Whether they remind you of Surrealism, ’70s ska bands or Jeff Spicoli’s Vans, graphic grid prints are back. Why luxury behemoths are leading the way in brands from Louis Vuitton to indie New York upstarts.
What has become notable, however, is that checkerboard styles have expanded beyond vans over the years to department stores and high-fashion runway shows. Louis Vuitton. Surrealist green and white checkerboard suits and bags have been found in the recent collection of‘s
Menswear Line. ASOS sells a buffet of more reasonably priced checkerboard hair clips, skirts, cardigans, and other accessories for those who want to create a complete square-patterned wardrobe. New York-based upstarts Ray and Zankov are matching primary-color checkerboard shirt sets and intricate deco-ish checkerboard sweaters, respectively.
According to Edited, a company that tracks market data from retailers’ e-commerce sites, there has been a 130% increase in the number of checkerboard products between October 2020 and October 2021. Edited who compiled this data. This pattern has become inevitable on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok, which are major sources of style inspiration for Gen Zs and Millennials. The video with the hashtag #checkerboardoutfit has garnered nearly 789,000 collective views on TikTok.
Some say that the apathy of the Covid-era is fueling this checkered boom. “Last year with the pandemic, we were all looking for better times, looking forward to better days,” Ms Feigen said. One’s throwback checkerboard touchstone depends on one’s age. If you’re a boomer, you can associate the pattern with ska, a musical movement that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s. During its second wave in the late ’70s, checkerboard dresses were in vogue among musicians and fans. If you were an ’80s teen, you’d associate it with Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), the blazing heart of 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” an iconic wearer of checkerboard vans.
Checkerboard can also read as Surrealist; See the rotating work of MC Escher. Or it may seem pretentious to collectors of Mackenzie-Childs’ kitschy checkerboard enamel home goods. For Conor McKnight, a rising fashion designer in New York, the figure evokes the checkered flag of car-racing. As a kid, Mr. McKnight dreamed of designing sports cars in one fell swoop. Her career ambitions changed course, but in her latest collection, she sported an energetic, black-and-white checkerboard figure sprinkled in a necktie and shirt collar. Stylistically, the pattern “adds an extra dimension to a piece of clothing,” said Mr McKnight, who otherwise sticks to solid colors.
This pattern is what Tara Levitt, 33, marketing director in Jersey City, NJ, refers to as the “avant basic” look. Many men and women of her generation, now free from strict office dress codes, have become more eclectic and experimental in terms of style. For her, wearing straight silhouettes in a sharp checkered pattern (“Avant”) like trousers and a button-up shirt (“Basic”) is a simple way to dress up in a more playful way. Her checkerboard Ray pantsuit, she said, tells the world very clearly “This is who I am. I like to have fun. I don’t take myself too seriously.” Welcome to that sartorial frivolity after a heavy, pandemic year.
Josiah Dayab, 24, a perfumer in West Hollywood, Calif., has long played with patterns and fabrics. He often pairs orange-and-cream checkerboard trousers, which he recently bought from Urban Outfitters, with a simple gray sweater and black loafers. The checkerboard, he said, is “something that’s still simple” but you can “personalize” depending on how you wear it.
Still, it doesn’t meet everyone’s definition of simplicity. He recently wore pants to a dinner with his aunt and uncle. their reaction? “Holy Moly, they’re crazy.” However not Mr Dayab. “I really don’t feel that way,” he said. “The checkerboard seems like a staple of my wardrobe.”
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Jacob Gallagher at [email protected]