Throw away your iPhone 14s and PS5s, and get yourself a 90s Game Boy and an ancient relic of a camcorder – hyperrealism is out, at least according to fashion and its latest obsession, the pixel.
It all started with Loewe when it showed its SS23 collection that featured pixel-perfect clothing. The pieces came in the form of sand-coloured trousers, a blue tee and hoodie, which was even more popularised when A$AP Rocky was spotted wearing it. Dubbed the “Minecraft Hoodie”, Loewe kickstarted a trend that gave us both video game childhood nostalgia and gave reason for the Roblox-playing Generation Alpha to drop £1.75K on a hoodie (if any 9 year olds would even be interested in doing that).
Pixelated fashion has taken a whole new life of its own this Paris Men’s Fashion Week during Pharrell’s debut show at Louis Vuitton. We literally cannot scroll through any comment section of the show’s coverage without seeing the words “it’s giving Minecraft”. It’s true though, it was giving Minecraft. Pharrell took on the house’s classic Damier print, which was also seen throughout the show and even on the bridge-turned-runway, remixing the squares, bringing the brand forward by using a rather outdated look.
Even Levi’s® has hopped on the trend. The denim brand, which has been on a slew of collabs to celebrate 150 years of its 501® jeans, has used that pixel effect on its Marcelo Burlon County Of Milan collaboration, which featured laser-printed squares of various shades of blue.
Tommy Hilfiger took the 8-bit theme very literally, coming out with its own 90s-inspired game in line with an Aries collab, in which players had to queue jump and collect coins – very arcade of Tommy. But it’s not just fashion that is going full-pixel. K-pop group NewJeans teased their upcoming single “Get Up” with a Powerpuff Girl, old computer game-style visuals. We’re not sure why the pixel trend came in full force, but we have a sneaker suspicion it has to do with our fixation with nostalgia.
As a generation, we are nostalgic as hell, even (or especially) for times when we weren’t even alive yet. We literally watch the Internet, game consoles and cameras grow with us, with its visuals and definition improving relatively quickly. While that has given us access to things like Netflix and 0.5x selfies, there’s also a part of us that wants to go back in time, which makes sense considering we’ve all got (or at least know a friend who has) some sort of film camera because “it just looks cooler”.
With the release of the iPhone, hyperrealism has taken over our lives, with the ability to capture exactly what you see with just one click, and to share it with anyone in your contact list and in the world thanks to social media. And with the announcement of Apple’s Vision Pros, things are getting just a tad too realistic for us.
With pixel fashion, we are transported back to a time where most of today’s worries would never cross our minds. The only issue we truly dealt with was trying to convince our parents to pay for a VIP membership on MovieStarPlanet. Fashion has always been about selling a dream, and right now the dream it’s selling us is our childhood bliss.
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