As another decade draws to its imminent conclusion, Highsnobiety’s shopping team looks back at some of its pivotal fashion moments, codifying these findings into a subjective list of styles and products that can still be shopped today.
Understanding that some of these moments span back further than the start of 2010, each has been chosen more for its contribution to the construction of today’s fashion landscape. From the rise of dadcore and music’s enduring influence, to the necessary discussions around gender fluidity, the past decade has been clad with too many milestones to name in a single list.
Yet, as much as we have these moments to thank for forcing the industry and those working in it to look further afield at the time, we must also appreciate their fundamental nature. If it weren’t for these shocking moments of awe, confusion, and reappropriation, fashion’s future might be nothing more than a bland consumer trap. What this tells us is that the constant state of flux that has essentially propagated fashion’s many guises must be upheld if we are to one day make it a community fortified by inclusivity.
Without further ado, take a look back at some of the best products to drop this decade.
Rhianna: Despite having risen to popularity around 1917 when Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain -- a signed porcelain urinal -- gained critical acclaim, the use of readymades across mainstream fashion has become a catalyst for some of today’s most groundbreaking designs. Be it Daniel Arsham’s reinterpretation of iconic imagery as conceptual objects, or Virgil Abloh working with IKEA to shift our perception of prosaic homeware products, the readymade is a major stimulant in today’s design zeitgeist. Rooted in disambiguation, readymades are essentially a quest to create monuments out of our present obsessions, and solidify their presence -- almost permanently. A perfect example of this is the Fictional Nonfiction: Archaeology sculpture shown above.
The Sound of Headwear
Rhianna: Over the years, Kangol has not only become synonymous with the 1980’s hip-hop movement, but grown into an undisputed subcultural icon. Back in the days, it felt as though rapping was just as much about the lyrics you were spitting, as it was about the clothes you were wearing. Originally associated with class and confidence, headwear soon became the ultimate statement piece, and a means of self-expression. Before hip-hop’s intervention however, Kangol took the American market by storm when it on-boarded famed designers Pierre Cardin and Mary Quant. Decades on, the brand is now partnering with the likes of Stüssy and Patta, setting a new precedent for who and what is considered influential.
Rhianna: It’s safe to say that the days of traditional jewelry placement — worn around the finger, wrist, or neck, etc. — are long gone. This decade saw silver-dressed sneakers, metal ears, and nose plasters. Jewelry becoming as extravagant and off-kilter as this exemplifies style’s transient nature. This year, one piece that made a particularly big splash was the Hero Chain by Matthew William’s 1017 ALYX 9SM, available from the after-market above.
The Good, the Bad, and the Dadcore
Rhianna: Initiated as a sort of gimmick, dadcore soon became a monumental fashion moment, particularly over the last two to three years. Without it, we may have never enjoyed the confusing beauty of its many sneakers, or reveled in the unapologetic normality of brands like Balenciaga. ASICS also experienced a dad-centric resurgence, with New Balance growing to become the heart of the trend by reinstating its iconic 990 silhouette. Sneakers like the 990, and many others that followed, would go on to be called either “ugly,” “chunky,” or both. Dadcore essentially ushered in a style so direct, the industry couldn’t help but take notice.
Rhianna: Traveling in style has always been a thing, however its importance has skyrocketed in recent years to become a necessary component of the most talked-about runway shows. No longer something you simply throw into the hold and hope to pick up at your destination, pieces like the RIMOWA suitcase — a design interpreted by the likes of Dior, Off-White™, and Supreme — have come to be part and parcel of any well-styled look. This new standard made us actually care about all the frills of moving around. People worlds over began investing hundreds, even thousands of dollars into these plane-approved pieces, going as far as to curate each bag’s contents just so it could be seen from the outside, or immortalized in a pre-holiday snap.
Yulia: It’s hard talking about the last 10 years without mentioning skateboarding’s influence on fashion. We have witnessed how something so niche, exiled, and at times, unpopular, grew to become so unavoidably big that it laid the foundation for a new type of consumer; the hypebeast. Fashion’s obsession with skateboarding became so absurd, that stalwart brands like Thrasher found popularity in the most unassuming of places (i.e. YouTube-era vlogs). Despite this rather unfortunate departure, I continue to enjoy the sense of irony and recklessness key to any skateboarding brand, born out of a need to be the anti-thesis to mainstream culture. Fucking Awesome’s Sinner Hoodie is a modern take on the age-old aesthetics of skateboarding’s more rebellious side.
From the Outdoors to the Runway
Yulia: Nowadays, it has become easier, and more likely to notice just how repetitive fashion can be. While some of us enjoy this, many of us tend to seek comfort in tried-and-true legacy trends. A major one being outdoor clothing. One contemporary example that fuses such ideals with the high-fashion market is Balenciaga’s 176-piece upper Track 2 sneaker. Reinterpreting outdoor clothing like this also means my TNF jacket and Patagonia fleece are considered a fashionable power play, and not just some outdated look fresh from the trails.
