In July this year, illustrator Tuesday Bassen claimed that a fast fashion giant had ‘picked up’ her signature designs to incorporate into their pins and patches. While the internet broke with this proof of a trend that has been steadily journeying into the limelight, pins and patches have a tale that goes back in time.
In the beginning, patches were associated with poverty—authors like Charles Dickens exemplified them as badges for the poor in literature. Before the 1960’s, patches were mere means to expand the life cycle of a poor man’s clothes. At the same time, a group of people took it upon themselves to promote peace and the “live and let live” philosophy. With the rise of Hippie subculture, the need to wear free clothing, often glorifying love, peace and nature emerged.
The true forbearer of the pin and patch trend in fashion was the anti-fashion punk subculture. Its participants introduced body piercing, spikes and unconventionality in their dressing styles as a means of expression and asserting themselves as new-age rebels. One of their fetishes was pinned slogans and bands on their torn clothes, an attempt towards loud and clear self-expression.
In recent times, the concept of patches has been incorporated by leading designers from Raf Simons’s avid use of patch detailing to embroidered patches of snakes, bees and all things wild in Gucci’s 2016 pre-fall showcase.
Over the years, patches have been used by people for a variety of visual expressions, ranging from freedom, patriotism, interests, or in some cases, just a sense of cool. Tough Times Press, Revere Company, Crooked Feet, and Pin and Out are among the popular Instagram accounts catering to a daily dose of pins. Whether it’s bomber jackets, bags, T-shirts or your daily pair of jeans, mundane outfits become a sight for sore eyes with pins and patches, quietly saying things out loud. Make sure to grab your portion before there is none left!