Fashion Cycles

tie-dye hooded jacket in subdued colorsMany of us will have noticed that there pronounced cycles in fashion. The most obvious is, in my opinion, the skirt’s hemline. The reason for a repetition here is obvious because there are only so many length variations. It can be all the way to the floor, half calf, below the knee, just to the knee and above it. Then a few inches above the knee, half thigh and then all the way where the skirt hardly deserves its name any more.

The hem has to go somewhere and that is pretty much the range, so there must be repetition. Sometime int he past that range was much small and from my own personal experience know what an uproar the expansion of these limits created when the hem dared to rise above the knee, way above the knee. I was still very little, but you can imagine if I can remember the uproar, as a kid where I certainly did not follow any fashion trends.

But now the whole leg is discovered, the range is maximized. I just realized that actually these mini skirts were not all new. Think back to the Roman Empire. OK, it were not women, but these soldiers did wear these cute little mini skirts.

Now, hem-line is one variable, but there are many more. For one there is the prevalent color scheme, pant legs – straight, bell-shaped, low waist, high waist. Then shoulder width, narrow waist or loose. Taking all these factors into account there should be enough combinations that there should be no repetition for a long time.

Maybe it’s the same principle as browsing through the closet once in a while – sometimes you discover something you totally forgot, but when you see it, good old memories come back, you pull it out and wear it. I could imagine that this is the same with fashion designers and trend setters. There are just some things that make us feel good, and we want to regain that feeling when we remember it.

If we just pull out an old outfit to get this old feeling back we often combine this with some of the new experiences we had in the meantime. This way the old becomes new and fresh again.

If we accept the idea that bringing out old trends and outfits re-creates the emotions of the time past, we can understand the endurance of tie-dye. Its first big epoch were the revolting 60s and 70s; definitely a time of full experience of life, the feeling of freedom and accomplishments. There are now some new designs beside the all-prevalent big spiral on the chest, but it is getting a bit dated, and usually, if you see someone wearing the typical tie-dye shirt, you get the feeling of not quite in present time.

This is why the new fresh tie-dye from is such a big success. Nothing realy new was invented, just a creative combination of the traditional mudme, prevalent in parts of South-East Asia, with the tie-dye of the hippie days. A very interesting facet of this combination is the addition of subdued color ways. Or have you ever seen such a quiet, warm tie-dye jacket as the one accompanying this article?

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