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Why TikTok went crazy over Jaded London's parachute pants

Gen Z's alternative archive

Why TikTok went crazy over Jaded London's parachute pants  Gen Z's alternative archive

Reading the recent quarterly report published by Lyst on the most searched fashion brands and products online, one item stood out. The fifth spot in the ranking of the most searched womenswear items, between sunglasses by Prada and bags by Balenciaga and Loewe, was occupied by a pair of parachute pants by Jaded London that seemed a curious new entry in a top 10 usually populated by products baptized on the catwalks of Milan or Paris or otherwise with a three-digit price tag if not more. The fact of the matter is that Jaded London's parachute pants have found themselves in the past few months in a perfect storm of trends that have propelled them to the height where they now find themselves.

But the story of these pants and their brand is slightly more interesting than that: the arrival of Jaded London in Lyst's top 10 most sought-after products could be serenely defined as the culmination of a long strategy based on the instantaneous absorption and interpretation of the dominant trends for Gen Z that the brand founded in 2013 by the two Goulden brothers has practically elevated to art throughout its existence. Beyond the popularity that the brand itself has earned over time (a key turning point was, in 2014, when Beyoncé showed up at Colette in Paris wearing a Jaded London outfit) is its ability to intercept the public's tastes, serving them easily accessible products with surgical speed and precision - to the point that one only has to look at the new arrivals in the catalog to immediately know where the fashion weathervane is turning in this or that month. 

But why exactly have Jaded London's parachute pants exploded so conspicuously? It has to do with Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, at the head of a whole host of influencers large and small, who in recent months have been wearing parachute pants inspired by the break-dance scene of the early 2000s. This type of pants, which originated in the late 1990s and were initially constructed of nylon, helped breakdancers reduce friction on the ground, and their name comes from their original military use. The idea of "parachute" shifted from the original military designation to their construction: the drawstrings they possessed that allowed them to fit in different manners, falling over the ankles in a bulging manner, much like a parachute. They were so in vogue in the 1990s that Helmut Lang turned them into one of his classics under the alternative name of flight pants and in a slightly different version from the ones we see now. Their popularity was already established in hip-hop but the pants entered the cultural discourse when several stars of the 1990s and early 2000s, Aaliyah in the lead, began wearing them. Today, the plant attracts because of its shape capable of embracing many different physical types, as well as its nostalgic vibe, its genderlessness, and, of course, its comfort-which even with lockdown (apparently) behind it seems to remain one of the leading trends in the current fashion market.

@clara.lubrano Répondre à @peroline_br merciiii Insta : @_cannellebeige_ #vinted #vintedhacks #vintedfinds #vintedtips #vintedbrands #y2kvinted #parachutepants Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani

It was precisely their prominence in that all-important decade that made parachute pants in all their various declinations particularly sought after by archival enthusiasts, with the most famous models signed not only by Lang but also by Dolce & Gabbana for their FW03 collection. However, their nature as a somewhat "antiquarian" product and their popularity in the archival world has made these pants almost rare and hard to find in their original vintage edition - and where fashion does not provide, fast fashion takes over to satiate the market. In response to the 38.4 million views that the hashtag #parachutepants possesses on TikTok at the moment, Jaded London (Stradivarius is also a much-cited brand) has created an entire section of its site named "Parachute" doing what it does best: remaking for Gen Z what archival fashion represents for Millennials. A simple trick but one that worked.