Written by By Madison Summers, CNN
For fashion, the thick-leather puffer jacket isn’t a perfectly designed must-have. It’s a wrong turn, of sorts, and not one that’s been popular for over a century. In fact, it’s been out of fashion for over a century, as even those who can still afford them can attest.
The old Marlboro Man, one of the 40s’ most iconic icons. Credit: Morgn, Courtesy Getty Images/iStockphoto
And yet, it’s still (fairly) ubiquitous. Like those wide-brimmed fedoras — from the sort of men who were raised in middle-class households, thus having a lot more money to spend — their aesthetic exerts a real pull. The original Marlboro Man was no different. And those First World War-era men knew not only how it looked but also what it sounded like, like the announcements of the Battle of Britain booming through their city streets.
But for all the initial media-hound excitement of this trend, few follow it to the end. Historically, scarves, cardigans and even scrunchies have always been fashion’s most problematic heritage items. Purists love none of them, though they’re (if anything) put off by the new grunge aesthetic. Audiences, on the other hand, love to wear them.
The worst part about scarves
Because clothing is, itself, a symbol.
Crucially, fashion is a visual medium — and a powerful one. The two intersect on the highest level of visibility, with the sleek, over-sized style of Yves Saint Laurent all the way down to the slipperiest shoe on sale — and we do it all for the sake of fashion.
Which is why, a little before Marlon Brando showed up in a suit on “Last Tango in Paris,” the best fashion — the good stuff — is seen as a bright, flagrant statement.
The Italian designer Stefano Pilati was fired from Yves Saint Laurent in 2004 after suggesting to the press that he might one day revisit the label’s pinstripe uniform for men.
Carl Anderson and Tony Chiarello, designer partners at Salvatore Ferragamo, began stitching St. John wool gowns to an original Acolyte Baby Blue fabric by hand before firing up a computer.
And as soon as the American designer Tom Ford showed his first collection for Gucci in 1996, with the sort of meticulously created embroidery that hints at a 20th-century English outlier’s softer side, it became clear that he wasn’t your garden-variety European commercialist pretender.
These early instances of fashion’s inaugural moment aren’t the only ones. Even the simplest of numbers — keyrings and coins, for example — have had a unique, and more lasting effect on fashion. As a quintessential historic object, they might well be the perfect “conglomerate” of the twenty-first century.
UCLA fine art students have built a million-dollar headstone. Even if we seem to have forgotten it.
And as a consequence, the scarlet’s staying power is (fairly) stunning.
As of 2018, at least, more than 40 million of them were sold in the United States — the industry’s most dominant market. Data from the New York-based fashion statistics company Edited has charted a significant increase in stock over the last six years. More importantly, though, is that 300,000 of those scarves have been made by hand since 1946.
Credit: Christopher Manley, Elin Mahdavi, Sonnoc Huang, Erik Brill, Aaron Hesse Photography
In the recent release of its annual report, the editors of Edited claimed that handmade scarves, by way of contrast, account for nearly $2.7 billion in annual production.
Over the course of its 97-year history, the British fashion house Burberry has built its own deeply nostalgic and particularly American legacy on things like the Union Jack blanket of the 1930s and the iconic camel-hair coat — which both still exist today. And as haute couture moved from couture toward haute couture — a massive push from 1963 — Miu Miu (which has been around since 1946) embraced the old-timey ideals and the extensive craftsmanship that still goes into its clothes.
All these things might lead some to believe that we’re nearing the edge of the precipice, in terms of our collective respect for such