Thursday, 5 September 2013

Tartan takeover!

As it is now September, Autumn is looming, promising the return of layered clothing, cosy jumpers and ridiculous amounts of hot chocolate. With the new season comes a variety of new trends the most prominent being the tartan takeover. This shouldn't come as a surprise following the popular fad for anything 90's related as it is an accepted fact that 90's grunge fashion has strong associations with checked shirts and plaid designs. What came as a surprise was the magnitude of designers championing this trend.

Almost every designer's Autumn/Winter 2013 collection featured tartan in some way, there were many different check sizes and colour variatons but the red check emerged as the most popular. 

Tartan, Tartan trend, Plaid trend, plaid, checked trend, traditional,chanel, tracy reese, corrie nielson, thornton bregazzi, moschino, fausto puglisi, vivienne westwood, gaultier, yves saintlaurent, clements ribeiro, ashish
Top row left to right: Chanel, Tracy Reese, Corrie Nielson, Thornton Bregazzi, Moschino, Fausto Puglisi.
Bottom row left to right: Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, Clements Ribeiro, Ashish.
Although I love the way tartan is used in so many of the garments featured above, Givenchy's new take on tartan by combining it with a dark roccoco winter floral completely won me over. The rigid geometry of the tartan works amazingly against the softness of the florals without looking disparate.

givenchy, tartan, florals
Givenchy AW 13.


Zara, ever the master of catwalk print interpretations, has translated the tartan floral mix perfectly into its current collection. Printed on lightweight sheer fabrics the garments look delicate and feminine while retaining the edginess of 90's grunge.


Although tartan has strong associations with the 90's grunge movement, this fabric is the widely recognized uniform of the Punk movement a traditionally British fabric to represent a subculture of British origin.

1970's punk sub-culture.
Emerging in the mid 1970's, Punk aimed to cause unease and outrage with its non-conformist, anti-establishment and often anarchical views. This 'anti' approach was consistent throughout the movement, particularly in relation to fashion. The whole point of Punk fashion was to be 'anti-fashion'- safety pins, DIY studding and drainpipe jeans(any of these trends sounding familiar?) were all trademark features of this look, not forgetting to mention the starched and stained mohawks they sported(a direct reaction/retaliation to the hippies dangling tresses)Championed by prolific designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes, punk was, and still is, a strong subculture and ironically their 'anti-fashion' became such a popular fashion trend that it is still being repeated in 2013, 30 years later.

Left to right: Zandra Rhodes and on of her dresses, Vivienne Westwood's previous work and the designer herself..

So why the emergence of Punk now?

I refuse to accept that fashion is simply based on aesthetics and believe that if we acknowledge that fashion is an industry which responds to social and political atmosphere, it is possible to predict what trends are going to gain popularity. 

The world, the UK in particular, is currently experiencing a great deal of change, controversy and rebellion, this is the perfect social atmosphere for punk, a style embracing and actively encouraging rebellion, to re-emerge. Although most of the current catastrophes are focussed away from home, it is our reaction to these circumstances which allows Punk and similar rebellious fashion styles to creep back in. It is a psychological certainty that in times of turmoil we refer back to what we know, and the return to Punk styling is a perfect example of this.

The recent 'Punk:Chaos to Couture' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York(which ended in August)featured work from designers such as Versace, Galliano and Christopher Kane amongst many other renowned names. It attempted to harness the Punk spirit and draw parallels between contemporary fashion and vintage punk(see images below).

According to Andrew Bolton(Curator at the Metropolitan Museum),

"Since its origins, punk has had an incendiary influence on fashion, Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk’s aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness."

It is this 'youthful rebellion' and 'aggressive forcefulness' that ensures that Punk will continue to re-emerge whenever there is a social atmosphere of unrest.

Anyway, on a more aesthetic note, below are my picks from the high street stores. Personally I think that Topshop with its variation of tartan colour ways and Forever21 with its experimentation of tartan applique(love jumper and cross knee leggings) have interpreted this trend best.




River Island.


Onto the online brands!An amazing variety of tartan garments, styles and colour variations- this is why I am such a huge fan of shopping online!I think my favourite 3 picks from online boutiques would have to be the tartan print ASOS shoes(shown below), the cute dark tartan pinafore from Glamorous and the floor length monochrome tartan shirt cape by Missguided.






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