From the New York Times 9th annual year in ideas
The Great Depression inspired American fashion this year, from men’s wear by John Bartlett that looked like a stylized version of Lewis Hine’s New York to frocks by Ralph Lauren that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Dorothea Lange photograph. Meanwhile, off the runways, many sturdy American outerwear and workwear brands that were actually around during the Depression were enjoying their own unlikely upscale revival. Call it heritage chic.
The progressive clothing boutique Opening Ceremony, which was already using for its own house line fabrics from Pennsylvania’s Woolrich, America’s oldest continuously operating wool-clothing manufacturer (est. 1830), sought this year to further reimagine classic American clothing. It designed new collections in collaboration with Pendleton, the hundred-year-old Oregon company famed for its woolen shirts, and with the venerable footwear companies Keds (est. 1916) and Timberland (est. 1952).
A similar impulse recently prompted the whimsical New York men’s wear designers Duckie Brown to mine the archives of the Wisconsin-based shoe company Florsheim (est. 1892) to create a new laceless wingtip and star-spangled Patriot boot. The Japanese designer Daiki Suzuki, who has been creating modern updates on the Woolrich catalog as head of the firm’s upscale men’s wear label Woolrich Woolen Mills, says that some credit for these new takes on old styles goes to Europe and Japan, where Americana has been fashionable for a generation. “It’s not a trend,” he insists. “It’s more like a style. It’s basics.”