The humble cargo trouser: a 90s staple that became an integral part of any wardrobe. Genderless, unassuming and practical, they were a piece everyone could get behind. Although their prominence has never wavered in workwear and for practical use, at the turn of the century they unfortunately fell victim to shifting trends. Becoming somewhat of a fashion faux-pas, only to be revived in the mid 2010s briefly, before slowly fading back to (semi) obscurity in the fashion circuit.
Until recently, that is. Spotted on it-girls everywhere, from Bella Hadid to TikTok fashion influencers, cargos seem to be back and better than ever. A brand driving this obsession is Maharishi – the cult Japanese streetwear brand known for its intricate embroidery which emblazons ‘army-style’ cargo pants, jackets and everything in between. Although Maharishi cargos were circulating in streetwear spaces in 2016, they’ve now been thrust firmly into the mainstream, seeing a huge price spike on resale sites such as Depop in recent months.
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For consumers wanting to move away from exclusively wearing jeans (thanks, lockdowns) but still wanting a baggy silhouette, cargo pants offer a great alternative. Most often in neutral tones, durable material and featuring all the pockets you could want, they pair well with most things and have secured their position as a certified wardrobe staple for many.
A recent picture set of Bella Hadid filling up her car with petrol momentarily broke the internet – who knew an A-List model could do such mundane tasks?! But the star of the pictures were undoubtedly her trousers – a pair of dark grey, baggy cargos that spawned an internet-wide search for them and led to the girl who sold them on Depop blowing up on TikTok for the accolade.
As well as its comfort, people want its aesthetic. So much so, that cargo skirts (midi, drawstring, neutral colours) are also becoming one of this season’s most covetable vintage finds. They scream laid back, but put together: ready to be photographed in, or just ready to do some construction work. Even fast-fashion has been taking note: retailers such as Zara, Urban Outfitters and even Tesco’s own clothing line have all released versions of the cargo, and all three have swiftly sold out after they were shared on TikTok.
Whilst some will see this filtering-down as the beginning of the end for the cargo trouser, we expect to see the trend continue to grow throughout the year. And, if they do happen to fall back out of favour, just pack them away for another five years until they inevitably pop up on the fashion circuits again. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.