ALL that is old is new again. I have recently noticed an increasing number of brands offering pieces with traditional techniques of embroidery and smocking.
Growing up on the northwest coast of Tasmania in the late 1960s and ’70s, it was all about hippie and surfer chick fashion. I remember wearing long full-circle batik skirts, “cheesecloth” peasant tops, the original “treads” (who remembers those?) and Indian toe thongs. I also remember sarongs, ponchos and Amco Peaches jeans. Oh, those were the days!
We all know that fashion is cyclical; that what goes around comes back again. However, the return version is not always the same as the original incarnation. In recent seasons, I’ve watched the rise and rise of boho chic: the long suede boho bags, wide-leg jeans and longer-line tunics. But more recently I’ve noticed a return of the ethnic embroidered peasant-style tops and tunics.
I’d like to think it’s a statement in regards to more sustainable (slow) fashion, the celebration of a lost art form or the growing demand for uniqueness.
Whether they’ve been hand-stitched by traditional ateliers in the Ukraine or local artisans in Bali, Vietnam or India, these bespoke pieces have been popping up in the most unlikely places — in limited numbers. And when heavyweight e-tailer Net-a-Porter gets on board, you know a major trend is happening.
Looking for more sustainable or affordable options? Then I’m sure if you rummaged through your local opportunity or consignment shops, you might find some of the original pieces.
Traditionally made of cotton and linen, team the dresses with flats and sandals. Or team the tops or tunics with jeans, wide-leg linen pants, shorts or capri pants. Or channel the ’70s and wear off-the-shoulder, belted over a long skirt. Alternatively look for more elegant silk versions and wear with tailored black pants with heels to the office.
Meanwhile, Bali-based Australian Innika Choo has designed matching sandals, bloomers and bralettes to wear back with her gorgeous range. Try also MARCH 11 , Ulla Johnson and Fanm Mon, Calypso St Barth, Dodo Bar Or or Australian brands Sarah J Curtis and Country Road.
Do you love these gorgeous pieces? Know of other brands giving new life to an old skill? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …