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The ’80s to ’90s were periods synonymous with “bold” and “colorful.” People started to care what the brands they wore represented due to the empowerment of self-expression, the definition of “you are what you wear.”
Now, we’ve come full circle as social consciousness once again plays into values of authenticity and sustainability, inspiring brands’ indulgence in revitalizing vintage clothes. Retro sportswear is amongst the nostalgic trends that see a return through revolving doors. Some of these athletic attires that have become commonplace include branded sweatshirts, graphic tees, track pants, and tube socks.
Founded by Susie and Doug Tompkins — who also founded The North Face — ESPRIT has hopped on the vintage trend with its recent revival of classic silhouettes emblematic of ‘80s fashion. In light of the initiative, HYPEBEAST takes a trip down memory lane, revisiting some visual phenomena that gave rise to retro sportswear.
As fashion became a way of self-expression, brand logos acted as status symbols and visual statements. The music industry also played a significant role in the emergence of Logomania; American fashion designer Dapper Dan, who styled hip hop artists ranging from Salt-N-Pepa to LL Cool J, was especially involved in “the bigger, the better” trend. As a result, brands took great consideration in their logo typeface, using words to create a sense of belonging for the younger generation. While Futura and Helvetica were some of the most popular fonts, ESPRIT expressed its individuality through a stencil-inspired logotype designed by American graphic designer John Casado.
The oversized trend first emerged with the ’80s fitness-craze, where clothes were made loose to allow for greater movement. As the rise in androgyny popularized gender-neutral wear, liberation in women’s fashion also manifested in a thrust of wide-fitting clothes, some of which were infamously endorsed by Princess Diana. Her iconic Harvard and Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt moments, in particular, also coincided with the sporty collegiate attire and casual sportswear which hip hop took to street style.
The mid-80s was the era of bright colors where their fluorescence paralleled the burgeoning of hope. From movies like Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, and ET to MTV-era pop musicians like Madonna and Michael Jackson, the entertainment industry not only beamed with technicolor, it also introduced a new breed of “style icons” which the masses attempted to emulate. In the case of ESPRIT, its exuberance was conveyed through neon-colored clothes and whimsical and diverse campaigns designed by the Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.
Revisit the vibrant ’80s with ESPRIT’s Archive Re-issue capsule featuring oversized crewneck sweatshirts and boxy-fit T-shirts, now available exclusively on HBX along with the Love Composite and Color Tee Shirt capsules.
In case you missed it, Perry Ellis relaunches with a new take on American heritage for Fall/Winter 2022.