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A new roaring twenties? What fashion can expect

By Caitlyn Terra


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Trend forecasters Christine Boland and Lidewij Edelkoort have used the words 'new roaring twenties' to describe the coming trends and Belgian designer Raf Simons also hinted at the possibility. If it can all be done safely, will people go wild, or will they still keep a certain amount of decency as soon as things reopen? And if so, what will this mean for the fashion industry?

Let's go back to the real 'Roaring Twenties', the decade of the 1920s that was also nicknamed the Jazz Age. The world had just ended World War I, then called The Great War, and the Spanish flu left more than 50 million deaths worldwide. With a war and a pandemic fresh in their minds, they wanted to celebrate life again. It resulted in the (re)construction of an economy which resulted in enormous wealth for parts of society. Women ditched their corsets and became empowered by the freedom of movement. The 1920s is remembered by many as a time of glitz and glamor, but a lot more happened. For the first time there was sportswear especially for women and pockets were introduced in women's clothing. Both developments resulted in a series of freedoms that were suddenly acquired. The twenties of the twentieth century therefore signified a new time of liberation for part of society.

Roaring twenties 2.0

Back to life in 2021: With various approved vaccines and the start of the vaccination program, the world is starting to look a little brighter. Although it remains to be seen how great the impact of the pandemic has been on the economy, it is already clear that people are itching to go outside, eat, drink and party again. Not only is there corona fatigue, there also seems to be sweatpants fatigue. A walk on Sunday has changed into a 'see and be seen' tour with ladies in their best outfit. Anyone who goes to the supermarket puts on their best outfit just because they can. People want to wear something nice again but have nowhere to wear it.

This frustration with the neglect of looks comes as a counter-reaction that people will dress up again if the circumstances allow, according to trend forecaster Christine Boland during her webinar Soulful Solutions SS22. "When we can go to a restaurant or go out again, you can count on those high heels coming out of the closet." Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort also sees a roaring twenties happening. “Having fun and celebrating life will become very important when it becomes possible,” she predicts in her forecast 'Blank Page'. Leading designer Raf Simons used the words 'roaring twenties' in an interview with Belgian newspaper De Morgen. “If history repeats itself, and it happens more often, we are now in the 1920s. And we all know what the 1920s looked like: an explosion of fashion, going out, sex. It can get very exuberant. It can be dangerously explosive.” Fashion search engine Lyst also joins the 'roaring twenties' team. After a year of sweatpants and practical jackets, Lyst expects a return of extravagance and daring in fashion, complete with bright colors and decorations.

Caroline Krouwels, director of Dutch fashion trade fair Modefabriek, but also creative strategist, entrepreneur and forecaster, indicates that the energy associated with the disappearance of the pandemic can certainly be compared to the 'roaring twenties', but it can also be related to the liberated feeling of refer to the sixties. All in all, it will feel like 'liberation day', Krouwels told FashionUnited. “The fact is that we will dress up, that we will enjoy that moment for days and nights. That we will again experience the happiness of really dressing for a meeting, a party, an evening in a restaurant. The effect of this lockdown period will also mean that we will no longer completely get into the "suit" but that a combination of convenience and elegance, comfort and luxury with an androgynous and seductive aspect will arise.”

“Dressing is about who you are, who you are going to see, where you are, in which season, how you feel, but always about the right combination, the silhouette and your personal preference. Fashion is a form of communication, an indication of the time and gives an interpretation of your personality, ”adds Krouwels. "I wish everyone a new year in which we will carefully show ourselves to each other again, can meet each other, we will experience the happiness of getting dressed again and can celebrate the real contact with each other in beautiful outfits!"

New roaring twenties: What does this mean for fashion?

The explosion of color and decorations predicted by Lyst, for example, is a reflection of the new roaring twenties. However, the decade of the 2020s will look slightly different from 1920. Judging by predictions for summer 2022, the surreal and sculptural trends Boland spots goes well with extravagance. Think of floating, almost fluid items that still look very sculptural. The botanical colors also fit perfectly with this in large and pronounced floral prints. Extravagance can of course mean a lot: could refer to the many decorations that could be seen in the 1920s, but it could also mean an explosion of color that Lyst already predicts. That extravagance, or 'little puffs of pleasure' as Edelkoort calls them, are an extra layer on top of the basic collection of brands. “The basic collection is what they earn the money with and the puffs are for the pleasure of the designer and the customer,” the trend forecaster predicts the change in the fashion system.

Because as outlined before, the 1920s also stood for freedom and more comfort. In 2021 one cannot scrap the corset again, but the skinny jeans can be burned. What does this craving for comfort that we have all experienced in 2020 mean? How will that affect the fashion of the 2020s?

Roaring twenties or transitioning Twenties

In a telephone conversation with FashionUnited, Boland goes into more detail about the prediction of the new roaring twenties and makes various comments. “There are several things going on at the same time. Yes, people have the need to dress up again and a need for extravagance, but there are also people who are very scared and will dress in items that protect them.” Boland prefers to call the 2020s the 'transitioning twenties', with one side indeed the new 'roaring twenties', but on the other hand the 'trembling twenties'.

It is also important to note the need for extravagance. “That means something different for everyone. For one this is an explosion of color, for another this translates into 'rich materials' such as wool and cashmere. And the virtualization that we are seeing now? “If you are talking about dressing with a nice top but sweatpants underneath, because we are only visible through the frame of a screen, we will soon be fed up with that. But comfort remains important. Then it might be in super cool pants that look beautiful, but also fit fantastic. Comfort is therefore taken to a higher level."

Boland also indicates that it is important not to immediately claim a decade. “We should not immediately assume that it will be a new roaring twenties like it was a hundred years ago. They also came out of a war in addition to a pandemic. In addition, we have a completely different starting point.” She also indicates that, just like in 1920, there will be a layer of society that can enjoy extreme extravagance, that will invest, but it will also continue to work very hard for a large group of people.

Roaring twenties, swinging sixties, or trembling twenties: It is clear that enough is about to happen. As much as people want a crystal ball (When can we cuddle again, when can we go to a restaurant again, when can big weddings take place again?) Everything indicates that one is ready for a change. Boland's 'transitioning twenties' seems like the perfect term for the coming period. It won't go back to the old days, but what will the future bring? Only time will tell, so stay tuned…

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.

Christine Boland
Lidewij Edelkoort