New season trends – embrace or erase? Eoghan Lyng believes that experimentation and rebellion are the keys to sartorial success, while Tom Roche argues that nothing can trump the power of a modern classic
In 1969, the world was caught up in the free love movement, with a wardrobe to match. Eight years later, as the punk era emerged, so too did a rebellious attitude to dressing. In the eighties, the Yuppie revolution ushered in a period of power dressing. In short, clothing is power and can also be used as a revolutionary ideal. By changing one’s wardrobe every season, we show that we are part of a group that may one day be regarded as a brilliant trend or one of abhorrent displeasure. Either way, it will show that we were part of a movement!
On a very basic level, it’s clear that people love to feel associated and involved, and personal style can act as a unique connection to wider society. Some moments created by the fashion industry can instantly become iconic, and why wouldn’t you want to become part of that? When Lars Burmeister or David Gandy emerges every season in new trends, it is a time of undeniable excitement. Wearing certain trends allows you to become part of a fashion revolution and, by extension, a member of a larger cultural movement. Members of the punk movement reflected their views not only in their clothes, but the attitude they wore them with.
Tom argues that versatility and functionality are crucial elements in one’s personal style, but we’re students, so why play it safe? Now is the time to say “Carpe Diem” and experiment. After all, if we can’t be adventurous in this age, it’s unlikely we ever will. Similarly, it’s unfair to say that embracing new season trends is a costly endeavour. With the wealth of vintage shops springing up around Cork, as well as the endless array of cheap offerings available online, there really is no excuse not to get creative.
Rebellion is, in my opinion, the most important ingredient in a successful fashion formula. Playing it safe has never appealed to the icons of our time. Look at James Dean, Johnny Depp, Steve McQueen – all created their own unique sartorial identity through exploring fashion trends and experimenting with different styles. Depp has become a master at mixing his bohemian eccentric style with new season trends. Just look at his hordes of followers and it’s clear that rebellion certainly results in a worthwhile pay-out.
What makes great style? Individuality? Being on trend? Of course these are important ideals of modern fashion, but are all trends really stylish? I mean, everything had its time and place, but what really makes someone stand out from the crowd are the modern classics. Everyone recognises them; they’ve been around forever and there’s a reason for that.
We live in times where trends change rigorously from season to season. That’s all well and good if your career is in fashion or you’ve got money to burn, but as students we can’t afford such luxury. Timeless classics are the foundation for every wardrobe, styling generations of trendsetters long before we were born. These pieces moulded what is fashionable today. For example, the peacoat has been around since time in memoriam. It’s truly a modern classic. It has never really fallen out of trend as such but has had a sartorial resurrection in recent years. Popular on the runway and frequented by some serious style icons (Kanye West has namedropped the garment in his music), the peacoat has gained a massive amount of street cred in recent years.
Its versatility and functionality is ideal for the stylish UCC man. You can be warm on a frosty morning on the way to a lecture and wear it later that evening in any venue in the city and look the part. It’s true the peacoat may not be the most pocket-friendly article of clothing, but this is certainly a smart investment that will gain you style points throughout the college year. On the high street, Swedish brand H&M on Opera Lane always provide great selection in their Autumn/Winter collection along with Spanish giant Zara in Mahon Point.
The new college year brings along new beginnings for students, and striving for sartorial self-improvement this semester need not be a difficult task. My advice readers? Stick to classic, timeless style pieces and you can’t really go wrong. At the risk of sounding appallingly clichéd, in this case, less is most certainly more.