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Image / Fashion

Have we already reached peak leopard print?


By Edaein OConnell
29th Aug 2018
Have we already reached peak leopard print?

Leopard print is a fearsome classic. What was once the uniform of Pat Butcher and Shania Twain has become a staple in the wardrobe of many. My first leopard print coat was a source of confidence, and a stamp of individuality as I trekked through my insecurity filled teenage years. I wore that coat to death. So much so, I wore it all the night long as I frequented the local nightclub. I was easy to spot so my friends could never lose me. I was the leopard print adorned maniac, hand jiving to Levels by Avicii.

But I wouldn’t stand out so much now. Leopard print has quickly become THE  trend of this coming A/W 18 season, and September hasn’t even begun.

Leopard print has always had a certain sex appeal. The swinging sixties established it as the cool girl trend du jour. But it stuck, and over the years women have used it in their wardrobe arsenal, whether it be a dress, shirt, skirt, jacket, bag or shoes. It was used similarly to a red lip; a smart way to introduce a little spice to an outfit. The print has always been there but appearing only in snippets.

I have never witnessed a trend explode as fast as leopard print this season. For every plain knit, there are two leopard print pieces. I dipped into Zara last week and was drowned in a sea of leopard print. Penneys and Dorothy Perkins followed suit and Topshop, not one to be outdone, even has different colour variations. Before, when I came across a leopard print vision, I had to pounce and throw my pennies at the shop assistants. But now, I don’t feel that same violent enthusiasm. I have coveted one dress in the print and that is all. Now, my hardened heart doesn’t skip a beat.

This always happens with trends. It’s like when your favourite song is overplayed on the radio. One more play and you’ll break your wing mirror. One more leopard print skirt and I will pull the rail bracket off the wall in Zara.

Classic trends are loved because they are rare. In the beginning, the Balenciaga Triple S Trainers sold out almost everywhere. Impossible to find, when I caught a glimpse of them I would dribble onto the screen with lust. Then all retailers began to reinterpret the design and chunky trainers were on every shop floor and every e-tailer webpage. And I just didn’t dribble any more.

The fashion industry excels in oversaturation. And in this era of ‘see now, buy now’ the retail industry gets one sniff of a trend and pounces on it for financial gain. It’s a grand idea of the more we push out, the more we make. However, in terms of longevity, how well will this fair?

The more connected we become as consumers, the faster we can detach. Marketing and retail channels have evolved and the levels at which we consume are faster and faster. Nowadays, you can’t just pull a trend, place in a magazine and hope for the best. You must use online and offline, old and new media and push to social too. We see too much as customers. This overexposure results in agitation and boredom and the cries are ‘show us something new’.

The buzz surrounding the print will fade, and it will once again become a rare enigma in stores. Then the trend forecasts will predict a resurgence, and the cycle will continue. Personally, I think I might hang up the leopard print coat and avoid the nightclubs for a little while.

Until then, there is zebra print.