Patchy Readymades at Larks: (l-r) Jacket £72; Skirt £38; Jacket £72; Pinafore Dress £38
There’s a certain irony in the recent order of fashion trends. Following a return of late to artfully ‘worn’ tears and holes in denim (more daring than ever – the bigger the better), patches are once again a choice embellishment. But here patches aren’t playing their traditional functional role in mending all those gaping peepholes – instead they’re infectiously spreading out all over like a decorative rash…
A selection of patches as currently available at Larks (from £1.00 – £12.50)
Taking direct inspiration from 70’s teen fashions, the current retro resurgence of patches are equally as fun and ‘pop’ as they were 40 years ago, yet now with a somewhat contemporary slant, being sloganed with post-modern buzzwords and pop culture memes such as ‘kiss off”, ‘bae’, ‘daddy’s girl’ and ‘girl gang’…
Like button and pin badges – another recent retro trend – customisation with the embroidered iron-on patch is a quick fix to inject a little bit of personality and flair. In their 70’s counterculture form, they were often a novelty accessory – playful, witty, cheeky and sometimes risqué; just a little bit rebellious.
Evolving through the years, they prevailed and peaked in the 80’s mainly via the ‘Battle Jacket’ – the cut-off leather or denim jacket adorned with patches, paint or stencilled graphics – becoming a beloved wardrobe icon of the biker, heavy metal, rock and punk subcultures. These were decorated to extreme with patches featuring band logos and album covers, instantly recognisable as a tribal emblem and a kind of ‘trophy’ garment. The battle jacket origins are said to trace back to the World War II when US Air Force pilots decorated their flight jackets with iconic images from American pop culture.
As a final tribute to the patch, one has to give credit to perhaps one of the most iconic of patches in visual culture – the ‘Lucifer’ patch, as immortalised in the short film ‘Lucifer Rising’ from 1972, made by the legendary underground experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger. The image of character Lucifer donning a satin bomber jacket emblazoned with ‘Lucifer’ in a spectrum rainbow has gained such cult status that the iconic customised jacket has been offically issued in recent years as an authentic limited edition…. yours for $666. Of course, alternatively you could always get your patch fix for a mere snip of that here at Larks… yours from £1.