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Fashion Strategies: The Recycling of Styles

Updated on April 11, 2009

It started with an old picture of my dad. He was five. The year 1920. The year the incident occurred was 1970. The youth movement, the "now generation", the "don't trust anyone over 30" youth culture was in full bloom.

My dad's hair style was identical to The Beatles' haircuts on their first LP, Meet the Beatles! It was weird, as I was convinced that what the Beatles started was BRAND NEW, never done before. My dad saw the LP and laughed, he said, "they have Dutch cuts". I looked at him like an alien.

Now, I realise that the fashion industry simply reintroduces fashion styles and haircuts every 10-20 years to the new young generation which missed the fads, styles, etc. When men's paisley shirts came out, I thought it was new, well it was to me, but my dad had seen them years ago before I existed.

The fashion industry targets age groups with the recycled styles with a new twist. Visit any elementary, Jr. High, or High school, odds are you see a lot of the styles recycled from the 60's and 70's, some variation of the hippie look completed with a good dose of peace signs, skin tight jeans, jewelry, boy's hair very much like those periods. Some will have the Disney look from High School Musical, fewer will have a look of the punk rockers that debuted in the early 80s. It is sort of mish-mash of styles from different eras.

Skin tight jeans for guys was a fashion in 1967 in Jr. High, the fabric was more of a stretch material, boys would have to take in the hem in (the slang for this was "pegged") along the leg seam by a half inch. Many boys had long hair and many still had short hair, usually the jocks. The jocks always referred to boys with long hair as "hippie" or "queer". Shirts were either collarless or not. Girls usually wore pants, jeans, skirts. Dresses were old-fashioned. Skinny ties for men.

Peace signs were everywhere, the V signal for peace used alot. The look in the 70s was much more radical and hippie. It was pushed by fashion as far as it could go with bell-bottom jeans, skin tight continues, lots of jewelry, peace signs, much longer hair for everyone, mustaches, sideburns, wide ties for men, polyester suits, high heeled shoes for men and women, low riding hip jeans and pants, hairstyles much like today, but less groomed, afros etc.

The 80s brought a totally different look, lots of black and that "bad" look, but in normal life, the change was less radical and was a toned down 70s look to some degree. The spiked hair, pierced noses or ears were on the fringe, they really were not accepted in the normal family. There was more of a preppy look for many, sort of like the High school musical movies.

Since the 80s, the fashion industry has simply recycled the old styles to the youth who think it is new. Been there, did that, seen that before.


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