Now here is a question that is almost as seminal as the chicken and the egg debacle – do I like certain trends because of my own intuitive leaning and environmental context or because I am told to through subliminal marketing? What I mean to say is, did I like something and then it just, coincidentally, happened to become a trend or was it already on its way to being a trend before and that caused me to like it? Wait. That doesn’t sound any clearer. Am I just a pawn in fashion’s cyclical trend game? (Side note: Of course, there are certain trends that I knowingly buy into, such as animals-on-sweaters, but this is about other trends that often take me by surprise).
Let’s try an example: I like Native American print. As I type this I sit atop a Pendleton woven Native American blanket that was a Christmas gift circa 2010. I own a ring that depicts Kokopelli, a deity of several Southwestern tribes picked up on a trip to Maine in 2009. The jacket worn above was a Christmas 2011 gift, based on the fact that I like these things, but this time from a major high street player, Forever21.
I always have liked Americana and tribal aesthetics, linking it to the fact that my dad is from Colorado. I like what he liked. I grew up overseas and it seem to encapsulate ‘America’ so well- but then it began to show up on catwalks a few years ago, and now you can’t get away from ‘Aztec’ or ‘Navajo’ underwear, tshirts, iphone cases. Now, when I go out in my jacket, so directly a by-product of the trend machine, I feel guilty or self-conscious. Am I wearing this because it is trendy? Does it matter? Not really. I like it. Does it matter why I like it? No. Guess what? I like plaid too. Grunge came and went back, the lumberjack is in and then he’s out, but I will always like plaid. Same with wearing oversized men’s shirts. I still wear the same XL striped LL Bean shirt that I inherited from my dad when I was 15.
Trends are simultaneously fast-moving and lingering. The Southwest thing has been pervading since 2009 but didn’t really explode into fashion’s mainstream consciousness until Isabel Marant’s 2011-12 Autumn/Winter show. I own more Native American prints now because they have become more accessible – because they are on trend. But then that trend will fade, and I’ll still wear my jacket, still wear my ring and still wrap up in my blanket. Because whether or not fashion dictates something to be ‘on trend‘, I’m going to like what I like until I don’t. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out – and I’m just fine with that.