In the past couple of seasons, we have seen fashion find its new niche: inflating everything. From puffer jackets getting even puffier to the swelling of accessories, designers seem to be bracing themselves for impact, considering our current economic crisis, with all this added padding.
Every winter season, brands double down on their warmest coats in anticipation of the harsh cold. This time around, there has been a standout amongst the crowd: the puffer. And this is not just your regular-sized puffer. Brands have been, in what some already call, ‘puffifying’ their coats, making them even more voluminous than before. We saw KidSuper’s take at Louis Vuitton Men’s FW23 mega padded mauve puffer with the LV-printed hood for extra protection or the beige fur jacket that got padded with its matching hat, K-Way quilted just about anything in Milan, and Copenhagen’s Holzweiler presented us with oversized puffer scarves to match the coat. And the sales match the runway trends, with Loewe’s padded bomber jacket came in 7 on Lyst’s Q4 index list of hottest products
But it’s not only puffers that are getting the ‘puffification’ treatment. Accessories – notably bags – are also seeing their proportions blow up. Take Prada, for example: it has padded a huge range of its classic pieces, such as its famous Monolith loafers, lace-up shoes, sabots and sandals as well as its re-nylon tote, shoulder and Moon bags. It’s safe to say we have entered the padded Para era.
Coach has also followed suit, with the introduction of its Pillow Tabby Bag. The puffy-looking bag introduced in FW21 has become a social media craze over the last year, and has practically been the face of Coach’s image rebranding. Other brand’s have also dedicated blown-up proportions to its bags, such as Maison Margiela’s Glam Slam bag which debuted in SS18 and has seen a rise in popularity since.
So why are we all obsessed with inflated padding and puffers? Well it’s no secret that fashion is a reflection of our time – think of Pyer Moss’ SS16 show used as a social commentary to denounce the continual violence of African-Americans in the US or Rick Owens who took inspiration from the Covid quarantine for his SS21 “Phlegethon” show. Since its creation, fashion has acted as a mirror to the social issues and cultural phenomenons we face. So as the cost of living inflates, so does fashion.
Perhaps the most literal interpretation of inflation was achieved by Jeremy Scott for Moschino’s SS23 collection. There were inflated mini Moschino hearts, inflated collars, bows and jackets as well as actual inflatable pool toys used throughout. Speaking on the collection, Scott said “Everybody’s talking about inflation. The cost of everything’s going up: housing, food, life. So I took inflation into the collection”. Recent additions to this trend that have just been shown during New York Fashion Week include Heron Preston‘s puffy black and white-lined suit as well as Dion Lee‘s inflated pink jacket.
And it makes sense why puffy-everything is trending during this economic crisis. Puffiness represents comfort and cosiness. Extra padding gives us a sense of security in a time where insecurity surrounds us. While literally or figuratively, inflated fashion is a luxurious dream in a time where most of us are having to cut back on what used to be affordable purchases that we now consider luxuries. And since there doesn’t seem to be an end to this cost of living crisis anytime soon, we’re sure that exaggerated puffers and padded-anything will have their fair share of spotlight time in the fashion weeks to come.
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