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Are pirates the next big fashion trend?

Are pirates the next big fashion trend?


If the revival of a centuries-old aesthetic and hyper-accessorization are anything to go by, a resurgence of pirate fashion is imminent.

At Coachella 2024, Filipino internet personality Bretman Rock donned a loose white blouse, underbust corset, paired with shiny sea-themed accessories. “It makes Jack Sparrow's gay son look good,” Rock wrote on Inslabelalluding to the main character of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.

Around Metro Manila and beyond, various vintage markets open every weekend to sell various forms of swag: second-hand clothing and accessories, ephemera, and even vintage appliances. You might think of them as similar to the trading docks of old, where merchants also offered services like tattoos and piercings. As this heatwave continues, so does a growing interest in personalization and acquisition of various trinkets to adorn the body and clothing. A question then arises on the horizon: Will pirates soon be the next big fashion trend?

There is a fictionalized version of a pirate that is brought up whenever we think of pirate fashion. Its strong presence in popular culture can be attributed to stories such as Treasure Island, Peter Pan and the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, where these adventure-loving buccaneers are often dressed in steampunk outfits: long leather frock coats. velvet, large hats, parrots on shoulders and an assortment of weapons including swords, cutlasses, pistols and daggers which are not only functional but also key visual elements which add to the image of boasting.

Photographed by Artu Nepomuceno for the May 2024 issue of Vogue Philippines. Styling and production by Meg Manzano.

Aesthetically, pirate fashion consists of intricate, vintage-inspired clothing and accessories, which include pirate outfit elements such as tricorns, corsets, vests, and lots of layered clothing.

These elements are evident whenever pirates occasionally take center stage in fashion, as they do in Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in 1981. collection. John Galliano plays the pirate captain during his appearance in the Dior Spring-Summer 2005 collection, with an oversized jacket and a pirate hat. In 2008, jean paul Gaultier adorns his muses with layers of lace, leather, feathers and tulle, ending the show with a group of pirate brides. From these examples, pirate fashion through the eyes of these designers and fashion houses plays directly on the romance of the pirate life.

However, since these media depictions are rarely historically accurate, one can only imagine what the pirates actually wore based on their material circumstances. Many pirates were unemployed former sailors who, finding themselves jobless and poor, took up piracy.

In an essay titled “Who Needs Pirate Heroes?” “, CR Pennell writes: “The behavior of the pirates is so dramatic in its content, seemingly romantic in its action, so photogenic in its possibilities that the temptation to focus on that and ignore the “one-two-three” for the “yo-ho-ho” is very attractive. With this in mind, pirates would have dressed more practically to facilitate their lifestyle on the high seas, but that doesn't mean the flair and flamboyance of it all wore off.

Photographed by Artu Nepomuceno for the May 2024 issue of Vogue Philippines. Styling and production by Meg Manzano.

Photographed by Artu Nepomuceno for the May 2024 issue of Vogue Philippines. Styling and production by Meg Manzano.

Famous pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy were often recognizable by their clothing, and pirate captains stood out from ordinary sailors. An example of this was the pirate Bartholomew Roberts or “Black Bart”, a Welsh pirate known for wearing bright red silks into battle and ensuring his crew were also well dressed thanks to the clothing they acquired during raids, as uniforms. Jack Rackham, known as “Calico Jack”, was so called because of his use of clothing made from calico, an assortment of black, white and brown designs. Pirates also used clothing for other purposes: pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read are said to have disguised themselves as men to conceal their female identities in ruthlessly masculine work.

Pirate attire often appears as a collection of jumbled items, embodying a spirit of rebellion against the societal norms and conventions that set them apart from life on land. Notably, pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy were known for breaking up the Elizabethan lair. Statuses, laws in Elizabethan England that prohibited people from wearing certain colors and fabrics. Pirate clothing also varied greatly depending on wealth and stolen goods, often resulting in ill-fitting and mismatched clothing for ordinary sailors, who wore form-fitting clothing for added safety during arduous tasks.

The use of sturdy, weather-resistant fabrics like leather, wool and heavy cotton, suitable for harsh conditions at sea. Multiple layers of clothing provide both practicality for changing weather conditions whilst providing a rich, texture. In recent times, the rise of DIY culture and the desire for unique, personalized fashion pieces has led to a resurgence of styles that can be personalized and individualized. Pirate fashion, with its layers, accessories and eclectic mix of items, lends itself well to this feeling.

Photographed by Artu Nepomuceno for the May 2024 issue of Vogue Philippines. Styling and production by Meg Manzano.

Although pirates are not directly referenced, the incorporation of feelings of freedom, fantasy and self-expression is very evident in modern fashion. In Vogue Philippines' In the May 2024 issue, photographer Artu Nepomuceno and stylist Meg Manzano put together an assortment of pieces that capture a more understated but still romantic essence of piracy. “On the day of filming, everything seemed to fall into place,” Nepomuceno said.

Thinking about the question, “Are pirates the next big fashion trend?”» The answer might just be hiding in plain sight. As we analyze its roots in fashion of the past and examine the new age's affinities for ingenuity and relentless exploration of personal style, the hypothesis is that pirate fashion is less a trend than an attitude toward life: fashion that lends itself to adventure, exploration and imagination.

Vogue Philippines: May 2024 issue


Photographs by ARTU NEPOMUCENO. Styling and production by MEG MANZANO. Hair: Mr. Beloved. Model: Siobhan Moylan. Assistant photographers: Choi Narcissus, Ignatius Gador, Rojan Maguyon. Hairdressing and stylist assistant: Rojan Maguyon.




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