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Though fashion has always been cyclical and self-referential, it’s safe to say that nostalgia is having a moment. Trucker hats have returned from the early aughts. Paris Hilton is hot again. Velour sweatsuits are back with a vengeance, aided by a collective prioritization of comfort. Somsack Sikounmoung, creative director at fashion brand Alex Mill, said these trends are a reflection of the world at large and what we’ve lived through over the past year and a half. “Last year, life as we know it changed existentially, and what we lived through felt at times unfamiliar and complex. So for me, as a designer, a small attempt to counter that was to look at things that felt familiar, simple and fun — and design things that felt nostalgic, comfortable and tactile.”
Many designers were clearly on the same page, as a number of today’s trends are athletic fashions from the past. At Aerie, tennis skirts have been a runaway success. The brand has sold over 200,000 pieces that it categorizes as “tennis.” Its Maggie Skirt, a ruffled iteration of a classic tennis skirt, is leading the pack in sales. On TikTok, #tennisskirt has 87.7 million views and #y2k has 3.08 billion views.
“Active wear isn’t just for the gym anymore; it’s a lifestyle,” said Andrea Jagaric, Aerie’s chief design officer. She attributes this, in part, to people spending more time outdoors and also looking for ways to “stay both physically and socially active.” Alo Yoga has also been a driving force in the revival of the tennis skirt. According to Tagger, an influencer marketing platform, Alo’s tennis skirts saw a huge spike in media attention in mid-June. “When we look at what was going on culturally, we see that this coincides with the debut of Alo House, a big influencer event hosted by the athleisure brand, and the launch of their Varsity Tennis Skirt.’” In July, brand ambassador Kendall Jenner posted a pic of herself wearing the skirt.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Wasko, founder of loungewear brand Donni, said nostalgia has always inspired her and been core to the brand’s DNA. “We’re not reinventing the wheel with our silhouettes,” she said. “We’re working with silhouettes that have been around forever and tweaking them to make them more modern and more flattering.”
But, as she started reintroducing terry cloth back in 2019 — and considering the fabric’s recent ubiquity — she’s already moved on to the next thing, she said.
Finally adding to the appeal of these trends is a sense of fun — something everyone is in need of now. “Fashion in the ’90s and early aughts had a real sense of humor; it always felt fun,” said Nell Diamond, founder and CEO of fashion brand Hill House. “Our summer collection, [called] The Mermaid Drop, was inspired by some iconic 2000s staples: terrycloth, bright colors and halter tops.”
Shop the look
POLOS: Alex Mill Alice Polo $110, Ayr The Cool Polo $125, Wilt Polo Tee $121 TERRY: Hill House Home Roxie Nap Dress $100, Donni Terry Gem Hoodie $169, TERRY Boxy Shirt $169 TENNIS: The Marc Jacobs The Tennis Dress $325, Aerie OFFLINE Nylon Pleated Skirt $54.95, Alo Yoga Match Point Tennis Skirt $64
Trend of the week: Corsets
When “Bridgerton” came out in December of 2020, breakout star Regé-Jean Page earned millions of fans — many of which also loved the sexy yet refined style of the show’s characters. Regency-era, empire-waist gowns were worn in the show, rather than Victorian-era corsets. Still, fans jumped to TikTok to recreate the waist-cinching, vintage vibe sported by Phoebe Dyvenor’s Daphne, often starting by purchasing this corset from Amazon. The corset, which costs $17.99-$21.99, depending on the color, first showed up on the marketplace in January, leading to an influx of try-on videos. This one was posted by @tayylororourke (44.8M views) in March.
Around the same time, in early January, TikTok trendspotter @potatomeg (12.2M views) found this For Love and Lemons x Victoria’s Secret bustier, now on sale on victoriassecret.com for $89.50. (Eight months later, it’s sold out in the viral white colorway and in most sizes.)
Shortly after, the corset frenzy gave way to a new viral “corset,” which was actually a Maidenform waist trainer. TikTok users including @emmyqandrews repurposed the style into a corset and posted the results in February. Known as the “Target corset,” it became a favorite for its flattering silhouette and inexpensive price point, selling for $21.99 on target.com. This similar-looking style by New York-based designer Danielle Guizio retails for $138. Finally, the Out From Under Modern Love corset, which first went viral on TikTok in March and is available on urbanoutfitters.com for $59, has taken the platform by storm. TikToker @gracebenvenuti claimed in a TikTok (383.2K views) that it “literally cured all my problems.” Now, it’s once again going viral, as more colors, like Chocolate, were just released in time for fall. –Nitya Rao
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Isle of Paradise takes a product development cue from TikTokers
Back in February, TikToker @foamy3 (Erica Leigh, 174,000 followers) posted a video recommending the transferring of Isle of Paradise’s tanning water refills to a mister bottle, purchased separately.
About a week later, TikToker @ravenelysetv (881,000 followers) posted a video demonstrating the hack. Her post got 1 million likes. Other users tried the same application method and, as the videos went viral, Isle of Paradise’s $22 product quickly sold out. In response, Isle of Paradise is doing what any smart brand would do: It’s launching a kit with its own branded mister bottle, which is available now. And, naturally, the brand tapped Leigh to announce the launch.
Isle of Paradise Pro-Glow Tanning Kit, $28 on Sephora.com
Olive & June partnered with OG influencer Cupcakes and Cashmere (Emily Schuman) for its new limited-edition release
Emily Schuman, founder of Cupcakes and Cashmere has been in the blogosphere since 2008. She was one of the first influencers, followed by many millennials before Instagram even existed. Today, she has 545,000 followers on Instagram. Her blog has a staff and also operates an e-commerce store. Her latest venture is a collection of six nail polishes, all in classic reds and pinks. They’re sold in a set with Olive & June’s signature manicure tools, including the Poppy, a handle that can be attached to nail polish wands.
The Cupcakes and Cashmere Mani System, $80 on oliveandjune.com