Posted on March 31, 2016

Designer See, Designer Do: The Art of Copying Clothes

Fashion & Beauty

During this past Fashion Month, many designers brought out their best work. From satirical societal stances to exploring the name of a brand and embracing the combination of subcultural aesthetics, some designers had a strong voice, while others withered away. Many runway shows featured looks and trends that had us raising one eyebrow and asking, “Haven’t we seen that before?” Instead of finding inspiration from life itself, designers have been inspired by, well, other designers.

Recently, the fashion industry has been scrambling trying to find new trends with the dark cloud of fast fashion over them and the critics’ eyes keeping watch, asking: “Is there anything new?” The emergence of pop culture stars like Rihanna and Kanye West now threaten the prestige of age-old brand names. Designers have hooked onto the same old trends of 70s rocker-flower-chick, 90s street stylish and the preppy, chic school kid. claimed, “While many are declaring the end of trends, it seems that others are glomming onto them more vigorously than ever.” They went on to say if you like 70s, just stick in some “brocade, standard flare, a bit of fringe and you’re good.” If you are stuck in the 90s, there is “no need to think differently” just feature a “slip dress,” “skinny turtleneck” and “a spoonful of grey.”

During this Fashion Month, designers seem to have embraced the inclination to think synonymously by presenting the preppy schoolgirl theme. Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, and many others featured an exaggeration of the prep look.

In regards to the impressionable collections from NYFW, NY Times stated, “There’s only so long you can contemplate Coach’s tour through Americana (appliquéd baseball jackets and Western shirtdresses, vintage trenches and plaids ’n’ paisleys) teetering on the edge of cliché.” They go on to claim Tommy Hilfiger “confused a theme (cruise ships!) for a premise. A gold braid overlay and some sailor pants do not make a collection new.”

The overemphasized, vintage-American, preppy hodgepodge of these collections seemed to echo the theme of Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2016 line. Coach’s appliquéd sweaters and varsity jackets and plaid button-downs layered with leather and fur shared similarities to Marc Jacobs’ whimsical preppy Americana collection.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall/Winter 2016 nostalgic collection was also reminiscent of Jacobs’ line. With glitzy braid overlays, graphic appliqués, vintage blazers and leather jackets—among others—all the looks echoed that of Jacobs. Hilfiger was even inspired by the 1940s with a “cinematic flair.” Jacobs’ collection was “an acknowledgement of moments past” with a focus on the cinematic aspect of media (as it was shown at the Ziegfeld and the collection featured numerous cinematic graphics and themes). Aside from Marc Jacobs, many other designers have imitated Céline, Calvin Klein, Dior and Chanel and numerous amounts of other influential designers and brands.

With the rise of Zara and Forever 21 movements, pop culture stars (Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Kanye etc.) materializing into the industry and critics claiming this is the end of new trends, the industry is left wondering: where is fashion going? Designers are desperately trying to create anything new, yet end up recycling other designs, either from different eras or other designers. Finding inspiration from well-renowned designers is a way to improve the artwork. That’s what inspiration is: loving something and creating something new from that love. Inspiration is what drives art, yet the cookie-cutter collections pretending they are something new will only end with the industry asking again: Where is fashion going?

Photos courtesy of Vogue, Vogue UK

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