How unique are fashion trends really?

Neulich evening, I’m on the S-Bahn, opposite me my younger self. The girl, about 14, looks out the window into the black tunnel. She wears flared bottoms with a center stitched seam, hanging low to show the hip bones. A tank top and a button-up denim shirt. Nothing about this outfit is ironic; too new for vintage, too normal for a suit. No, that’s exactly what I wore when I was 14 years old. Two things are irritating: first, that this girl probably wasn’t born in 2006. On the other hand, that as a child she wears exactly what I wore when I was young.

I imagined going into the future as a teenager to discover that the teenagers looked like me. Had nothing happened in that half generation? Why hadn’t there been a fashion revolution? Or is an all-encompassing, time-defining style developing? Is fashion just trapped in endless nostalgic loops that get smaller and smaller over time? And how much distance does it take to be able to reuse the iconography of another time?

Every individual is special

I look at her Y2K look. The slightly bleached trouser legs, the dark vest, the shirt disguised as a top. Strictly speaking, what my counterpart wears does not belong to today’s youth or to my youth: it belongs to the youth of the 1970s. The 1970s, the decade in which modernity reached its peak. After the great wars, the world had reorganized itself – socially, artistically, technologically. What had broken open in the late 1960s, spilled over into the next decade.

In 1972 the Center Pompidou was built, the TGV was driven and the Concorde flown. Women, gays, lesbians and blacks demanded and got more rights. The fighting in Vietnam continued, the world powers continued to threaten each other, the RAF terrorized and the New Right grew louder. The world became smaller, oil became scarcer, the climate warmer. And society aesthetically imploded in nothing but small subcultures. They promised young people: Each one of you is special.

An icon from the seventies: the


A 1970s icon: the “Starman” costume worn by David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust
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Image: AFP

Means of expressing distinctiveness: music and fashion. Ziggy Stardust for Rock in Kansai Yamamoto; Liza Minnelli for Glamor in Halston; Roxy Music as Bohemian in Yves Saint Laurent; Sex Pistols as punk in Vivienne Westwood; Blondie for New Wave in Stephen Sprouse. Designers in France and the United States, in particular, installed themselves as seismographs for the vibrant surface of pop culture, capturing it in its most beautiful forms – only to be instantly swept over by the mainstream and worn out for the masses into the very things of the era. , polyester.

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