This Fall, expect a wide spectrum of genres particularly in the United States, when it comes to streetwear and urban contemporary outerwear, especially jackets.
In higher-end streetwear (what Bread and Butter types call “urbanwear” which in our American eyes would be mistaken for say, Fubu, and why no one here dares call cutting-edge brands like The Brooklyn Circus, Neuw denim, or G-Star “urbanwear”), dark denim and sharp silhouettes continue to be a strong trend. This resembles a more fitness-oriented culture and a nod to nostalgic times when people were generally skinnier. Even the varsity jacket/letterman streetwear vibe isn’t as bulky as it once was and the nod now among streetwear leaders is to encompass the past with strides taken towards getting smart–literally college educated–and showing their streetwise sensibility within pieces of their style: from a bow tie to hand-crafted leather footwear, mixed with a tailored flannel button down and topped with a varsity jacket and fitted tweed paperboy cap.
Another highlight for Fall jackets are that more designers than ever now claim to be camo connoisseurs. Blogs covering the scene often debate the differences between French army mountain range camo vs. 1950’s American camo—the Korean War version. Americana as seen in entirely new ways, including pattern and fabric mixes offered in unique styles including influences from Japan are among the top trends within this genre. (Nick Wooster’s exhibition at Project in February was a great example of this.)
Other themes range from rockabilly and 50’s vibes including shorter versions of jacekts, short denim jackets, moto leathers, and deconstructed denim vests with DIY patches. Tailored flannel mixed with camo and wool, along with 1920’s themes are also popping thanks in large part to Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” Many brands are taking this option to new heights with Great Gatsby flair including the much-hyped brand Victrinox (makers of the Swiss Army knife), Jenny Han, a Gatsby-like Dr. Martens, even Kongol hats.
Retro Californication is also influencing more collections, especially coming from a motorcycle and surfing perspective as seen with Deus out of New Zealand or Iron and Resign from So-Cal. On the flip side of this, old-school brands come alive such as Lightning Bolt, which is riding an indie wave (no pun intended) that boutiques are flocking to, as well as 70’s inspired Aviator Nation and their recent Pendleton collaboration vests. Some call it West Coast Luxury like Agave denim which touts its Handcrafted in Cali roots. Even Silver Jeans, which is NY based, in their recent collection captures the Cali Western feel with denim jackets and vests, flannel, and relaxed fits with long-haired models.
A question comes to mind however, is how far will retro Americana be accepted by a new youth culture—a generation that has now gone through their entire teens in a recession. For these new consumers, quality and story are important. But being first to own a new piece is less important than ever before. It’s really about being able to DIY a style, which may mean a mix of pieces across a vast array of genres that mean something to them (thus the growing importance of knowing the crossover effects of fashion, music, sports, and technology). From hip-hop to SoCal to punk rock, it’s not really all that random, but quite specific if you understand the roots of influence and why.
This is where color enters the picture. Whether those on the camo-bandwagon like it or not, it is still important and it marks a distinct difference in current trends, especially jackets. Think dubstep, rave, electronica and follow the flow of changes in music and you get the inspiration. Bright colored jackets, windbreakers, and vests are a staple for this Fall especially among a younger demographic pairing this with matching, bright-colored sneakers. Seem at trade shows, and followed-up at key top stores and onto the festival fields of Coachella, there’s a strong segment of consumers that are about as far away from camo as they can get, and taking their fashion cues in a new form of Americana with the likes of a “Member’s Only” jacket vibe with retro styling, but a mix of bright colors, stripes, and the re-introduction of tie-dye.
Overall, the crossover of trends in jackets and Fall streetwear as a whole has expanded and created its very own subcultures which are sure to give rise to certain brands popping despite 2012’s Age of Recession.