The Americana Dream
Posted on November 11 2022
Like it or loathe it, the American influence on modern culture is absolutely irrefutable. From the food we eat to the TV and movies we watch, it’s deeply ingrained into our contemporary way of life. As such, the fundamental tropes and stylings of ‘Americana’ fashion are instantly identifiable, even just at a glance. The exact time period in which it became so globally recognisable and widely adopted is, of course, a matter of personal opinion. You could certainly argue the American fashion wave experienced some of its most significant years of growth and exposure around the tail end of the last century, but what cannot be denied is the sustained presence it’s maintained throughout the ever-evolving cultural landscape. It’s a timeless style, one that only evolves and adapts over time, rather than dying out and reappearing in waves (an all-too-familiar trapping of so many recurrent trends in fashion).
As alluded to previously, almost every conceivable facet of pop culture has some American-inspired influence to support it, especially in the western world, and this has far-reaching implications for the fashion industry. Many brands have been known to reference this sentiment in their collections, whether that be with tasteful throwbacks to vintage Americana wardrobe staples that pay homage to the golden eras of American fashion, or with thought-provoking meta commentaries on American culture in modern-day society. Balenciaga has arguably built its name and reputation under the direction of Demna Gvasalia on its satirical exploration of modern pop culture; particularly American pop culture. Many of the more noteworthy designs in Demna’s portfolio actively challenge our notions of what is and isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘on-trend’ (especially as dictated by the wonderful world of the internet).
Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh is always partial to sprinkling a few pop culture references into its designs (the Bart Simpson-printed jerseys from the label’s SS19 collection immediately spring to mind), but we’ve been particularly impressed by the varsity-inspired designs that have come from their latest showcase. American varsity is clearly a big part of the Off-White AW22 picture, as illustrated by pieces like the Black Graphics Leather Varsity Jacket and OW Baja Chunky Sweater, which flaunt their Collegiate-style graphics and appliques like American badges of honour. Look no further than the Blue Sunday Baseball Jacket from Palm Angels for evidence of Palm Angels’ eagerness to flex its varsity muscles this season and pay tribute to this most essential of American wardrobe stables.
Of course, the influential reach of Americana fashion is universal and extends far beyond its own borders. As far as even Japan, where vintage Americana is widely idolised. In fact, that very same appreciation for American fashion has formed the foundation for Kenzo’s resurgence under new artistic director Nigo. The direction the designer has taken the label in for its latest season is more in line with that more traditional of Japanese style ethoses, with a deliberate focus on quality denims and American-inspired patchwork check shirts (Bordeaux Checked Oversized Shirt). It’s a poetic ode to Americana and the history of Japanese fashion that has been inspired by it.