Today’s top fashion trends influenced by those in the past


Senior fashion merchandising major Katie Overla sporting an athleisure outfit. Courtesy of Katie Overla.

Zach Zdanowicz, Reporter

When walking into your favorite clothing store and browsing through its new collections, you may not realize there is not anything truly new, but a reimagined line that depicts the needs of society at a given time.

Fashion trends are dependent on what people need in the times they are living in. 

“Trend is not always about new; it is about reinventing,” an associate lecturer in the School of Fashion, Marji (*Flashline says: Marjorie*) Wachowiak, said.

Athleisure is one of the most prominent trends today. It is common to see people wearing black cropped leggings and a loose fitted shirt topped with a denim jacket.

“Layering is important because it allows your outfit to be versatile as you will be wearing it to multiple events and activities,” senior fashion merchandising student Katie Overla said. “Overcoats and jackets are a great way to dress up athleisure. It pulls together basics.”

“Multitask activewear” is the top activewear trend for 2020, according to Women’s Health. This concept provides an outfit that can be worn (comfortably) throughout the entire day, from going to classes and running errands to working out.

“Comfort has been one of the most important characteristics that a customer looks for,” Wachowiak said. The idea of comfort is one concept within fashion that always has a demand.

Overla, who is also a student representative for PINK, a sister store to Victoria’s Secret, said more comfortable clothes are a big selling point for PINK as well.

“Our biggest selling point was creating something that our consumer could comfortably wear throughout the day,” she said.

Consumers, especially college age students, look for clothes that are both comfortable and attractive. They look for something that they can wear all day and look appropriate for any event they may attend.

Overla said there has also been a resurgence in fashion trends from the 1980s. High-rise jeans, cropped graphic tees and a scrunchy to match are a part of many college-aged consumers’ closets, including Overla’s.

“Everything I wear now my mom says she wore the same exact thing when she was my age,” Overla said.

Overla and her mother’s sense of fashion is not unique to them, but a sentiment to the repetition of fashion trends.

Shorts are another summer trend that has been reinvented over time.

One of the most prominent trends Wachowiak noticed throughout her career was the transition to make shorts appropriate in the workplace.

“I was able to explode a business by adding career shorts to the assortment,” Wachowiak said.

Shorts can be seen today as a summer benchmark item for most clothing brands. People have the ability to purchase them for any situation including athletic shorts, comfort shorts, denim shorts and khaki shorts.

The development of lycra, a synthetic fiber similar to spandex, is another trend that Wachowiak experienced in her fashion career, bringing spandex and other textiles into the industry.

The 1960s were heavily influenced by synthetic yarns. This introduced fabrics like polyester, spandex and lycra, which are all still used today, according to Everyday Health.

This is one of the most influential trends, Overla said. When looking at athleisure, the development of spandex influenced many of the garments people use on a daily basis, such as leggings and tops. Complete this with a jacket and throw on a pair of Vans and an outfit reflecting today’s athleisure trend has been styled.

“Fashion before was nothing more than durable clothes to wear,” Overla said. “Today, clothes fit to adapt to people’s lifestyles.”

 Contact Zach Zdanowicz at [email protected].


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.