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Will the Flare Die?

Flared pants have hugged the hips of humans for nearly one-hundred years, but will they be Gen-Z ' pants of choice in 2024 and beyond?

Since 2021, bell bottom or flared jeans have risen from the ashes of fashion’s past onto

the legs of the infamously nostalgic Gen-Z. While many associate the beloved silhouette with the care-free hippies and flower children of the 1960s, its true origin is strictly utilitarian. Stemming from the U.S Navy, sailors of the 1900s were the first to utilize the bell-bottom. In case of emergency, the slack created by the flare would double as a makeshift handle to rescue an overboard crewmate. The prototypical trousers were also easy to remove when wet after a long-day of seafaring. After existing in obscurity for decades, the flared trend emerged as an iconic highlight of the late 1960s counterculture style. Later in the 1970s, the Levi’s bell-bottom became king in mainstream fashion and pop-culture, boasting hair and flare in TV shows like Charlie's Angels (1976) and worn by the likes of Sonny and Cher. Fast forward to the mid 1990s and early 2000s, the flare is back and rebranded as the popular “bootcut”. Classic films like Dazed and Confused (1993), Charlie's Angels (2000, the remake), and Almost Famous (2000) sparked a genre of revived 70s’ fashion that lingered until the flare’s demise in the late 2000s. Now, once again at its height of fashion the flare’s flickering lifespan is determined by the longevity of a TikTok video.

Since the 2020 lockdown, TikTok or “Fashiontok” has dictated a multitude of micro

trends for the all-consuming younger generation. As Gen Z’s “Y2K Era” comes to a close, Indie Sleaze, Tumblr, and hipster attire storm the TikTok style realm. Indie Sleaze (2006-2012), the grungy precursor to the millennial hipster is attributed as a key player to the resurgence of the controversial skinny pant. In recent months, It’s common for one’s “For You Page” to be bombarded with skinny jean discourse, outfit inspiration, and theories on its imminent comeback. Trending top models of the late noughties like Vlada Roslyakova and Natasha Poly have increased appeal for skinny jeans in a “2010s slavic supermodel way”. Amidst the resurgence of Indie Sleaze and early 2010s fashion, 2024 is gearing up to be an intriguing year for personal style, but what does this mean for the flare? Due to the speedy nature of the trend cycle, the flare may step back from center stage. As demand for a slimmer silhouette rises, the flare will experience a physical shrinkage in width. During 2024, the noted silhouette may seem untouchable and flare production will skyrocket. Simultaneously, substitutes to replace the supremacy will emerge via slim-bootcut, straight-leg, and skinny.

Consequently, making the flare common and ultimately undesirable to many fashion lovers. Essentially, haute-couture and high fashion spaces are playing catch-up to TikTok and social media fads which are setting the pace for trend cycles. In a way, we’re experiencing a fashion twilight zone, where the fashions are undeterred by the style dictate of decades past. The 2020s mark the end of a signature generational look. At present we’re in an era of style fluidity, where bygone trends can be made new again at a whim. As far as the future of the flare is concerned, it’s like a zombie, you cannot kill that which is already dead.

Written by Nathan Zierlein

Photography: Kyla Goodman

CD: Jake Pranian

PM/Video: Mark Bluemle

PA: Cam Lyken

Stylist: Sophia Querrazzi

Talent: @jianacasazza @m00nsh1n3___ @amykapel @niaaabiaaaa @its._cecil @skye.riv on instagram

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