Borrowing ideas and taking inspiration from other cultures is something that happens frequently in fashion – and SS13 seems to be no exception. Coming from a country as ethnically diverse as Great Britain and living in a city as multicultural as London, it is easy to see how so much creative stimulation can be drawn from different ethnicities and the world around us.

Furthermore, as more and more designers from different walks of life and varied ethnic backgrounds continue to make their mark on the fashion world, this influence only looks set to grow moving forward.

But for SS13 the ethnic trend doesn’t focus around one singular group or part of the world – such as Native Americans, the Far East, India, tribes etc. – so this is not a trend that will have you feeling like you are wearing a ‘costume’ or fancy dress.

Instead designers across the globe have utilised a plethora of different cultures for inspiration, leading to a wide variety of exotic patterns and ideas being applied to traditionally ‘Western’ garments. The result being pieces that will integrate effortlessly into your current wardrobe (especially with the current focus on prints) and help subtly separate your look from the crowd.

Ethnic Influences On The SS13 Runways

Looking specifically at the runway shows for SS13, one of the biggest yet most subtle proponents of the ethnic trend was Bottega Veneta. The key concept for the show was ‘ease’, which led to a variety of over-the-head, tunic-esque styles being showcased that were very reminiscent of medieval England (think Robin Hood).

The collection made use of earthy tones and textured fabrics such as velvet and suede for a natural feel. Criss-cross lacing was used across the chest of the aforementioned tunics, rather than button fastenings, reinforcing the historically ethnic feel of the collection.

Key pieces included several v-neck, criss-cross laced tunics in earthy brown and beige, which came oversized and often finished around mid-thigh. Offering a slightly more contemporary twist on the same theme, bright red and blue polo shirts with lace-up neck detailing were paired with bold anoraks and jackets. A subtle twist to a wardrobe staple (the polo shirt) that would instantly individualise your look.

Bottega Veneta also offered a slightly different multicultural take with the addition of fringe detailing to tan suede tunics and boots – reminiscent of Native American dress. The use of the largely muted, earthy tones ensured the collection proved totally wearable and the loose, comfort cut meant it could be worn during the warmer months by men who are happy to embrace a slightly different aesthetic:

Other designers were slightly more restrained with the ethnic influences in their collections – namely E. Tautz and Missoni.

The collection from E. Tautz borrowed references from Moroccan, Abyssinian and Sudanese clothing but applied them in an extremely understated way. You saw them flash by, for example, in the oversized shirting, which resembled djellaba robes, but these flashes were deliberately blink-and-you-miss-it.

As Patrick Grant explained backstage after the show: “We tried to tone down the ethnicity by keeping them very simple, making the colours very strong.”

Turning to Missoni, inspiration came from South East Asia, with a colour palette reminiscent of tones you would find in a sunset – several variations of orange and earthy terracotta tones were present throughout.

The collection also included ethnic patterns applied to short-sleeved jumpers and v-neck, button-up knitwear:

Other designers chose to showcase ethnic influences within their collections through their choice of models as much as their key pieces.

Jean-Paul Gaultier featured thickly-bearded models wearing brightly-coloured turbans in every look, whilst Etro accessorised some models with silk turbans that added a very regal feel to the outfits. The luxurious fabrics and plush colours utilised for the turbans were almost reminiscent of Indian royalty in some cases.

Etro went on to showcase oriental-style jackets for an Eastern feel, but the collection still managed to incorporate their signature paisley print throughout, which was applied to everything from tunics to bold paisley-patterned trousers:

Key Show: Yohji Yamamoto

Finally, one designer worth notable mention in the field of ethnic inspiration is Yohji Yamamoto. His stereotypically ambitious show featured fantastically colourful trousers with reams of fabric and elasticated ankles, giving an almost ‘Aladdin’ feel to the look.

Realistically, these trousers are not very wearable for the everyday man but the interesting silhouette created and the bold use of colour – from bright orange to aqua blue, as well as black – was inspired and extremely unforgettable.

Some of the trousers also featured patterns, which when combined with the oversized feel only added to the dramatic effect:

Ethnic Inspired Lookbook

The high fashion designers aren’t the only ones embracing other cultures and using ethnicity as a source of inspiration this season.

The lookbook below features everyone from H&M to Topman and showcases a variety of key ethnic influenced pieces and prints that shows just how easy it is to work this trend into your existing wardrobe in a stylish and contemporary way:

h&m summer 2013 minimum winter 2012 drykorn ss13 h&m ss13 h&m ss13 new look ss13 louis vuitton pre aw13 etro ss13 matalan ss13 dolce and gabbana ss13 topman aw12 asos ss13

Current Key Pieces
  • Asos Vest With All Over Ethnic Print
  • Easy Printed Vest
  • Eleven Paris Ethnic Print Red Shirt
  • Short-sleeved Printed Cotton T-shirt
  • Topman Brown Batik Print Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Denim & Supply Rl Bandana Print Ward Shirt
  • Tom & Hawk Tom Ate Multi-wave Tee
  • Topman Orange Zig Zag Print Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Topman Off White All Over Safari Print Shirt
  • Shorts
  • Allsaints Medallions Swim Shorts
  • Bottega Veneta P Bottega Veneta Patterned Knitted-cotton Sweateratterned Knitted-cotton Sweater
  • Missoni Long-sleeved Knitted Cotton-blend Henley T-shirt
  • Missoni Linen-cotton Knitted Jacket 153236
  • Miko Spinelli Anellia Afro Bomber Jacket
  • He By Mango Ethnic Style Belt
  • Shoes
  • Asos Espadrilles With Ethnic Print
Final Word

It is undeniable that different ethnicities have a huge impact on fashion all over the globe, with these influences only adding to the variety and range of clothing available to the modern man in a positive way.

But as always, we want to hear your thoughts and musings. Do you see yourself embracing the ethnic trend and daring to be slightly different this coming season? Or do you see yourself as more of a traditionalist? Perhaps you don’t feel that there is enough ethnic diversity in fashion right now and would like to see this increase even more?

Make sure you leave your comments below and let us know what you think…