A Look Back at... Global Fashions on Western Style

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It's August! High summer is officially over and we're looking to transcend mini skirt and crop top weather to light layers and longer hemlines with some originality and finesse. Continuing on with the bohemian theme which has been so prevalent this season, we're hitching up our rucksacks and taking inspiration from the exoticism of faraway lands which inspired the original hippie movement in the 60's and 70's, to bring you some amazing blog content and super cool clothes!

But where did it all begin? When did Western fashion adopt styles from faraway and more exotic shores?

Our fascination with world fashions began at the turn of the century when French couturier Paul Poiret brought oriental styles to the forefront of the industry. After serving as assistant to couturier Charles Frederick Worth, Poiret set up shop on his and was inspired by Eastern art and Russian ballet; bringing the two together to create impressive, theatrical designs. His evening gowns, turbans, and harem pants appeared in brilliant shades of purple, red, orange, green, and blue. Extremely influential in the pre-World War I period, he gained popularity amongst the beautiful and rich as they fought to wear his designs.

Although this trend didn't trickle down to mass produced fashion, it continued to be popular with rich classes through the 20's with the surge in loose, dropped waistbands, until the turn of the decade when it petered out in favour of nipped in waists and shorter hemlines.

It wasn't until the late '60s/early '70s that fashion's love affair with exotic designs emerged again. People wanted a change from the conformity of the fifties and the futuristic, space age designs of the sixties so they started to look to other cultures for inspiration.

Unlike the origins of the early 20th century trend, this time the trend started with the youth movement, which was as an extension of the counter-culture movement seen across the US and Europe. Backpackers travelled the 'Hippie Trail', bringing back a new found spiritualism and new found clothing styles.

The '70s was the decade of experimentation and wanderlust. People who travelled to exotic locations would bring back pieces of clothing and jewellery that were unique and different and would wear them alongside their fabulous seventies attire.

During this decade ethnic style became a highly personal way of dressing as it showed where you had been on your travels. From Palestinian scarves, Latin American skirts, Indonesian batik sarongs, embroidered purses, leather sandals and tribal jewellery, there was something to satisfy everyone's fashion hunger.

Throughout the decade, designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Gibb, Ossie Clark and Thea Porter pioneered this modern traveller style within their designs. For example; Yves Saint Laurent took great inspiration from his frequent trips to Marrakech. The city seduced him with its laid-back culture, beautiful architecture and vibrant colours. The designer was famed for reinventing traditional Moroccan attire, such as the tarbouch, creating new silhouettes worn by fashion's most stylish women.

It's only fitting that in a year of bohemian 70's repeat, we also re-celebrate all things multi-cultural. If you fancy yourself a bit of an urban nomad take a look at Rokit's new lookbook championing ethnic influences and diversity in fashion.

To recreate the look mix up your cultural influences, take bold prints and floaty fabrics and throw in some interesting textures and sequins. From Africa to Asia, South America to the Middle East, the fashion opportunities are endless. Accessorise with stacks of bangles, strings of beads, silk scarves and heavily embellished belts and necklaces. If you really want to go all out, make sure you add some metallic face paint!

Feed your wanderlust and check out Rokit's new round the world look book.

Shop Around the World HER

Shop Around the World HIM