by Ryan Wallace
Before the innovation of bold dyes and modernistic cuts, fashion was distinguished by patterns and prints. Each region of the world with its own specific pattern, these prints had the power to start wars and to unify nations. At a point in time, what you wore reflected who you were, and thus prints stayed stagnant in their regions of origin. Recently, however, as seen in the variety of prints this spring season, patterns have been mixed and matched and shared around the world.
This globalization of patterns has been seen in small scale, with for example silk prints that were traded along the Silk Road from China, however, now designers are bringing patterns from around the globe right to your wardrobe. There are tribal prints from Africa and the Americas, floral silk prints from Asia, plaids, gingham from Western Europe, and so many more. Even the Māori
people, natives to the island of New Zealand, have prints in the some of the most affluent designer stores. But aside from bringing together cultures of the world, these diverse prints have a lot to offer your wardrobe this spring.
Prints can be simple or complex; some have similar tones and hues, while others bring together all of the colors of the rainbow. Either way, prints allow for personalization to each outfit and help accessorize without using accessories. They help bring pops of color to your look, without the effect of color blocking, which has been another trend as of late. But what’s even more special about these prints and patterns is the history that you are wearing. Some of them have been around for centuries, even millennia, and have been the sources of wars, culture, and even love.
So fill your closet with a piece from each part of the world, and even more important, inform yourself. Your outfit may be a conversation starter, but it’s more important to know the rest of the story. Whether you are wearing Tartan plaids, silk-screened floral, or tribal chic patterns, there is a history behind each print and knowing it can help broaden your knowledge of fashion and the world. Shop smart, and be smart too! It’s a great way to stay in fashion and be culturally conscious.