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Archival Fashion: the eternal return of trends

The past becomes presents

Archival Fashion: the eternal return of trends  The past becomes presents

The real trend of 2018? Archival Fashion: when a brand digs into its archives, it chooses some "right" piece to be re-emerged from the past and presents it in the new collections. It is a sort of evolution of the old way of saying according to which fashion is cyclical and tends to always repeat the same things: the "eternal return of trends".

In the last few months, everyone has done it. Gap has launched the "Archive Reissue - Logo Remix collection", offering the public some of its most iconic creations of the 90s, as happened to Helmut Lang with the "Re-Edition collection" or to Ralph Lauren who reintroduced the line "Hi Tech Polo", Calvin Klein is inspired by vintage Calvin Klein Jeans advertising; Fendi is back to the mania logo; Prada has used its most famous prints in the latest proposals for the summer; while the Saddle Bag returned at Dior.


A further step is that of Donatella Versace who decided to pay homage to the work of his brother Gianni invading us with archival prints by Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe, animal motifs or ancient Greece and introducing a real tribute collection.


Have designers become so lazy and devoid of creativity that they have no other solution than looking at the past? No, maybe, but not only. Much more simply they understood that turning back drawing on their heritage is a winning way to attract buyers. Leveraging the nostalgia effect for someone, but above all, romanticizing the past and offering on a tray the "best of design" of a brand for Gen Z and the millenial group that may not be familiar, if not virtual, with those items. And what period to "plunder" now if not the 90s? The era of Beverly Hills 90210 and Take That is at the center of the hype of media and fashionistas, as demonstrated by the return of successful brands in that decade (from Fila to Fiorucci) and the latest collection designed by Christopher Bailey for Burberry, who has filled his farewell show with graphics and pieces from the past like a striped cardigan from 1986 and sweaters with the Burberrys coat of arms of 1991. If badly used, Archival Fashion can, however, risk diluting the original intent, the importance and the context of the first work; but, on the other hand, if well interpreted, it can underline the legacy of a brand and can strengthen its connection with consumers, underlining its capacity for durability and its short, it is a double-edged sword.