Teen fashions: What’s old is new again?

By Roneisha Jackson
YO:Durham Intern
the Durham VOICE

There’s an old saying – there’s nothing new under the sun.

Adriel Holland wears slim-straight jeans and Levis sneakers to make his teen fashion statement. (Staff photo by Roneisha Jackson)

This holds true when it comes to modern fashion. What many young people are wearing these days may not be all that new.

Cardigan sweaters and skinny jeans seem to be the norm for teens these days.

But many of today’s fashions could be old styles coming back in a new way.

For example, take  Ralph Lauren Polo. This clothing line was founded in 1967 and was originally made for polo games, not for fashion.

Polo is a game that was first played in the ancient world and consists of two teams on horseback trying to score goals by hitting a small ball with long-handled mallets.

But when Ralph Lifshitz, the founder of the clothing line, saw the popularity of his clothes, he realized that the line had potential, and the brand has since grown.

Today, according to Forbes magazine, Ralph Lauren is worth well over $5 billion, and the clothing line has been popular for 44 years.

If you ask around town, different age groups have different opinions about clothing and fashion as a trending topic today.

Deon Stanback, 15, attends the City of Medicine Academy. He said that to him fashion means “expressing how you feel and your personality.”

“Fashion is a way that you can express yourself,” said Stanback.

“Young men and women express their selves by wearing different colors and styles that has been around for years.”

“I wear Levis, Converses, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Jordan,” said Stanback, who agrees that most of his choices aren’t new fashion.

Converse, which is popular with teens these days, has been out since the early 1900s. For some young people, Converse may seem like a new fashion trend.

In the 1920s, this shoe was also worn by basketball players – the New York Renaissance – an all-black professional team.

Likewise, the story behind modern-day Levis jeans is that they first came in the mid-1800s from covered wagon canvas, thanks to founder Levi Strauss.

Ayanna Bennett, 16, also attends City of Medicine Academy. She said that she’s another teen who enjoys the new old fashion styles because “fashion is my life.”

“I like wearing Levi’s, Ralph Lauren Polo, Converse, and Jimmy Choo,” said Bennett.

“Fashion makes me a very creative person,” she said. “Fashion is not just a trend. It shows people my personality.”

Bennett said that she sees herself as a trendsetter because she dresses differently than others and “when people need someone to look up to they can look up to me.”

Many teens’ parents might have a bit to say about their child’s fashion today.

Stanback’s mother, Sabrina Haythe, said she likes the fitted clothes today better than the way clothes fit back “in the day.”

But she doesn’t really care for other fashions, such as some of the jeans that are popular today.

“I don’t really care for the boys wearing skinny jeans,” said Haythe, who also added she likes what many girls wear today, but up to a certain point.

“I like what the girls today wear, but there’s too many colors,” said Haythe. “Sometimes I think they are just over-doing it.”