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Seventies Folk Fashions Revisited

Vintage Clothing Shops Drive Revival


A seventies hairstyle. ©Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College

"Folklore-style" A-line dresses embellished with embroidery or Tyrolean ribbons are a hit among young women in their teens and twenties. Tunic blouses are also increasingly prominent as women take to wearing tunics with colorfully embroidered bodices and crochet-lace trim over leggings or skinny jeans. Folklore-style dresses and tunics have an untailored look, featuring gathers, frills, and other details in white or beige cotton fabric. When paired with large half-moon sunglasses, fringe boots, or high-heeled sandals, however, a well-balanced seventies look can be achieved. Seventies hairstyles are also popular, such as long hair parted in the center or a narrow headband worn on the forehead.

The Roots of the Folklore Style
In fashion, folklore style refers to the traditional dress of a particular country or region that is passed down from generation to generation, with the textiles, dyes, embroidery, and other embellishments rooted in the area's customs, mores, and practices.

In the 1970s, the fashion scene underwent a transformation when Takada Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent, and other designers unveiled looks inspired by the traditional dress of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and other regions. The folklore style made a comeback in the 1990s and is experiencing another boom in 2008.


Seventies folk fashions. ©Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College

The Appeal of Folklore Fashion
A driving force behind the current trend is the vintage clothing shop. Inexpensive, attractive ethnic garments fill these shops, which are frequented by fashion-conscious young women. Japan's vintage clothing market is said to be one of the largest in the world. The popularity of vintage clothing shops and the boom in folklore fashion are parallel trends.

What accounts for the popularity of seventies-style ethnic clothes? The floral patterns, embroidery, and other embellishments accord with the romantic style that is currently popular. Many are attracted by their inexpensive price tags as well and intimate feel, which make them the antithesis of luxury brands. The natural fabrics and soft texture also seem to be in line with today's eco-friendly mindset. (July, 2008)