You might be wondering why and how the fleece has had a renaissance – in the past it has been shunned as an naff piece of clothing that only ramblers wore, but hear us out, it’s becoming a street style fixture. Honest.
In recent years, designers across the globe have been looking back to the Eighties and Nineties for inspiration (you can thank TV shows like Stranger Things for this), with numerous brands that were hugely popular back then having come to the fore of men’s fashion. The likes of Patagonia, Columbia, Berghaus and Northface have all found popularity amongst millennials and there is one thing that they all have in common is they’re advocates of the fleece.
Still though, why the fleece? Why has the jacket that saw middle-aged men and young boys through the Nineties become such a hit again? As tailoring slowly conforms to the more relaxed needs of 21st Century men, menswear has become a whole lot more laid-back. The mighty tracksuit is now a high fashion favourite, while the trainer now sits alongside the loafer as an acceptable form of office footwear. Menswear has become a key component in breaking down rigid boundaries – men want to be comfortable, and what is more comfortable than the fleece jacket? In the Eighties businessmen were one of its biggest fans, mixing suits with the functional piece and this is exactly what is happening now.
If we look to the street the aforementioned normcore brands like Northface and Patagonia now sit alongside streetwear favourites such as Palace and Supreme, each of whom have put out their own styles of the once-overlooked fabric. Last year skate brand Supreme released a reversible jacket with rose-patterned fleece on one side which was an instant hit with teens and sat alongside the brands ‘Supreme’ embellished hooded fleece jacket (also a sold out product). In 2015 Palace teamed up with Adidas for an exclusive collaboration which, you guessed it, saw the combined design teams put out a fleece-heavy collection – a complete fleece tracksuit was a hit with teens everywhere. Apparently millennials can’t get enough of the stuff – remember when your mum tried to put you in that fleece when you were younger and you were having none of it? Think again.
As fleece has become a streetwear staple, catwalk designers have begun to take note (just as they did with the hoodie). Although there were aspects of it on the catwalk as far back as 2009 (Christopher Shannon gave us a fleece-heavy Autumn/Winter 2009 collection), it is only in the past year that the other designers really have started to incorporate it into their collections. For Autumn/winter 2017 the likes of No21 and Our Legacy presented fleece as one of the fabrics used in their collections, while Fendi has become as much a fleece advocate as it is a fur one, offering men fleece-lined coats and fleece sweatshirts. This month London Fashion Week Men’s saw the rise in British traveller-inspired menswear – fleece, outerwear and functional clothing was seen prominently at Cottweiler, with Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell setting their sights on bird watching attire. Building on this great outdoors trend Christopher Raeburn gave us jackets with fleece panelling while Christopher Shannon introduced bright purple fleece jackets. Recently catwalk looks have toned down, with designers stripping back on the ludicrous (relatively) and actually giving men what they want, which is comfortable, functional and easy-to-wear designs (that still look good) and that is exactly what fleece is. Over in Scandinavia where the utilitarian trend arguably began, even Acne Studios has put out its fair share of fleece-based products, including fleece sweatshirts and fleece sweatpants. Even Kim Jones (the man behind Louis Vuitton and that Supreme collab) hooked up with Nike to design a tech fleece.
So fleece (in its various form) has become something that you need to get into and something that we are wholly advocating. Whether you invest in a trusty fleece jacket, a fleece hoodie or go the extra mile and get yourself a pair of fleece trousers, you can be sure to not only be comfortable, but also bang on trend. The Eighties and Nineties staple is back with a vengeance and it’s all thanks to the blending lines between high fashion and streetwear.
Want to pick one up? We’ve got you covered.