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The Owl Trend …


Like every year the fashion industry brings in new fads, some surviving shorter time spans and some transforming into raging trends… this year seems to be dedicated to the ‘OWL’. Be it for the love of their beady eyes or for the fear of their intensive stare, people have suddenly gone crazy over these birds of prey. From clothes to accessories and making their way through home fashion as well, the owl is literally flying and resting everywhere and anywhere possible…


Animals in literal or abstract forms have been a regular feature in fashion as prints, motifs and in jewellery pieces. With the vintage look making its comeback in Spring 2011, lot of vintage items have been observed in yet smaller quantities like flowers, elephants and large rings, but no other animal has been as big as this vintage owl trend ever in the past. A probable reason could be based on the fact that some trends pick up rapidly when strategically placed with a launch of a new product or a release of a famous movie. Even though owls were present in the industry in bits and pieces, the release of the movie ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ in late 2010, corresponded with a huge surge in popularity for these feathered individuals, backed with the powerful presence of the famous Harry Potter pet owl ‘Hedwig’.


A similar trend emerged back in 2010, when a fleet of brands like Forever 21, Zara, Promod, Accessorize and Benetton featured a lot of butterflies in their collections in the same season. Falling into the same pattern ‘butterflies’ then suddenly became very popular which was largely observed as a shift towards femininity as some denote the butterfly with the expression of femaleness. Just like the butterflies, a lot of cats were seen in 2009 and with some brands still featuring birds and butterflies as print motifs; these trends have now become sparse with the owl becoming a new favourite.


As animals are often symbolic of a certain emotion, personality trait or attached to certain myths, masses love to posses these creatures in fashionable forms as they have their own unique story to tell. For years, on one hand owls have been seen as bad luck messengers inspiring the dark night, black magic and even the coming of death, and on the other hand some cultures consider it as sacred and a symbol of protection, mysticism, wisdom and secrets. Having so much to express, modern people are embracing owls because they are simply interesting and smart creatures.


Many brands like Vero Moda, Accessorize, Forever 21, H&M and Mango have featured a lot of owls in their spring garments as well as accessories. What is interesting is that every player in the industry has interpreted the owl in their own unique way and since it is such a cute and intelligent creature, the trend is quirky and varied in terms of material and styling with absolutely no overlaps in looks from one retailer to another. Amongst all its applications, owl jewellery is the biggest rage, from small little rings and earrings to large bulky necklaces, with a different significance for each item. Owl necklaces are the most popular as they imply a lot of qualities like intuition, mystery, prosperity, intelligence and wisdom. They can be worn with T-shirts and dresses, thus are suited for both casual and formal looks. Owl earrings, just like the necklaces, offer both classy and casual looks, but on a more subtle note. Owl rings are known for their aura of mystique and intuition, which emphasizes most the wisdom and vision aspects of the owl. They add a sense of mystery to one’s look, especially the ones with big, coloured eyes. Owl belts are a perfect twist to this trend, with a large and chunky buckle on a plain strap, that makes it versatile enough to work equally well with jeans or a dress. Apart from all these feminine jewellery, Owl cuff-links help a man to appear friendly and welcoming. Along with all these accessories, a lot of owl-shaped statement bags and shoes with owl-shaped embellishments or fasteners are also being seen. One of the biggest successes of this trend is observed by Chopard’s diamond encrusted owl watch, with two dials denoted as the eyes, gaining tremendous popularity.


On garments, owls can be seen in all-over repetitive prints, on lowers and nightwear, as individual prints on T-shirts, as embroidered logos and even as fabric patchwork. With Indian brands as upfront as international ones Kazo T-shirts carried folded-fabric patchwork in many forms, with owl being one of the cutest and best selling items at the brand. Other brands have variations of owls on T-shirts, like big-eyed owls, samurai owls, pirate owls, and owls with slogans, flying owls, very dark evil-like owls, digitally printed real-looking owls and other endless options. Many brands are using the owl to adorn knitwear, like socks, hats and gloves, with the owl motif incorporated in the knit pattern. Not only a part of the women’s wear wardrobe, the trend is as popular for kids wear with creative animated versions available of the same.

An equal amount of popularity of the wisdom creature is observed in home décor, where the motif can be prominently seen on home linen, lamps and cushions as all-over or as placement prints or embroideries. Some owl-shaped home accessories, like clocks and mirrors, in very bright colours are also famous for kids. Another popular trend is owl-art, on walls, body, furniture and desktop wallpapers. Owls have been growing in popularity as an option for tattoos because they symbolize wisdom and mysticism and so people have put varied versions of owls behind their ears, on their ribs, forearms or arms. They also represent a ‘guardian angel’ when put on walls.



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  3. Shraddha Gupta / Dec 23 2011 12:03 pm

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  4. aparna / Dec 23 2011 6:29 pm

    The Owl trend is one of those that makes the importance symbolism and the need of uniqueness a common thread in the fashion industry more prominent even in the layman’s eyes. Owls like butterflies and cats before this (as mentioned in the article too) have caught up the fancy of the streets as well in the past year. However the trend has caught up more in Mumbai than in other parts of india. Probably reflects how much more aware the city is towards trends

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