10 Key Factors Driving the Worn Americana Trend

on 20/1/11

At the moment the world is awash with everything American from classic preppy looks to more old school 80's & 90's hip hop & rap street influences. This trend is obviously hitting the high street for Spring Summer 2011, however The Trend Boutique are predicting it will run well into Autumn Winter 2011-12 and the renowned Trend Union are currently delivering trend presentations covering it for Spring Summer 2012.

Rather than just talk about what is in store & on the catwalks The Trend Boutique wanted to take a look behind the scenes of this trend, to give you some of the key references of where it has come from, why its going to develop into an important trend with lots of subtle variations, and where it is going in the future.

As we have predicted 'Worn Americana' as a key trend & product direction for Autumn Winter 2011-12, we think its important to give you some of the main drivers and references for this trend.

Worn Americana
Worn Americana - Spring Summer 2011 'Guide to the Season' 

No. 1:  Sense of Patriotism

The Americans like the rest of the world have been feeling a high level of patriotism for the last few years due to the economic crisis,  combined with the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. When times get tough or we feel threatened we always look to protect our own & a heightened sense of nostalgia & patriotism will come to the fore.

This sense of patriotism has been shared & seen in the UK (see below & our Union Jack Micro trend report), however the American's are likely to feel this more keenly since 9-11 and also their naturally high sense of  loyalty & nationalism.

With the number of dead US soldiers being repatriated from fighting in Afghanistan & Iraq having hit 1,452 with 6 already being killed in 2011, America like the UK is constantly seeing the American flag draped over coffins. Once again like the UK this has acted to stir this national awareness and feelings of patriotism & empathy. Bizarrely, and quite a macabre way this constant reminder also drives the renewed use of flags in the trends.

No. 2: American Turmoil 

The Trend Boutique talked back in 2009 about the sense of optimism for Spring Summer 2011, initially bought about by the election of Barrack Obama. Since this initial prediction in 2009 it has not been an easy time for the President, first of all tackling the economy, and also facing disappointment  & criticism for some of his reforms & lack of action.

This again like the UK has led to a rise in the more right-wing Republican standing, especially those with very traditional views & morality. Proof of this drop in popularity was recently seen in Obama loosing the House of Representatives in the midterm elections which he called a 'shellacking'. 

All of this is leading to turmoil in the United States & the resurgence of those more traditional Republicans, within 2 years the change in Barrack Obama's standing has been dramatic from winning the election of a wave of euphoria, to being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to now losing the Midterms.  

As we were writing this report the unfortunate shooting of Congresswoman Gabielle Giffords and the killing of 6 people, including a child, took place. Straight after these tragic shootings there was lots of media coverage of the cross-party arguments between the Republican Tea Party & the Democrats about the causes of the attack.

Worn Americana

A Pensive Barrack Obama - As Featured in New York Journal 

No. 3: World Status 

Added to the above American politics, we are also seeing the changing status in the US on a world stage with the economical growth of what is called the BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India and probably most importantly China. As these countries continue to develop economically, they are also growing in political stature too. The USA standing in the world has always been at the head, however as its economy is not so strong it is looking to develop increased trade links with the BRIC countries to ensure its economic future.

This is why we are predicting the 'Worn Americana' trend rather than the sugary sweet preppy version, because we see that this reflects better the current underlying political, economical & social trends. The USA have particular long-standing pride in their flag (see Jonny Cash video) and as such it has always been sacrilege to dishonour the flag in anyway. In the ‘Worn Americana’ trend we see lots of distressed stars & stripe flags that can be seen as a reflection of the above circumstances. 

No. 4: UK & Paris Micro Trends

Stepping away from the underlying social trends, over the last 2 seasons we have seen the micro trends with iconic British & Parisian references at the heart of them. These were some of the best selling & most easily identifiable trends of the last couple of years and as with any successful trends designers & buyers are always looking for the next follow-on trend, 'Worn Americana' is an obvious choice with its distinctive graphics & iconography.

Union Jack Dress
Union Jack Dress by On Ying Lai

No. 5:  Love of America Continues 

In a similar vein, both the 'prom' & 'preppy' trends of recent seasons have been extremely popular and look to be strong for Spring Summer 2011. As previously mentioned when a trend works well often extension strategies to continue a trend & to capitalise further. Both of these micro trends have been very sugary sweet, but have also been very wearable and come off the back of an optimistic & idealistic view of America. As we see things continue we see that things are going to get darker & edgier as we head into Autumn Winter 2011-12 'Worn Americana' becomes an ideal twist. 

Worn Americana

Screenshot of ASOS Spring Summer 2011 - All American Girl Collection

Worn Americana Screenshot of ASOS Spring Summer 2011 - Willamsburg Collection

No. 6: Spring Summer 2011 Collections

Balmain was once again one of the most influential & striking collections of Spring Summer 2011 designers. Ever since Christophe Decarnin designed his now almost iconic Spring Summer 2010 collection, Balmain has been one of the key designer labels to watch. His influence on other brands & the high street continues and is a strong reference point for the next 2 seasons.

Added to this Vivienne Westwood's menswear collection for Spring Summer 2011 had a really strong rockabilly feel to it, as always with her collections it was delivered with a twist. 

Spring Summer 2011 Worn AmericanaSpring Summer 2011 Worn Americana Spring Summer 2011 Womenswear Collection - Balmain 

No. 7: Fast Tracked Trends  

As previously mentioned 'Americana' in all its forms is an obvious & easy to adopt trend for all market levels. All very wearable whether that is the preppy varsity jackets & cardigans or prom dresses to the edgier more rock and roll look. When a buyer or designer sees a trend that they feel will work well for their customers often it becomes fast-tracked and this is the case with elements of the 'Worn Americana' trend as we see it hitting some of the more directional high street  stores, such as Topshop. 

Worn Americana - TopshopSpring Summer 2011 'Stars & Stripes' Jacket - Topshop 

No. 8: Celebrity Endorsement 

'Worn Americana' has already been seen sported by celebrities & artists, such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Kesha. The already iconic 'Telephone' video featured heavily a pastiche of American life, and as shown below there were lots of references & images of this more distressed & worn interpretation of Americana. Kesha  were also seen in her video for Tik Tok. The influences celebrities have on any trend can never been underestimated and adds to why this trend will be successful.

Worn AmericanaScreenshot of Telephone Video - Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce

Kesha On Set of Tik Tok Video 

No. 9: Nostalgia Gets Updated  

For the last decade nostalgia has been a strong underlying macro trend as we look for sense of security and peace of mind during turbulent times. This has taken many forms as we reminisce about by gone eras and past ways of life, from a resurgence in craft, vintage clothing, make do & mend, through to our new love of baking. We are now looking for a new variation on this never-ending wave of nostalgia an 'Worn Americana' once again fits the bill. 

Wrangler - Bread & Butter
Wrangler Autumn Winter 2011-12 Range - As Seen At Bread & Butter Trade Show 

No. 10: Worn Aspects 

Finally, The Trend Boutique see 'Worn' as a major trend direction for Autumn Winter 2011-12 as we update the Austere codes. As per our Guide to the Season ..."Threadbare to the point of non-existence, aged & almost forgotten, strength through beauty & fragility, this theme offers more depth & authenticity than shabby chic." For 'Worn Americana' these two trend directions come together for both fashion & interior design.

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