We all know that fashion takes inspiration from all different areas and aspects of the World and trends come and go regularly. Last year we saw fashion take inspiration from all sorts of areas; from the military, to the collegiate campuses of America, to the English countryside, to the French streets of bohemian Paris. But a recent shopping trip demonstrated to me the current proliferation of a different trend, a twist on the nautical trend which has been prevalent recently. It seems both designers, and the high street have been inspired by the humble fisherman.
As I grew up in a small seaside town in Dorset, literally minutes away from the harbour side, I am particularly excited to see this trend coming through – it is time that fishermen had their day! When I say fishermen, I’m not thinking about the well-groomed head honcho of the ship in his pristine double-breasted suit with polished gold buttons and fringing, I’m thinking about the fishermen and dock yard workers who get their hands dirty and line the portsides in their trawlers. Think more trawler men than Captain Birdseye. The nature of their work means that these fishermen tend to dress for practicality, with lots of layers and protection from the wind, rain and ‘The Briny’ herself! Considering the traditional British springtime weather we are currently experiencing – showers and gale-force winds – layers and protection from the elements is exactly what we need right now. Think thick cable knit fisherman jumpers, undersized beanie hats, chunky socks and the staple fisherman jacket. With the coming of this new trend, we are being offered the chance to dress practically but remain on the fashion pulse.
For a while now, we have seen a shift in the fashion world away from androgynous, metrosexual, overly-groomed, pretty models to campaigns which feature stereotypical men in hard-working situations. The recent Dolce & Gabbana campaigns have featured rugged men wearing the clothes whilst arm wrestling or working at a bustling fish market, and the current French Connection campaign places an emphasis on masculinity – ‘Being the man’. The stereotype of a hard-working fisherman fits right into this niche.
High Fashion Focus
The recent S/S 2011 fashion weeks taking place across the globe demonstrated that aspects of the fisherman trend have inspired several of the designer collections. Band of Outsiders featured hooded fisherman jackets with toggle detailing and chunky socks worn with boots, whilst Gant by Michael Bastian and A. Hallucination followed this trend with rope and toggle detailing on various garments including jackets, blazers and shorts. Nothing says nautical seaman more than a rope and toggle fastening! Junya Watanabe, Nautica and Michael Bastian also followed the trend for fisherman jackets by featuring a selection in various, vivid colours which also supports the current trend for block colouring as we approach summer. Burberry Prorsum featured chunky cable knits and Agnes B showed a penchant for nautical-inspired headgear with sailor caps and undersized fisherman beanies prominent throughout.
High Street Focus
Filtering down into the high street, we can also see that the fisherman trend has inspired several of the current collections. The Topman LTD range has taken inspiration from the dockyard with it’s mixing of chunky, rugged fabrics with naval styling featuring laundered shirts, hardy denim and thick cabled knitwear with toggle detailing. I particularly like the Navy Tie Funnel Neck Jacket with its classic navy blue hue and oversized funnel neck detail.
Sticking with Topman – one of the latest trends featured on their website and in the ad campaigns in store is what they are calling Deep South. Although this doesn’t directly reference the fisherman trend – the inspiration from the humble fisherman is clear to see with the collection including a stylish khaki fisherman jacket, chunky cabled knitwear, undersized fisherman-style beanies and chunky, textured socks with button detailing. Similarly, River Island have featured on their website a ‘Get the Look’ section and the ‘Worker Look’ and ‘Great Outdoors Look’ both show inspiration from the fisherman trend with cabled knits and fisherman inspired accessories like beanie hats and a hardy rucksack.
In The Media
The fisherman trend has also recently captured the eye of the fashion media. In their High Street Handbook section, Esquire magazine recently included a capsule collection of affordable items which they described as ‘off duty fisherman’. The magazine featured a brown, lightweight, cotton duffel coat by Burton, a navy wool waffle cotton jumper by Reiss and a navy nylon hooded jacket by Cos. Also, in the same issue of Esquire, it was announced that Levi have recently collaborated with Opening Ceremony to develop a collection which has been described as fisherman chic – and the key feature of the collection is a multi-coloured cagoule, showing that practicality doesn’t have to be boring. GQ also recently featured a stylish Lyle & Scott wax fisherman-style jacket which showed clear maritime inspiration, and also a feature on ‘pack-a-macs’ which showed that waterproofs are moving up the fashion stakes and becoming more slick – they no longer need to be dull with an emphasis on practicality.
It’s clear to see that the impact of the inspiration of the fisherman trend is taking effect and is in full force. The versatility of the trend is a very appealing factor as you can mix and match items as you wish; it’s quite likely that you already possess certain garments or accessories which support this trend. Although I am not advocating going the whole hog by slathering yourself in fish guts in the name of fashion, and dressing from head to toe in fisherman-inspired gear, I think the fisherman trend is something that is current and offers a great selection of garments and accessories which are classic and timeless.