Assuming you’re Gen-Z, you’re probably well stocked up on your Quiltcore (which has nothing to do with quilting and simply means patchwork) pieces by now. But strap yourself in, because this trend is not going anywhere. Layers upon layers of clashing prints and juxtaposed patterns make for the ideal summer wardrobe, but how did Quiltcore come to be?
You can thank the ‘60s, where patchwork fabrics were adapted by mainstream and high-fashion designers. Almost 50 years later and many of this year’s key pieces are inspired by the trend. Originally (and still for some brands and designers), Quiltcore was simply used for design and aesthetics. However, many brands are now elevating the design technique by using it to upcycle old garments.
Celebrities began to fuel the trend back in early 2020. Zayn Malik was seen wearing a repurposed Bode jacket with contrasting green, blue and red patchwork squares. The jacket caught the attention of the fashion media for its use of repurposed fabrics. Yoon Ahn, creative director of AMBUSH and Dior jewellery, then also adopted the trend. She went full patchwork in a denim trench and matching wide-leg pants and posted the look as an elevated at-home fit during the pandemic.
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However, arguably at the pinnacle of the trend, was JW Anderson’s colour block cardigan which took Quiltcore to new heights. The piece went viral on TikTok after Harry Styles wore it back in February 2020, at a live performance on The Today Show. He prompted the eponymous #harrystylescardigan trend which has now gained almost 60 million views with TikTokers and die-hard Harry fans recreating their own versions of the look.
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Fast forward six months and patchwork was pretty much on almost every runway. Chitose Abe, sacai’s creative director, included Quiltcore pieces throughout her entire menswear collection. The Japanese designer sent patterned Bermuda shorts, panelled denim and even printed patchwork socks down the runway. Versace paid its respects to the trend too through silk prints and deconstructed jackets. And Greg Lauren’s menswear collection refused to show anything but Quiltcore.
If you’re new to the trend or if you’re looking to solidify your Quiltcore wardrobe, we’ve collected 15 must-have items below, to get you well underway and see you past the summer.
sacai Patchwork Shorts, US$1154 / £837
This year, we’re taking bermuda shorts back from the Dads. sacai uses a colour palette reminiscent of military uniforms, with brown, khaki and beige tones for everything but blending in.
By Walid Hooded Parka, US$3233 / £2345
Not ready to ditch your winter fits? Say no more. We have found the perfect parka, to make all festival-goers Quiltcore with envy this year.
Jaded London Skate Jean, US$96 / £70
Skate Park kid or Parkour pro? Whichever your activity of choice, Jaded’s baggy 90’s silhouette will keep you kick flippin’ through till Autumn.
Loewe Oversized Hooded Shirt, US$1000 / £725
Subtle doesn’t have to mean boring. If you’re looking to opt for a toned-down version of the Quiltcore trend, Loewe’s oversized plaid shirt is for you. Although classified as menswear, we don’t believe in labels; this one’s for everyone.
Maison Margiela Sneakers, US$1034 / £750
Wait, Galliano purposely scuffed these sneakers? Yep, you got it. Margiela’s creative director, John Galliano, is bringing back the old to replace the new, with a rough-around-the-edges vibe. With Orange patchwork detailing and contrasting mesh inserts, Margiela designed our favourite Quiltcore must-have sneaker.
KAPITAL Jacket Bandana-Print Cotton, US$572 / £415
We’re green with envy. For those who wear their colours loud and proud, KAPITAL has you covered with vivid tones of green in a paisley print design.
Andersson Bell Denim Wide-Leg Jeans, US$214 / £155
Denim is a core part of any wardrobe, come rain or shine. Andersson Bell mixes a 90’s fit with a nod to 2021 patchwork. See something you love? Then buy it in every colour; available in blue, black and white. You’re welcome.
Ahluwalia Track Jacket, US$545 / £395
Track star or Trap star? Ahluwalia’s ‘Tom’ track jacket covers both. Repurposed from an old shell suit jacket, Ahluwalia is making ethical luxury accessible.
Liam Hodges Overprint Joggers, US$600 / £545
Liam Hodges is one of our favourites for upcycled fits. These collegiate inspired patchwork joggers are reminiscent of 90s high school aesthetics. With the iconic emblem throughout, it truly is ’10 things I love about you’.
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