It’s no secret that the whimsical leeway of 1960’s hippie culture still influences the world of fashion. Geometric patterns, folkloric motifs, bright colours and ecological sensibility that were popularized then are a swing that never faded away. Whether it’s on catwalks or inside millennial wardrobes, hints of escapism in the form of psychedelic t-shirts, tie dye shirts and long-flowing floral kaftans remain embedded in the echelons of fashion.
Mass protests and social movements rocked America in the 1960s. It all began in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood in San Francisco, where a group of young artists, musicians and professionals launched one of the biggest and most influential dress reform movements – rejecting the dictates of the society.
They were all about ensuring freedom – of living, of expression and of love, and this was well-reflected in the kind of clothing they embraced. They adopted a Bohemian lifestyle; they seemingly ditched the sophisticated but conventional style, popularized by iconic figures like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy and spurred a hippie culture movement that took the fashion world by storm. What’s more, a healthy stream of tumultuous events crippled the United States during the 1960s, including the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights Movement - further intensified the already-ongoing hippie style clothing movement.
Gypsy scarves, Indian motifs and African fabrics became the order of the day. A strong resentment towards commercialism, consumerism and mass production was in the air. The eccentric independence of hippie culture threatened traditional fashion establishments. Needless to say, an offbeat fashion sense prevailed, which was both exotic as well as frivolous at that time. With vibrant pops of colours, ragged silhouettes and oodles of beads and jewellery, the hippies created a one-of-a-kind look based on creativity, individuality and fantasy.
Bleeding colours forming geometric shapes then melting into vibrant swirls, amoeba patterns and Indian floral – psychedelic fashion was the end-product of the great hippie movement (Flower Power ideology), passive resistance and innate fascination in the culture of Far East, particularly Buddhism. Combining both music and visual art, this new breed of style exhibited escalated appreciation for texture and line and symmetry, all in sync with 1960s hippie trend.
This sense of style was mostly popularized by music icons, such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and quite obviously, the young generation of the 1960s joined the bandwagon. Vibrant colours and quirky tie-dye patterns started plaguing the market spreading the psychedelic craze like a wildfire.
However, with time, the psychedelic culture lost its relevance due to over-saturation – but Bohemian fashion made frequent comebacks influencing today’s fashion industry.
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