Over the years the American fashion scene has been stereotyped as “preppy”. Recently, the evolution of fashion, expression and the emergence of new designers shifted the stereotyped prep to what could be diversified as an urban mix of pieces incorporated with classic styles, and that fab accessory.
The American “College Student”
A typical American student has no fear to dress casual, and will most frequently be adorned in jeans and even just a plain t-shirt with an accessory. Forever 21 has changed the landscape of the high street fashion scene for American students, from taking a monthly shopping trip, to a habitual weekly purchase. Americans have no guilt to dress casually so there is no surprise that ballet flats, are a regular, but when Tory Burch, Llc. ’s Reva ballet flat, hit the market it was ubiquitous. From ballet flats toperhaps one of the biggest eclectic American fashion brands, embraced by almost every American student and twenty-something, Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters, has always been an edgy brand, originally attracting a more artsy, designer type, but has grown into a hipster, urban, and almost provocative phenomena. Recently slightly crossing the line on inappropriateness, according to Fox News, “Urban Outfitters put itself on the naughty list with a holiday catalog that pushes profanity-laced products, including a $24 candle that uses the f-word in the form of the iconic LOVE sculpture.” In the past few years there became no bottom in America, with profanity once being a taboo, has become more commonplace than ever, and if this is the appeal of teenagers and twenty-somethings, fashion brands will embrace.
Preppy Casuals have taken the backseat
The professional fashion backdrop in America is not so provocative and in the last few years has been taken over by J.Crew, or more precisely, Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. The Observer noted by Sarah Harris, “What a coup, too, that this former catalogue-only company which once sold preppy casuals now has its own slot on the official show calendar of New York Fashion Week.”
The J.Crew look today is filled with bright colors, costume jewelry, rich eveningwear, transitioned to daytime, and glamour affixed into trousers, skirts and dresses designed for the office. The “mix” is a crucial element of J.Crew’s appeal and as stated in The Observer, Creative Director Jenna Lyons, quoted, “Fashion can change who you are and how you feel and that can be magical.” Jenna Lyons, is no doubt, a game-changer in the recipe of American prepster meets glam, edgy, and sparkle.
“All-American”- An added value
As the “Made in America”, “Created in America,” is now being used as an added value to a fashion brand, there is no surprise that Michael Kors, Spring 2013 advertising campaign is “All-American.” Fashion Magazine by Lauren Kyriacou revealed, “The shoot took place in Los Angeles and has a classic Americana vibe featuring stripes, sunglasses and muscle cars”
Michael Kors has became known for his handbags and accessories, but according to Vogue, “He has spread the gospel of all-American jet-set glamour for decades.”
Clearly identified in his Spring 2013 campaign; Americana at it’s finest, inspired by California, Michael Kors will globally have everyone California Dreamin’.
Trend-setting Europe, luxury loving Asia
As the rest of the world is California Dreamin’ they may have a slightly different eye into their local fashion backdrop. As an example, in Europe, the usage of profanity, explicit elements, and slightly revealing a bit too much skin, has been alive and in the Fashion scene long before American’s accepted and embraced. Europeans tend to be “ahead” of the fashion scene, a bit more risky, edgier, and trend setting. An American designer that enhanced the party scene and set a new level, Alice + Olivia, Llc, inspired by the American optimism of the late 1950’s in their Spring 2013 collection. The Spring 2013 collection was described in The Examiner as follows, “The collection epitomized the classic feminism of the mid-century American dream – bold, sexy and smart.”
Of course we cannot forget Marc Jacobs of which transformed the American fashion scene, with his bold designs, incorporating a bit of his edginess into his pieces. Designing for the appeal of the Asian consumer and living in Europe, he has brought that edge to American fashion. Today’s Chinese fashion backdrop is looking for that luxury label. On CNTV, “It’s not surprising to know that Chinese consumers are often more willing to drop a huge chunk of cash on fashion than shoppers in the US and Europe.”
In Japan, it is all about the street-style and fashionista vibe. America may have started to jump on the fashionista trend, but continues to keep a bit of that preppy element.
It is no doubt that the American fashion backdrop has transitioned, with the emergence of new designers, adding a bit of glam. Americans have transitioned from a casual preppy look, to something with a bit of an edge, however with fashion brands and designers still expressing their American heritage.