Fashion and Fruit, With a Cherry on Top

October 26, 2022

Photos from @nicolemclaughlin

Nature’s candy has become major eye candy for the clothing industry as the fruit aisle has evolved into fashion’s trendiest muse. The prevalence of fruit print in the current fashion world is undeniable.

The apple of Marie Antoinette’s eye.

In order to keep the doctor away, we let them eat fruit before we let them eat cake. Fruit print on clothing had to begin somewhere, and its core can be traced all the way back to the Marie Antoinette era, better known as the 18th century.

In this century, women were taught to cook, clean, get married, and have kids. Boys were given a more traditional academic education while girls were given education in sectors such as painting, music, and embroidery. Under the tutelage of their mothers and grandmothers, young women would create samplers with embroidered colors, patterns, numbers, and/or letters to prove their abilities. This is where the fruit print trend began — young women looking to the simplest, everyday items as inspiration for their embroidery pieces. Next thing you know, aristocrats began walking around Europe sporting fruit-embroidered waistcoats.

Fashion is cherribly important to society.

Life is not as easy as a bowl of cherries. Narrow worldviews, unhealthy consumption of social media, racism, prejudice, and over-concern with the opinions of others; this is the recipe for the poisonous cherry pie we call our society today. The shambles that our society is in is exactly why the fruit trend remains.

There is a symbiosis between fashion prints and societal climates. It’s simple science: fruit contains vitamin B12, which is known to boost a neurotransmitter in our brains called serotonin that makes humans happy. Whether we are eating it or just visually seeing it on people’s clothes, fruit boosts our spirits.

Strawberry fields forever.

Right before your berry eyes, fruit is a fad in various types of art; it’s not limited to just fashion. It is involved in musical arts (hence the Beatles reference), visual arts, and even social media influencer arts. This trend will change and transform, but because of fruit’s ability to extend across various sectors of art, it is evergreen.

@nicolemclaughlin is a popular Instagram creator with a passion for extremely innovative fashion. Her designs range from gloves made out of a loaf of bread to a vest made from transparent polyvinyl chloride material with toy car-filled pockets to a pair of shorts made from Ziploc bags of lunch sandwiches. The possibilities of McLaughlin’s innovations are endless, and some of her most memorable creations have to do with fruit. Now obviously, her fruit fashion is not the conventional fruit print fashion we see with brands such as Dior, Stella McCartney, and Dolce & Gabbana. Her design proves just how far the fruit trend envelope can be pushed.

McLaughlin designed a bra top constructed of straps and Tropicana orange juice with green tabs, signifying “some pulp.” In her post wearing this design from May 2020, she takes a sip from the orange juice carton — practical, fashionable, and delicious. Scrolling deeper into her Instagram account, it can be found that in December 2019, she created slippers made out of a netted bag of clementines. She cleverly captioned this photo “orange shuice.” She has also created reading glasses in which the lenses are replaced with slices of oranges, and has even made a bra top out of lemon squeezers. It is clear that not only is Nicole McLaughlin a fan of citrus, but she definitely recognizes the prevalence of fruit in fashion.

When the runway gives lemons, squeeze.

Models strutting down the runway in banana-covered, berry-smothered, watermelon-wrapped clothing, is simply the zest. Fruit print can be seen in not only clothes, but in accessories as well. Many brands have remarketed themselves to appeal to younger demographics, especially people in Gen Z. Through fruit-covered accessories, younger audiences are able to feel the boosting effect of the Vitamin B12 mentioned previously.

As the Coach brand reimagines itself and rises back to popularity in today’s day, it clings to what it knows does not go out of style — fruit.

The Swinger 20 purse, with cherry print, was a hit amongst women of all ages. Coach also recently came out with the cherry print Kira Crossbody, which has the same pattern as the Swinger 20, as well as strawberry, raspberry, and cherry-covered card pouches. The Kira was just as much of a hit as the Swinger 20, going to show the significance of fruit in fashion. Known to be a more affordable luxury brand, Coach uses the fruit motif to attract younger customers who may view their products as cutesy and happy.

Gucci, another brand recognized for their recent designs that attempt to remarket their brand, came out with fruit basket print and banana print silk scarves. With a little digging, it can be found that Gucci also released a bunch of fruit print items, including a fruit print silk scarf, in the 1970s. Gucci is an extremely high-end brand that intends to remain an outlet for older women, and these silk scarves are the way to go.

Scarves are a classic, elegant look that date back to 1300 BC where they were worn by Egyptian royalty. The purses mentioned above are more cutesy and childlike for young girls, whereas silk scarves are more mature for older women. Although when both are printed with fruit, they are certainly serotonin-inducing.

Fashion & fruit make a great pear.

So, the next time you are in Whole Foods and come across the fresh fruit section, consider your view outfit inspo, not only because it looks cute, but because of the message it sends. ■

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