearly twenty years later sweeping the nation who now wanted to dress in grunge attire. Essentially, these so called “sidekicks” that did not have a dominant voice in the fashion industry were reborn. In fact, styles like “punk” are well known in the current fashion community. Even if an inferior trend that was created during a focused theme like the seventies, it never dies due to a specific audience’s interest. Therefore, designers recreating the small scaled styles are simply dusting off the previous decade’s clothing and re-gift it to a younger consumer. Each designers has their mission all behind appropriating the seventies era. Like any other appropriating designer, the goal is to complement the original. Their work through appropriating past garments is made for various yet similar reasons. Some opposing parties cannot accept appropriation because of their own multiple counter arguments.

Presumably, there will always be a fighting argument against the defending opposite end of the spectrum known as the appropriating designers. One of the main arguments against the 1970’s enthusiasts would be the inauthentic essence in their design. Meaning, since designers produce the 70’s style in modern times, the consumers are literally wearing someone’s past on their shoulders, and is presumed their history is an accessory. For the people who had the decade embedded into their childhood or even spent a significant time as an adult during the time, feel robbed of their past. For example, when an individual sees a recreation of their youth, there is an argument claiming styles are only relevant during their lime lights. Opposing views also claim history cannot be repeated. On the other hand, the reappearance of fashion is an extension on history’s best fashion trends. Even if history is repeated for a good cause, in other words injecting some old trends into post modern times, some doubtful individuals are willing to accept the past. During the 1970’s period, the “natural look” was ubiquitous (Welters, 15-16). The current (and even past decades) saw this as an opportunity to insert the importance during their time period. Appropriating from the 1970’s is only a respectful reliving of the great qualities lived during the seventies. A consumer is a major factor to what currently trends. If an audience enjoys older styles for their own form of self expression there is nothing to stop the fad.

Self expression is labeled primarily through how an individual dresses. Consequently, fashion designers live to make a production, hoping to please an audience. Ties with the seventies coming back into fashion could be through an older designer recreating their own past. If not, the resourceful use of younger designers includes a genuine interest in fashion’s greatest achievements. Essentially, once old fashion is reintroduced, new generations can easily see this as a new statement piece to stand out of the crowd. Self expression is practiced through testing an assortment of styles. One of the main styles still practiced in terms of self expression is through androgynous designs. Back in the 1970’s it was clear that men and women both wore ill-fitting pants in comparison to their loose blouses (Suterwalla 10-16). In our post modern time, androgyny has evolved into more than slight similarities. Androgyny has become literal swaps for the opposite sex to partake in a different silhouette. For instance, women are now accepted to wear more suits, dress shirts, and/or slacks specifically made for them. Regardless of repeating the seventies there is an essence of freedom when a designer can pour their hearts out into encouraging self expression to a crowd.

Since there is a high demand for “vintage” apparel, the industry grew thanks to the designers referring to the seventies era. For example, the production of flower crowns has increased through well-known retail stores such as Forever 21 and H&M. Certain fashion designers according to Welters, partook in the flower crown rage since it was a large trend to the “hippies” of the seventies. During the decade, it was only a simple daisy or orchid in an individual’s hair until chains of flowers started to appear more elegant (Welters 17-20). Stores like Forever 21 assembled variations of plastic flowers glued onto an elastic headband to imitate the natural floral ensembles presented in the seventies. Consumers as a result brought up the sales and increased a demand. Aside from the headband blooming in popularity, mid-drifts t-shirts, otherwise known as crop tops introduced during the era grew just as popular. These trends are seen into the popular, affordable stores such as American Apparel, Hollister, and so on. Since these stores are affordable, it speaks to the modern day middle class which transforms the profits into an expansion of popularity. With the high status of the seventies growing, past designers incorporated certain key garments, patterns, or even silhouettes into their designs; which coincidently is imitated by post modern designers.

The 1970’s era was one of the most colorful decades in its early times from the transitional phase from the 1960’s. Looking at how majority of the seventies apparel started with inspiration from the sixties, demonstrates the ease of appropriating past generations. Although the 1970’s had a stage of bright, popping colors, it was around the mid seventies when the brightness trend expired. Quickly, the bold color trend became more muted and more matured (Welters 27-28). This proves although trends come and go, this never means trends will officially weaken. Inevitably, history repeats itself, but likewise fashion duplicates as well at some point along the timeline. Appropriation of the seventies fashion is an intelligent move on the fashion communities’ part. Designers not only making a profit on their own resourceful instincts, but they’re contributing to an individuals’ unique self expression. Dusting off the aged bell bottom jeans and tight dress shirt has demonstrated any reference to seventies can be a new and exciting take the fashion industry can redo like they had created in the past.

Works Cited

  1. Da Costa Soares, Paula. "Portuguese Fashion Design Emerging Between Dictatorship and Fast Fashion." Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture 15.2 (2011): 225-38. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  2. Kim, Suk-Young. "Dressed to Kill: Women's Fashion and Body Politics in North Korean Visual Media (1960s - 1970s)." Positions 19.1 (2011): 159-91. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  3. Manzano, Valeria. "The Blue Jean Generation: Youth, Gender, and Sexuality in Buenos Aires, 1958-1975." Journal of Social History 42.3 (2009): 657-76. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  4. Mcmahon, Marci R. "Self-Fashioning through Glamour and Punk in East Los Angeles Patssi Valdez in Asco's Instant Mural and A La Mode." Aztlan. Vol. 36. N.p.: n.p., 2011. 21-49. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  5. Smith, Justin. "Calculated Risks: Film Finances and British Independents in the 1970s." Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television 34.1 (2014): 85-102. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  6. Suterwalla, Shehnaz. "Cut, Layer, Break, Fold: Fashioning Gendered Difference, 1970s to the Present." Women's Studies Quarterly. Vol. 41. N.p.: n.p., 2013. 267-84. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

  7. Welters, Linda. "The Natural Look: American Style in the 1970s." Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture 12.4 (2008): 489-510. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

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