Into the Fold With Origami Fashion

For the past few seasons our wardrobes have entered a phase of simple shapes and no-nonsense minimalism in the form of sensible tailoring, oversizing and a sombre palette of black, navy and white. However, our love affair with the understated is set to morph. To wrap, fold and pleat.

First seen on the high street in the form of the Zara wrap skort, the origami trend has trickled up to the London spring/summer 2014 collections, as seen in papery folds at J.W Anderson, shimmering pleats at Proenza Schouler and scissor-snipped shapes at Preen.

Best executed in monochromatic cotton, leather and metallic fabrics, designers and the high street alike are channelling precision pattern cutting to construct architectural, scalpel-cut silhouettes. But why has this trend resurfaced?

As Mario Roman, a cultural studies lecturer at London College of Fashion says: ‘I think it has come back as a trend because we have been recycling through the Nineties in fashion, and there is that whole time when the Japanese designers were really important. A lot of people have gone back and started to look at their designs again. Their work used origami and those architectural shapes that origami produces’.

Indeed, our current infatuation with the Nineties recalls the work of Japanese designers such as Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, whose works channel the historic paper craft through to innovative, high fashion pattern cutting.

Even London based designer Jule Waibel has showcased her origami designs in a shop window exhibition for Bershka’s Oxford Circus flagship store in January. Waibel collaborated with the high street store in a project titled Enfaltung (meaning to unfold/exapnd/develop) in which she designed and folded 25 dresses and accessories to display in Bershka’s flagship stores worldwide. The collection also includes a foldable parasol and handbag.

‘Collapsible structures reflect how our world is constantly changing,’ says the designer. ‘This project celebrates the beauty found between geometry, transformation and play.’

Fancy joining the fold?

Topshop and Zara lead the way on this trend. Look out for inverted box pleats and asymmetric wrapping on shorts and skirts to add a refined, tailored twist to your ensemble. Contrast leather-look pleats with an oversized jumper for day, or pair a razor sharp wrap skort with a t-shirt and dress it up or down for day or night. To really nail the trend for spring, look for silky pastel hues and airy pleats in sugary pink and white. Whatever you do, wrap, fold or pleat it this season.

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