Gone are the days when the cheap, sorry, “accessible” way to bag a piece by your favourite designer was to buy the bag. Or the purse, shoes or any other of those small leather goods that sell by the multitude. As the price tags on accessories have been super-sized, clever designers have found a new way to please their young fans, and it’s a far more up-front way to pledge allegiance than a purse or key ring.
The trend for statement sweatshirts started on the Givenchy catwalk, when Riccardo Tisci presented panthers and pin-up girls encircled by garlands of orchids and printed on to velvet and silk sweatshirts for autumn/winter 2011. Later, Nicolas Ghesquière implored his women to “join a weird trip” with his autumn/winter 2012 “sci-fi” collection. After these two paved the way, and coinciding with a trend for street wear and all things Nineties, designers like Kenzo, Christoper Kane and Acne have been showing how to wear their art on your sleeve, turning an item that was once relegated to slobby Sundays into a must-have.
When the style press arrive, a statement sweatshirt is a sure fire way to get snapped by the photographers who lie in wait – eye-catching colours, witty redrawn logos and crystal and gem embellishment all get the flashbulbs popping.
For those for whom designer life is out-of-reach, there are plenty of statements on the high street: bold blocky shapes and graphic fonts, punchy neons and motifs reminiscent of psychedelic album artwork or the sort of velvet paintings popular in the Seventies.