In a world that contains the iPhone, Facebook, Kindles and gourmet ready meals designed by top chefs, it seems as though almost anything is possible. The latest generations of hi-tech gadgets and social media networks seem to arrive as soon as we’ve adjusted to the last round of updates. But fashion, by contrast, seems to be stuck in a never-ending mode of recycling the past, with retailers raiding the wardrobes of decades long gone to repackage old styles for the next generation.
And it’s not just in the world of fashion. Shows like The Voice, X Factor and Glee spawn legions of chart-topping cover versions of yesterday’s greatest hits without bringing much – if any – original songwriting to the table. Meanwhile, the film industry seems to be stuck in an endless cycle of rebooting previous box-office hits in a relentless stream of remakes of remakes - and if it’s not a remake, chances are the source material is either a novel, a comic book or a biography. Does this mean that creative originality is dead?
“People do not like complete surprises, they like pleasant surprises,” explains Price Jaccobi of Consolidated Films. “A pleasant surprise is breakfast in bed, a bad surprise is a breakfast of bran muffins when you are used to eggs and bacon. By patronising these movie remakes, audiences are telling us that they want things to be familiar and at the same time new.”
Something similar happens on the journey from the catwalk to the high street. “Fashion shows are exhibitions of artwork, where morsels of extravaganza fly off the wall to come crashing right between your eyes,” says Julian Sudre. “The emphasis is not on the wearable, and neither on the functionality. It’s about innovation and beauty.”
But high-street fashion needs to be more approachable, and ultimately more familiar. While adventurous vintage garments are all the rage for the trendy student market, high-street retailers tend to update vintage styles for a more wearable, contemporary look. There’s something so much more accessible about a familiar style on the receiving end of a revamp. Hemlines are adjusted, cuts altered, more current fabrics and patterns chosen to give garments a modern twist, creating fresh and eye-catching pieces.
Lots of trends that appeared to have kicked the bucket have enjoyed a revival over the last few years: take a bow skinny jeans, Edwardian-style blouses, 60s floral prints, 40s tea dresses, victory rolls and poodle skirts, elegant pencil dresses, beehives and 90s biker boots. With a subtle update – a new pattern, a comfortable stretch fabric or a demure adjustment to the hem – it’s possible to maintain a very current wardrobe without stepping outside your fashion comfort zone.
And let’s be honest: everyone reserves a slice of wardrobe space for an item or two that they never wear anymore, but hold out hopes that eventually it may see the light of day again. Whether it’s out of hope that those size 12 pre-baby jeans will breeze over your hips if you can just stick with the New Year’s resolutions, or just that those over-the-top 80s shoulder pads will eventually have their day again, we’ve all been guilty of nostalgia at some point in our lives.
Perhaps, rather than looking at this phenomenon as a widespread lack of originality, it's better to view it as simply a 'culture of reinvention'. After all, sometimes these modern reboots and updates offer a significant improvement on the original product, and, ultimately, allow new generations to tap into much-loved classics - whether that happens to be Spider-Man or 80s legwarmers.*This was a sponsored post provided by the client*