It’s everywhere- on denim pants, bomber and silk jackets, luxury wear, and even designer bags. It’s a common sight in fashion show runways too- from Milan to the New York Fashion Week. Everybody’s crazy about embroidered patches.
Photo: Marc Jacobs Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear, Umberto Fratini, Indigital.tv
Photo: Gucci. Milan Fashion Week Spring 2017
This trend isnt fairly new, though. Although it’s origins are not really clear, embroidered patches go way back in the 13th century when soldiers wore them on their military uniforms to manifest unity amongst their troops. Back then, embroidery was done only by hand. During the Renaissance period, embroidery was used for aesthetics and used by aristocrats. It was only during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s when patches and other embroidery works started to be manufactured by machines.
In the 1970s, hippies donned their attires- denim jackets, vests, and back pockets with these embroidered patches that reflected their identity, icon, and ideals. It was the that era saw a lot of peace sign and flower patches that called for solidarity amongst the rebels and revolutionaries.
It was present, still, in the eighties too. These embroidered patches were mostly worn by the punks on their leather jackets and ripped denims, reflecting their idolatry and support for different bands like The Sex Pistols and Ramones.
Fast forward to today, we see a lot embroidered patches dominating both street and high fashion. They seem to be a staple embellishment in every designer’s collection, from Gucci’s Pre-fall 2016 line of modern and vintage-inspired patches on jackets, pants, and bags, to Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2017 collection of kitsch pieces adorned with embroidered patches for every style-savvy girl. These patches and embroidery work are also present in Miu Miu’s Fall 2016 collection of denim jackets and dresses. In today’s fashion, we see a lot of all sorts of patches- Mickey Mouse hands, unicorns, different animals, flowers, rainbows, and even emoji icons brought to life by embroidery.
Photo: Dionysus GG Supreme Shoulder Bag. Gucci.com
Not only are these patches adorned in women’s apparel and accessories, but in men’s wear as well. The high end fashion label Versace came up with its Medusa embroidery t-shirt, while Kenzo has its own embroidered Tiger Flyer Cotton Sweatshirt.
What’s not to love about them? The three-dimensional effect of these embroidered patches are a work of art in itself. Sure, there’s print, but embroidery gives a bit of oomph to every fashion piece. And for these reasons, it is no surprise that from the ancient times, the 70’s revolutionaries and the 80’s punk rock generation up until now- we continue to use patches and embroidery for a lot of things- whether they be political or fashion-related. It is no surprise that the millennials and modern-day women now adore them. It is a revolution in itself, and undoubtedly, it is taking the fashion industry by storm.