• Thu. May 30th, 2024

Trend Report: Bows

ByAnna Claire Shuman

Oct 12, 2023
rolls of multicoloured ribbon at a fabric store

This past year, ribbon has taken over women’s fashion. Ribbons and bows have been a staple of women’s fashion for hundreds of years, but in the era of the #girlboss, they largely faded from mainstream fashion in favour of a sleeker, more professional look. But the business casual 2010s are over, and ribbons aren’t just for children under ten anymore. 

American designer Sandy Liang has been hugely influential for the past couple of years now, and her eponymous label is known for its use of delicate bows and ribbon. This house code has been seen alongside satin rosettes on tops, bags, puffer jackets, sweatpants, socks, and even on models’ faces and hair during runway shows. Her work has stolen the hearts of everyone from fashion editors to TikTok moodboard makers to the casual Pinterest enthusiast. But Liang’s work is not just viral. It’s commercially viable as well. Her collaborations with cool-girl brands like Baggu and Salomon sold out in minutes. Inspired by Liang’s commercial successes, fast fashion retailers have been quick to recreate some of her most successful designs. 

Sandy Liang Shoes” by Luiysia is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Liang’s designs are beautiful, and they are also being released into the perfect cultural climate. This summer was called the summer of ridiculous vibe-based trends (looking at you Tomato Girl Summer), but a couple of the trends with the most staying power brought ribbons to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Ballet-core, which has been controversial amongst actual ballerinas but exceedingly popular with the less graceful masses, saw girls everywhere clambering for those miu miu ballet flats. You know the ones. Those of us without hundreds of pounds to spend on shoes had to settle for satin bows tied around braids and buns. The coquette trend might be on its way out, but this summer brought us Blokette. A combination of bloke-core (think fitted football jerseys, jorts, performance sunglasses, and lots and lots of Adidas) and coquette, Blokette summer meant spending the better part of an hour trying to re-lace your Sambas with a plaid ribbon. 

After the passing of Jane Birkin earlier this summer, bows found another use as a handbag customiser. Photos of the late model’s namesake bag covered in keychains and stickers were inescapable for weeks, and many found ribbons to be a cost-effective and removable take on Birkin’s signature style. The accessibility of ribbon, and its relative ease to add to any outfit certainly is a factor to its popularity as well. One stitch or some superglue can easily attach a small satin bow to almost anything, and it-girls this summer added them to everything. The reach of TikTok and Pinterest has created a lot of same-ness in everyday fashion, and fed-up fashion lovers are constantly looking for something totally unique. 

In a post-girlboss world, women and girls on the internet are obsessing over hyper feminine aesthetics. In a world where gender expression becomes more nuanced, fashion that blurs menswear and womenswear has become increasingly successful. The sartorially inclined have taken designs from ready-to-wear collections and popularised a new way of personalisation that taps into a feminine resurgence, as well as an uptick in customisation that borders on DIY. 

Image provided by author