Pick and choose the best bits from the last four decades
Being a part of the Tumblr generation means that we’re privy to far more content than our parents ever were. While their media consumption was limited to westerns on Springbok Radio, watching Dallas before the test screen pattern came on – or, for those who are not due for their inheritance for a while still, catching Barney Simon’s The Night Zoo. We now have entire TV channels dedicated to the Kardashians, blogs featuring nothing but things organised neatly and can share our favourite meme from last night’s embarrassing celebrity nip-slip with a quick search on our phones.
The internet makes it possible for us to search, screengrab and reference with ease. No surprises then that a new trend, No Era, pools together the best bits from the past and then uses these to come up with something fresh.
We’ve learned enough from our past fashion crimes to never go totally retro, because unless you’re Dita Von Teese nobody needs to dress like they’re going to a fancy dress party every single day of their lives. Take inspiration, but don’t allow a particular decade to take over you life.
We live in a time where every silhouette is represented somewhere, which allows you to find what works for you and your body type. You can dip in here, take a bit from there, dabble elsewhere and before you know it you’ve come up with an outfit that in the past would’ve required a flux capacitor-powered DeLorean.
Prima facie, this offbeat look can appear slightly odd, all clashing colourways and jarring compositions, however, dig deeper and you’ll realise that it’s redefining the iconography of 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s youth culture to create something current.
Subtle, considered and laced with humour, the trend takes recognisable elements and manipulates them through an off-kilter lens in order to build a layered message where normalcy is distorted with unpredictable accents to formulate a new sense of the every day.
Thanks to the internet, a trip down memory lane is a mere click away and users are then able to playfully and naively deconstruct whatever they find there, creating a mishmash of visual iconography from bygone eras. A typical outfit could comprise 90s baggy pants worn with a jacket reminiscent of the 70s as easily as flared 70s trousers could be pared with a too-tight 90s graphic tee.
This weird fashion does sometimes teeter on the absurd, with awkward proportions pushed to the extreme and silhouettes reworked so that we have something that is both familiar yet peculiar.
Then there’s the street punk element where the art of DIY takes a subversive turn using found objects, rude placement, upcycled trash and a more spontaneous approach to graphic design.
So far the biggest influencers have been the likes of Parisian designer, Simon Porte Jacquemus whose label is defined by weirdly wonderful silhouettes and fabric manipulations as well as Fletcher and Wyatt Shears of The Garden, who play in a lo-fi garage punk band and dress in a thrift shop style. Likewise our very own Fani Segerman who channels the best bits of whatever crosses her path, and says:
“I’ve been an internet fiend since I was a kid so I’ve built up a ridiculous image bank. Post punk, cool moms, bank robbers, John Waters, whatever… Trends and eras are being recycled at such a vicious rate that it feels like everything is in fashion at once. Nothing new is standing out. It’s just a big fun mess.”
Which reminds us that fashion is simply something so ridiculous that it needs to change every six months… No Era sticks a Miley Cyrus tongue at the conventional and having learned the rules, goes out of its way to break them.
"It's a new era in fashion - there are no rules. It's all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together." - Alexander McQueen