Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August Fashion Trends Vintage Pattern Style

By Amy Russo of Vienna’s Grace

Well my curiosity candle was lit when Ellen from KinseySue, looking for team input, posted McCall’s 2170 from 1957. 

This crazy cap pattern reminded me of a fashion trend that had developed in Japan in the early 1990s.  I wondered, was it still an active trend?  Has Tokyo street fashion influenced current styles and fashion designers?  If all things were yes, is there an overlooked market for vintage sewing patterns?  So like another very curious girl, I took the leap and fell head first down, down, down the rabbit hole.
What I found was almost as unique and as ever changing as Alice herself in Wonderland.
But before we sit down at the Mad Hatter‘s Tea party, let me assure you that although some Tokyo street fashion can appear a little disturbing to the eye of the western world, it is in no way meant to be creepy or inappropriately toddler like, it is merely a fashion statement.  Maybe it is a way of blurring the lines of eras and age, rethinking time as timeless, and clothing becoming ageless …well better to show you in a language we all understand…actual images.  The clothing in the photos are not designed for costume events, this is everyday wear for many of these gals.  The pictured styles are American as well as Japanese, and other countries.

Here are some looks that started it all; these styles are called Harajuku, Decora, Gothic Lolita, Kawaii, and Fairy Kei.  A very condensed definition of these styles follows below and then see if you can match the word with the photo.

As a little experiment, I have added these words in titles and tags, where they could apply to my already listed patterns, that before had little interest.  I am getting favorites, sold one of the patterns and have had some of the words show in my search word stats, almost every day.  Many vintage clothing sellers are using these words and it’s time for us to join the party. The customer using these search words may just be dying for the option of vintage patterns, a little DIY Gothic Lolita.  All we need to do is put the right patterns in their path, and let’s give them choices and ideas.  Here are only a few terms/styles that may apply to some patterns you are sure to have in your inventory.

Harajuku: area of Tokyo where some of these trends took root.  Style-from the wild edgy look, blending the extreme Anime to Gothic, this word could be used along with all these others, almost an umbrella term of all these styles.
Kawaii-a style of sugary sweet cuteness, pretty.  From Hello Kitty to soft feminine styles. This word could be used along with any of the feminine styles, a style but also a descriptive word for extra cute styles.
Fairy Kei-a much more extreme version of Kawaii, blending cosplay (costume-play), anime characters, mainly pastels and nearing the classic Lolita style.
Decora-It is just 100 accessories too many, using multi-print mixing, bolder colors, and very busy tutus.
Gothic Lolita-This is the most current active style trend reaching across The British Territories and through the U.S. The name pretty much explains the style.  Princess fairytale in a mini-dress and military wool coat like Red Valentino is the more mainstream look.

These looks can be as extreme as the artsy girl dressed like a Victorian Doll with a bustle to the soccer mom wearing a tweed Spencer jacket over a floral high-waisted mini-dress. This style is wide spread and it is influencing designers left and right.  I think adding a few pieces to a wardrobe is quite fun,….I like it…..anyone else ready to take that tumble down the rabbit hole? 


  1. This is fabulous information Amy. I have heard of several of these styles, but have never been sure how the terms would apply to my patterns. You've helped me to see them in a new light,and opened up a whole new marketing angle. Thank you!

  2. Forgot to say it's Anne from Stitching By Numbers, lol

  3. Great post! I'll try using some of those tags.

    Thanks for including my pattern!

  4. WOW! I can see that so much work when into this blog post, it's fantantic! I'll be revisiting this one often. I've shared it all over. Thanks ladies!!

  5. One more thing..I printed out your list of terms to keep as a guideline for posting. So helpful...Thanks again!

  6. I just wanted to add Kawaii can be added as one of our Style choices during listing too.

  7. Thanks for the tips on keeping up with trendy tags for our patterns. Plus I really enjoyed all the photos. I may need to do some updating. I think it is fun to dress up, and unfortunately, in my town the big fashion trend seems to be going out in your pajamas and bedroom slippers - Ugh!

  8. What a fun read! And, though on the quirky side, I love these styles! Thank you so much for the tag tips and the great blog!