Nostalgia’s Place in Fashion

The fashion industry survives on the concept of ‘trends’. But, it wouldn’t survive if nostalgia didn’t play a part too…

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Runway Scout dress | Zara slides | Bag from Cambodia | Hadid sunglasses

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We all have those fashion moments that we wish to forget; mine being the time I caught on to the ‘layering’ trend and took it to the nth level. Wearing 3 different fitted singlets on top of each other, with a thick material belt for good measure was my idea of a bangin’ outfit. Oh the noughties…

Then, there are those fashion memories that we cling on to for dear life. Memories of outfits (and even just times) past, that surface to influence the next things you put your money down on.

My mum gets the utmost pleasure relaying the story of 8 year old me refusing to run the 800m at Little Athletics carnival, unless I could wear my fully sequinned hat while I did it. I actually chucked a tantrum about taking my favourite hat off before the race. She is lucky that I didn’t demand that I wear the matching ballet flats too; that would have resulted in far too much embarrassment about her over flamboyant and princess-y child.

#IDOWHATIWANT.

As my favourite accessory of the 90s (until it was all about Etnies, Roxy and Billabong – oh the coastal upbringing!), that fully sequinned cap still has a profound impact on my sartorial choices. Any embellished garment or accessory brings back memories of the fully sequinned cap, the matching ballet flats and my life in sequinned costumes. I am warmly reminded of those things that I held dear to me at a point in time.

Nostalgia can also explain my penchant for fruit printed clothing.

I will be the first to admit, fruit prints are downright amazing even without having to use nostalgia as a crutch for my obsession.

But, nostalgia does play a big part for me in this love – for many reasons.

My dad’s best friend called me Tutti Frutti for as long as I can remember. He coined it because I was always wearing little hand made, fruit printed rara sets that my Mauritian great aunt made for me. I am 99% sure she chose my grandad’s curtains too; or we just have a fruit print loving family. If you saw his curtains, you would think it would turn you off fruit prints for life; but years of staring at them over dinner only made me grow to love them more. And it goes without saying, I am still trying to find similar rara two-pieces in my size.

These days, I am so inspired by anything that reminds me of Grandad’s house. Bright orange and brown printed pieces – reminiscent of his God awful, wearing carpet; red velvet – just like the big, comfy couches we used to fall asleep on watching Carry On; and fruit prints – just like those blasted 70s drapes. The more obscene the print, the better.

My outfit choices may be questionable to some, but a lot of the time they are full of meaning for me. Be it warm memories of my grandad, nonna or nonno, or simply something I remember loving from my childhood; I am always driven by my heart and gut, not trends. We wouldn’t get anywhere in the world of fashion if it weren’t for nostalgia, as it is the things from the past that inspire the new generation of design.

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