Cycles & RE-CYCLES

Written by Enrico Grigoletti

Week 37

The world of fashion and apparel is structured around cycles: brands, people and trends come and go.
Incredible right?
But today the length of each cycle seems to be continually shrinking thanks to the velocity of information exchange and access (aka The Internet). This means that before you know it, you’ll be back under the spell of a brand (or trend or person) you had previously grown tired of.
In this realm, where the industry continually affirms the rise and fall of multiple players, whoever was out of the spotlight, now has a second chance. This however doesn’t mean ascendance to fame will be a simple feat, but the cruel world of fashion – the one that can bury any reality in 140 characters – appears to be re-opening its golden gates to the prodigal sons that it had previously banished.
Established labels that have been forgotten for years now have the chance to reinvent themselves. This usually requires a medium haul strategy that involves three elements – money, cash and financial investment, combined into a simple math equation: the faster your return to centre stage, the more money will be required.
The size of a company, a fourth underestimated element, also plays a crucial role in this scenario. Small companies are usually more flexible and can change or adapt instantly to the continuous and fast fluctuations of the fashion industry. Among other things, the same oscillations have the power to declare the rise or fall of any brand.

The case studies are too many and the list of trends making a comeback is really too long. But if a few years ago it was the end of the 80’s – the mine where everyone went to dig for inspiration, today we have jumped to the second half of the 90s. Let’s forget for a second, for whatever absurd reason, that today Seinfeld is a streetwear icon and lets think about where Alex Olson’s Bianca Chandon, Gosha Rubchinskiy or even streetwear powerhouse Stussy are digging. This could be the second chance for many brands that made a name for themselves during the Golden Era of streetwear, and the resurgence of hip hop from an underground movement to a global commercial phenomenon.
I can’t take my mind off the images of Biggie Small wearing Sergio Tacchini sweats, Tupac in Fila sneakers or Aaliyah in head-to-toe Hilfiger outfits. What happened to EPMD’s Helly Hansen waterproof sailing jackets? Or to Guru & Premier’s Nautica tees and Dolomite hiking boots?
This is probably the best moment for these brands to start working on a relaunch strategy. Maybe it’s already too late but surely it’s now or never.