Vinyl in fashion
PVC, the full name for polyvinyl chloride, is a synthetic plastic that has burned its way into our consciousness in recent months. While other synthetic textiles such as Lucite and Acrylite have found a home in the field of accessories, PVC is much more clothing-oriented and pervades everything from high-end fashion to leisure wear and everyday wear. Vinyl clothes have popped up everywhere, which means that the trend won’t change anytime soon. I would be lying if I said that they are easy to buy and wear, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.
Retailers interchangeably use the terms PVC, vinyl and PU for clothing made of glossy plastic-coated fabrics. The fabric usually consists of a backing that is woven on the surface with polyester fibers prior to coating with shiny plastics. This plastic layer itself is a mixture of PVC and polyurethane (PU), whereby 100% PVC results in a stiff fabric with a glossy gloss and 100% PU elastic fabrics with a silky gloss.
Compounds containing chlorine, such as dichlorine grooves, can be used to produce nylon. The fabric, which consisted of interwoven Carothers synthetic threads, was the first synthetic fabric in the world. It only really came into fashion when affordable nylon stockings for women were introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Nylon remains one of the most popular fabrics for menswear and sportswear.
High-gloss vinyl proved to be a big hit on the street last year, and the likes of Alexa Chung quickly turned to PVC trenches as coats this season. Look out for the trend that will remain when the designer opts for vinyl skirts and dresses that fit both autumn and winter.
As Fashion Unfiltered has noted, plastic fashion first became popular in the mid-2000s. Since then we’ve seen plastic come and go and come back. Synthetic materials are having a mainstream moment. Designers like Andre Courreges experiment with synthetic materials and incorporate them into their collections, and Blake Lively wears them in the form of a bright red coat.
PVC is also produced in various shapes and sizes, which gives an optical appeal to the physical sensations that arise when wearing the material.
Brazilian singer Ivete Sangalo is seen in a black PVC outfit. The 90s pop group Spice Girls used PVC outfits. In the video game Splatoon 2 in 2017, one of the idols named Marina wore a PVC semi-sheer jacket. Newsroom showed a photo of her in a white PVC catsuit with a red and black skirt.
She wore black PVC pants in the 1995 music video for the song “Scream.” Cruelty De Vil (Glenn Close) wore red PVC thigh-high boots in the video before he was eventually smeared with molasses and covered in mud. American adult actress Jill Kelly appeared in one of her films wearing a black PVC top and trousers, and in another she wears a red and white PVC suit with black and white stripes. In the Brazilian edition of Playboy there are two photos of model Maira Rocha wearing black pants by Lucy Sky.
Contrary to popular belief, she has crazy chic. The vinyl look is very surprising, super elegant and sexy. Dressed in a very short black dress, she tucked into a pair of black PVC trousers and a black and white PVC top.
Vogue fashion editor Sarah Harris kept it simple with jeans and loafers. The mini-length can be unforgiving on slender thighs, so she opted for black PVC trousers and a black and white PVC top instead. She has also been seen wearing a high-gloss black vinyl rain coat with all-white loafers. Play with the length of the skirt and the shape of your legs, and wear it with a long black skirt or short black dress.
Swap your usual evening bag for a shiny clutch or have a vinyl coat and trousers draped over you. While you can spice it up with a knockout evening look, it’s safer to don a shiny skirt, coat or trousers for a casual effect. Sarah Harris kept it simple with jeans and loafers, but her trench offers a twist on the classic Burberry version. Start with small patent accessories and upgrade your ankle boots to a patent pair so you can work your way up to more statement pieces. High-waisted jeans, high-heeled sandals and patent boots add a futuristic, fashion-forward touch to even the simplest outfit.