The Seventies Recycle Revival
by Jake Roslin
image courtesy of Finn Eamon and Jake Roslin
It’s hard not to love the seventies. Aside from the perennial joys of Abba and Queen, the decade is revered for ending post-war drab and bringing a colour explosion to fashion, most strikingly men’s. And, probably jumping on the Bohemian Rhapsody bandwagon but nonetheless welcome, Aberdeen’s high streets are currently awash with a decade revival - at least in colour palettes and fabric patterns.
Tight stripy T shirts in oranges, browns and retro sports typography can be found at both branches of TK Maxx, as can white and rainbow sweatshirts and tab-collar shirts with swirly circles in a turquoise so bright it might be visible from space. Meanwhile Primark has women’s dungarees, rose or navy men’s corduroy jackets and a surprisingly large range of seventies-influenced bedding: swirly and flowery patterns in limes and browns you can just imagine Morrissey growing up with.
Sadly, the industry has stopped short of seventies tailoring: no double-breasted jackets in any colour so long as it’s brown, no twenty-two-inch bell-bottoms, no Chelsea boots. For those you need the original piece- this is where our own expert comes in.
“I would describe my style as period vintage,” says Finn Eamon, undergraduate, musician and one of the friendliest chaps on campus. He started off perusing charity shops: “The bright, psychedelic patterns and heavy materials are unique for every piece and far cheaper than any modern clothes.” Finn’s also running the retro floor of McKay’s, on Queen Street, behind Marischal College, which is an Aladdin’s cave of original, unworn stock.
“In the basement I have hundreds of pairs of flared jeans and jackets, which I am selling on eBay and soon outside the shopfront in an old red phone box,” he told us. “Fashion has taken a more minimalist and disposable slant in the past 20 years. Wearing my clothes keeps me happy and confident, and I wish everyone could experience that feeling themselves without following consumerist brands that don't respect their manufacturers or environment. The best way is to shop vintage, sell vintage, and live vintage!”
Another honourable mention must go to Atom Retro - an online store recreating sixties through eighties styles, with some amazing Mod-influenced outfits for all genders. There are also regular vintage fairs locally, often at the Arts Centre on King Street. But, if you’re on a tight budget, what could be more fun than a Saturday afternoon rummaging in McKay’s, perhaps taking in a few charity shops too? The best ones are on Skene Street.
I still hope we haven’t somehow “thought of everything” fashion-wise. As author Simon Reynolds puts it in his seminal 2011 Retromania, “Are we nostalgic precisely because our culture has stopped moving forward and so we inevitably look back to more momentous and dynamic times?” But at least in Aberdeen right now we can make campus less grey - and indeed greener. Back to Finn: “I believe we can help reduce the amount of waste and inspire people to feel happier by promoting traditional values like passing on and repairing old garments, or making your own from scratch.” As to the secret of his amazing Afro, we’ll leave that for another issue!