Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're Keeping It Buttoned

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're Keeping It Buttoned

Article excerpt

Byline: By Vicky Pepys

Vicky Pepys is fed up of being fleeced.

Are we witnessing a revolution? Trendy guys are turning their backs on fleece and turning to knits.

Cardigans are this season's biggest style statement. It just needs to become a little warmer and cardigans will begin to flourish.

The casual cardigan originated in Britain and as worn by our dads and granddad's was ruthlessly derided.

How things change. And all that seems to have been required was a fresh look at the colour palette, a tweaking of measurements, a teaming of the right accessories and a kick-start created by something and somebody unexpected.

The kick-start could possibly be traced to Japan. So many UK design teams, clothing and homewear included, travel East for inspiration. Where once the USA held inspiration for Europe, it's considered far too bland these days.

Fashion observer Tom Kitwood, 23, my nephew who is currently teaching English in Tokyo for a year, has witnessed a cardigan revival and regards the trend as being part of a general vintage movement. Vintage, and even recycling, is a relatively new thing for Japan, but it's as strong a look as here, now. "The vast majority of cardigans seen on the street are from the vintage clothes stores and second hand boutiques," says Tom. "They tend to be worn in the geeky ironic way that is popular in Japan, and one of the most popular brands is Lacoste. Almost all cardigans are plain and woollen, worn with jeans and a baggy necked T-shirt underneath, and popular colours are chocolate brown and light grey."

This sounds a rather boring colour palette, but consider that these same kids are possibly also wearing tapered white jeans, pointed toe shoes, 80s sunglasses, beanie or bobble hats perched precariously on heads and belts which Tom can only describe as "drastic". And they'll probably also have committed the ultimate fashion and cultural protest by bleaching and dyeing their black locks to brown.

It's a trend that certainly caught the eye of Topman's Design and Product Development director Gordon Richardson a few seasons ago, and he has already declared that the label will champion the cardigan this season. …

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