Fashion Influence in the 1980's

1980s Escada

It's time to talk about fashion in the 1980s, a loveable decade of unconventional style that was embraced worldwide. My best girl friend's wardrobe draws inspiration from this decade, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Trends were quirky, avant-garde and electric. People weren’t afraid to be loud with their personal style.

My adoration for this era comes from its willingness to be daring and progressive. People felt creative and they embraced the bizarre in their fashion endeavours. This blurred lines between haute couture and street-wear, where both appeared almost blended.

I can describe 80s vogue but it’s likely anyone can instantly rattle off the modes of fashion because its immediately recognisable. You could say neon colours, big hair, shoulder pads and active wear and it’ll paint a very accurate snap shot of the decade. However, I’ll outline the attitudes and influences that defined the EPIC fashion response within the 1980s.

The whole era can be summed up by one word… Excess! A “more is more” mentality where maximalism ruled. People did indeed embrace an abundance of bright colours consisting of gem tones, neon, primaries and pastels, sometimes all at once! Favoured patterns were geometric or abstract and pattern bashing was frequent. Costume jewellery was piled on and accessories were statement pieces in themselves.

Excess equated to success, and success was measured by excess. The more you had the wealthier you’d appear. Success was associated with fame, money, and glamour and in some cases through eccentricity or being the picture of health.

All demographics loved fashion in excess. On one side of the economic scale you had the “Yuppies” (Young Urban Professionals), business moguls and celebrities. On the other side you had the lower income community whose affiliates expressed their worth through fashion of the punk, blitz, brat or hip-hop sub-cultures. Both sides displayed their style and attractions towards excess.

So, here are some ideas that generated excessive style.


Two influential people in western power were Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both capitalists.

Margaret Thatcher proved women could now contend in politics and business as major players.

Ronald Reagan implemented “Reaganomics”, an idealistic economic trickle-down effect. This aided the wealthy resulting in more opportunity and capital, in turn creating a divide of wealth.

For both ends of the divide it created a desire