The Staple of all Staples
Yulia: Workwear styles are -- and should be -- the bread and butter of any reputable brand. Whatever the piece may be, its lineage can almost always be traced back to the stylistic sensibilities of the blue-collar man. Try and find just one person who doesn’t own a pair of Carhartt pants, some beat-up leather derbies, or something equally utilitarian. Workwear’s influence has reached so far that even Kanye West wore a Dickies Eisenhower Jacket to the Met Gala. The NEIGHBORHOOD. Chore Jacket featured above is a fitting ode to one of the trend’s most recognizable silhouettes, swapping out its traditional canvas fabric for a faded and distressed Japanese denim.
Function First, Always
Yulia: Back in the ’90s, Miuccia Prada married the humble backpack into fashion’s higher circles with the release of her now-iconic nylon rucksack. The past decade has seen countless designers build on these foundations, with the likes of Raf Simons and UNDERCOVER partnering with Eastpak to inject functionality into their otherwise pure fashion outputs. Further to Rhianna’s RIMOWA pick above, it’s hard to imagine a brand today that doesn’t have a backpack design of its own. The Maison Margiela iteration featured above sits perfectly at the centre of form and function.
Yulia: Isn’t it crazy to think that Run D.M.C. were the first hip-hop artists to actually have an endorsement deal with a brand like adidas? Not only this, but they were able to pave the way for later acts, and help cement music as a viable catalyst to fashion’s creative process. Today, music is more connected to fashion than ever before, with brands like YEEZY seen as prime representatives for this merger. To represent this poignant moment in fashion’s history, I have chosen to feature the adidas Superstar by Blondey. Not only does it draw parallels to the design’s historical roots and remind us of fashion’s sonic beginnings, but gives us hope for the future of such era-defining silhouettes.
The Ivy League’s Lasting Influence
Adam: Said to have originated on American college campuses during the late 1950s, Ivy League style was characterized by -- among other things -- chinos, the sack suit, knitted sweater vests, and penny loafers. Its influence continues to ring true today, with the likes of BEAMS, nanamica, and Paraboot referencing its distinct collegiate notes across many contemporary releases. The mid-1960s even saw the Mod subculture of Britain appropriating Ivy League style, and merging it with Italian fashion and the pieces worn by America’s most iconic film stars. Fast forward to today, and releases like the Cropped Oversized “RS” Sweater from Raf Simons fortify this reference point with an undeniably modern twist.
To Americana and Beyond
Adam: As contributor Anastasiia Fedorova once said, “We’re all a bit American.” From Coca-Cola, Nike, and Disney, our shared Americanism forms the basis for how we consume says Fedorova. Although many will credit Japan as keeping American traditional clothing -- widely known as Ametora -- alive, we must appreciate that the trend as a whole is built on pre-existing stereotypes and fashion’s obsession with national identities. Rooted in the ideals of the American dream, silhouettes falling under this signifier are somewhat dreamy, reminiscent of times when stylistic excellence wasn't strived for, but simply achieved by living a certain way. Pieces like BODE’s Stripe Havana Shirt transport me back to the rayon-wearing mechanics of the world, with industrious patch pockets and a spread collar, it epitomizes the references emulated by many of this decade’s most revered designers.
Adam: Having only reached its height in late 2005, it’s hard to believe that the BoHo trend has been swinging through peaks and troughs since the 1950s. Along this journey, BoHo chic has resurfaced a number of times, and under a plethora of guises. It never entered, or left the fashion sphere with a big bang, but somehow managed to retain its semi-influential standing for nearly 70 years. Predominantly geared towards a more female audience, a number of now-notable brands, such as Kapital, Yuketen, and dare I say it, Goro’s, have opened up the floodgates for the next generation of BoHos. Pieces like the SOUTH2 WEST8 Mexican Parka speak to the category’s hippie beginnings, where floaty forms and comfort took centerstage.
Blurring the Proverbial Line
Adam: When on the topic of gender-fluid clothing, people will throw the word “acceptable” around a lot, saying stuff like, “It’s more acceptable than ever for men to dress more feminine nowadays.” I have a bit of an issue with the ideas this word breeds, as I would like to think that we are ready to move away from this rather banal way of categorizing fashion. I do however appreciate we have a fair bit of ground to cover before everyone is not only considered equal, but they themselves can feel equal. Brands need to begin encouraging their wearers to express themselves in a way they see fit. If we are to move further away from defining gender so strictly, fashion’s future could be bright, and full of many more “wow moments.” Brands like Sies Marjan are paving the way to an industry in which genders can share designs without judgement.
Adam: As an enormous, and incredibly influential subculture, the biker movement was good for many things. Among its stylistic accolades, it was successful in de-emphasizing silhouettes, placing priority in the messages carried across on items like its namesake jackets. Stemming from the same style family as bikers, rockers and leather boys helped pave the way for a more intrusive, heavy-set fashion, bracketed by seemingly gender-neutral shapes. With rockers excluded from mainstream culture for being, among other negative traits, “violent,” their relentless drive towards individualism has seen remnants of them carried through into many contemporary products. The Black Force Boots from Kiko Kostadinov and Camper are an expertly-crafted ode to the unrelenting ideals of the biker’s many sub-subcultural facets.
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