As wise men say our history always runs circles, though it’s not always the case if we speak about fashion and how it changes in the course of time. The 40’s… 50’s… 60’s… 70’s… 80’s… All those eras were pretty remarkable visually and they all had their own vision and their own styles, yet for some reason, only the traditions of 40’s – 60’s have made a proper comeback without any intention to vanish any time soon. These retro traditions were quickly caught up by many very different people, including those who had their roots in such subcultures as rockabilly and psychobilly and also quite civil ones who just loved the era and wanted their lives to get styled like this. Today’s retro is virtually a part of the mainstream culture with hundreds of thousands of highly enthusiastic fans, including celebrities who never lose their chance to tease their audience with another super cool 50’s or 60’s look.
And you know what, I believe one of the main reasons for such an explosive popularity of the retro clothing is that it’s always related to something very positive. When they say “50’s” or “60’s”, it’s not the Korean war or Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death what pops up in your mind first – it’s always something like fancy and long retro cars, rock’n’roll and very innocent cute movies. You know, the grass was greener and stuff. We always try to remember the good things in life and possibly forget the bad ones, we’re built this way, but if we speak about the retro era it’s really easy to do! I mean try to re-watch a movie like “Grease” or “Cry Baby” and not to smile at least a hundred times. It’s naive, it’s kind of dumb at times, but even if you were born in 90’s you still can get this totally positive happy vibe streaming from the screen. Even when the characters find themselves in trouble it still looks cute as hell :) So is it so strange that people want to relate and feel like it’s 60’s still around? Wouldn’t say so. Especially since the retro fashion feels itself like home in XXI century!
The brand Collectif was established in 2000 in the very heart of the country that delivers over 50% of the coolest alternative clothing – wanna guess? Damn right, it’s the UK. The brand’s goal was to hit the country with the most diverse and classy retro clothing ever and this plan seemed to be quite ambitious, especially if we take into account how many retro clothing brands were fighting for the market back then. At first, it was an outlet at Camden Market, but in the course of years, it has turned into three full-fledged stores in London and one in Brighton. Worth to mention Collectif’s clothing available as two separate lines: Collectif Vintage (purely classic 40’s/50’s clothes) and Collectif Mainline (rather alternative styles obviously influenced by pin-up and alternative culture). Classic retro fashion and pin-up… Sounds pretty sweet to me :)
Alright, let’s take a closer look at what Collectif has to offer. First of all, it’s important to say Collectif sells the clothes by several other brands, but also has its own lines and of course, the main point of my interest is their own products and designs. As stated the brand offers a wide range of everything vintage, from dresses to skirts and from pants to tops. I guess “classic” is the most appropriate word to describe them. Many other retro brands love trying to add something sinister to their designs, like classic monster illustrations and Halloween or El Dia de Los Muertos imagery, but Collectif doesn’t believe this rebellious stuff is necessary. The brand’s designers tend to work with the classic 50’s cuts, floral textures, and pastel or clean colors, and even if it’s dark somehow it feels all light and peaceful as a Sunday morning. Maybe the Collectif stuff looks not so aggressively striking as the clothing delivered by many of its competitors, but sometimes less is more and fewer details look more elegant than something complex. Personally, I totally get this, especially the sole-colored long dresses and maxi dresses which really look stunning and romantic, especially for the curvy body type. Besides Collectif doesn’t forget about the plus size ladies either and that is surely a big plus for a retro clothing brand.
What’s even more positive – Collectif is very active on the wholesale market and it has allowed the brand to crush all the borders. That means you have a nice chance to find their clothes anywhere, including your local alternative clothing store.