In this article we’ll explore all about the heritage trend in fashion and why it is relevant for you.
- But what is heritage?
- Heritage trend in fashion
- Do I need a lot of money to dress in the Heritage trend?
- Here are some inspirations to get the Heritage look
These past few days, I’ve been immersed in the word heritage. That’s because I’m spending a temporary stay at the home of my husband’s aunt, a German princess born in 1931, who lived in a castle with her 12 siblings until the end of WWII. Then, after fleeing the communists, the family went to live in their palace in Vienna. At the age of 90, she is digitalising her family’s archive of letters. And I help her when she has an issue with the computer, which is every 10 minutes. Now that the cold weather has broken, we sit in the evening in front of the fireplace to watch Downton Abbey, which she didn’t know yet. So, as you can imagine, I am having an overdose of heritage feelings. And looking at and learning from the past can be emotionally soothing. And it is precisely because of this sense of safety and serenity that fashion is embracing the Heritage trend.
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But what is heritage?
Every family has a history and a set of heirlooms that its descendants will inherit. It can be an estate, qualities, or even a commitment to the community. The legacy of a tradition is passed on from generation to generation.
Many fashion brands also have a history and a legacy related to creating a product with a purpose. The best example is Burberry’s trench coat, designed to be part of the uniform of British soldiers. Or Hermès, which started in 1837 making custom-made harnesses and saddles. The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch was worn by Apollo 11 astronauts during history’s first moon landing. And Levi’s developed fabric of clothing for farm workers. Tradition, history, excellence and quality make up a brand’s heritage.
Heritage trend in fashion
But now heritage has become a trend among fashion brands, especially luxury brands. The last time we saw brands putting heritage at the top of their communication was during the Great Recession in 1929—no wonder the same is happening now. Consumers are looking for goods that bring security, stability, life quality and simplicity. And we know that heritage brands offer all these characteristics and never go out of fashion.
Heritage trend in fashion means that brands are using their history to attract the new consumer who is less interested in fast fashion and over-consumption. Instead, the new luxury customer is looking for fashion that has context and longevity.
Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, has rescued from the brand’s archives the use of the Balmain logo and inaugurated a podcast featuring Balmain’s history dating back to 1945. Another French designer, Heidi Slimane, also brought back the monogrammed Celine line, and her latest collections are an ode to French-girl chic with a “Je ne sais quoi” of vintage and high-quality clothes. In addition, Gucci relaunched its Horsebit 1955, a hit among young consumers according to giant online resale Real Real. Not to mention all the luxury brands with permanent museums dedicated to their history, such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Gucci, among others.
Do I need a lot of money to dress in the Heritage trend?
At this point, you might be wondering if only expensive and luxury brands can have heritage. But let’s not forget that Levi’s, Birkenstock and Barbour are branded with a history of creating products with purpose, honesty and durability. But if you don’t have the budget to dress in Chanel or Givenchy, look for the quality of tradition and durability in the material and cut of your clothes. For example, a tweed jacket is a piece that conveys heritage, even if it’s not a Celine. An item in your wardrobe, like a handbag, should be monogrammed. Real Real has reported a 75% increase in the search for the Luis Vuitton Speedy 30 monogram handbag, which doesn’t cost a fortune. Amidst the layers of costume jewellery necklaces you wear, place a small heart pendant from Tiffany, whose design is recognised from miles away.
The secret behind French women’s style is heritage. She always takes some vintage piece, the famous Birkin bag from Hermès that belonged to her grandmother, and mixes it with new pieces.
But what new pieces? Look for quality, timeless and flattering designs. Also, use fashion trends one at a time, always balancing them with classic items, cuts or colours.
Why is vintage important at Heritage trend? Vintage pieces lend a worn and vintage look, creating authenticity. Imagine old money versus new money. New money has cash but not heritage, so that everything will be new and polished but without history. Old money isn’t always flashy, but the patina is valuable and priceless.
Can you emulate heritage? You can do it with care and talent. Ralph Lauren is a good example. It’s the trajectory of a designer from the Bronx who imitated the Euro aristocracy style to become a luxury brand – just take the logo; a polo horse, an icon of tradition.