Written by Jess Miller

Hanging on every classroom wall and posted consistently on Pinterest boards, you will find the inspiring words first said by artist Mary Engelbreit; ‘Don’t look back, you’re not going that way‘. But maybe we are? The demand in vintage dressing has practically doubled in the last two years. Whether it be for eco-conscious reasons, in order to follow trends or simply out of preference, the past is always in the wingmirrors, and objects in the mirrors are closer than they appear. 

In the past, charity shops were perhaps looked down upon for supplying pre-owned clothes, often when purchased one questioned where the item was discovered and if they would score in finding a little change in the pockets. However, the revolution for vintage dressing has been commandeered by the celebrity army, and it certainly is not frowned upon anymore!

Jennifer Lopez in the Jungle Dress 2000

With Rihanna, the queen of pop, now ruling the vintage fashion archives, John Galliano is the first fashion house to be conquered. Among the wide range of fabulous pieces, the singer has acquired one of the rarest and most sought-after; a blue velvet tie-dyed Mongolian lamb’s wool jacket from the Autumn/Winter 2000 Outerwear Collection. This fashion tongue-twister was impressively found by Parisian Marie Laboucarié, owner of Nina Gabanna Vintage, home to some of the most exclusive and exquisite vintage gems. Since the news broke of where celebrities were snagging these extremely collectable items, Marie has grown accustomed to the demand, and thanks these celebrities for ‘normalising vintage shopping‘. Even the beloved Jennifer Aniston was wearing a vintage silk Christian Dior gown from 1999 at the most recent SAG awards. Not only was it a hit with the public but it seemed good enough for her ex-fiancé Brad Pitt, whom she bumped into at the event. 

Of course, there are many environmental benefits when buying pre-owned clothes; promoting sustainable fashion, supporting smaller businesses the list goes on and on. 2021 has put the spotlight on the fashion industry and become a very crucial year for raising awareness surrounding what used to be the bolted shut doors of the business. With the sustainable insurgence growing and growing, even large fashion houses are buying back archival pieces from vintage buyers as inspiration for future collections. One of the most obvious examples would be Versace, the Italian Fashion brand which embodies luxury and glamour. Moreover, when paired with the infamous Jennifer Lopez (A.K.A Jenny from the block), results in the first instance of the internet ‘breaking’. In fact, the Versace ‘Jungle Dress’ worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000, was googled in such an abundance, specifically to know what the gown looked like, the search engine was forced to INVENT a new option, which would include images in the search.

In Donatella Versace’s own words, ‘The world stopped, everyone wanted to look at that dress…. I’m proud we inspired Google Images.’ Therefore, let us all remember and show our gratitude to J.Lo, every time we find ourselves scrolling through Google Images. Nonetheless, it is not the last the world will see of the iconic ‘Jungle Dress’, albeit in a different silhouette. At the beginning of 2020, rumours were circulating following the announcement of a grand finale at the Versace spring/summer show during Milan Fashion Week. Although nothing could prepare the audience (or even the cosmos) for what was to strut down the catwalk. Through parting curtains appeared a hybrid of the epochal dress, which had such an impact on the world two decades before. The ‘Jungle Dress’ had had a revamp. A sleeveless gown in the same green print but this time with cutout sides, an open back and added gold embellishment. 

In this degree, is the past really behind us, or will it return on the fashion conveyor belt at quarterly periods in a new disguise? Whether it be butterfly clips, platform flip-flops, skinny jeans, or Ugg Boots it is hard to know what will be highly sought after in another 20 years. Until then, it will be a roulette of what to keep at the back of the cupboard and what to say goodbye to forever.