The 80’s were full of fashion statements, most we’d like to forget, many we can’t forget no matter how hard we try, some we hide photos of ourselves exhibiting lest we die of shame and some we don’t actually mind. So many trends were created in the 80’s that have spun round the fashion cycle, either being discarded yet again (shoulder accentuation – pads, studs, chains), over hyped (hoop earrings), over used (leggings but alas without the long jumpers/dresses we used to wear them with) or modernised and well received by even the hardest of critics this time round (colour blocking).
In a fit of nostalgia I thought of a cartoon that I believe encompassed much of what fashion was about in the 80’s and was probably the most fashion conscious cartoon I’ve ever seen (that doesn’t mean the fashion was good… ahem). Enter Jem and The Holograms:
Now for those of you that don’t remember, never had the pleasure or were too young to see it – Jem and The Holograms was a strange, some would say eclectic mix of music, celebrity, violence, mayhem, helping others/charity, love tangles and fashion, with some extreme characters (sounds a bit like an opera eh?) It followed the progress of the main characters/music band and their lives constantly being sabotaged by their rivals. A fair amount of disbelief had to be suspended to watch this show, but in line with other cartoons from the 80’s (a lot of superhero and other worldly thoroughfare) it wasn’t that hard. However that said, fashion wise, perhaps we were too easy going, and suspended disbelief became picking clothing at random with no discernment at all? How much was fashion/faux pas fed to us through this and how much was just representing trends – was it a mix of both? Any which way, someone was on something. Actually, that’s probably why I watched it, it was hypnotic for little kids.
Now I’m not a fashion fanatic, I don’t dictate what others should and shouldn’t wear and I rarely criticise people’s clothing choices but when you see the pics below you’ll see why I’m writing this blog. No character was exempt from the fashion pendulum, there were plenty of times when Jem/Holograms (good side) looked just as questionable as the bad guys, and times where they looked like they could throw anything on, in any order and look cool. Even the fans and background characters in this show were given individual attention, there were hardly any mediocre outfits and unlike when you walk down a street in real life, in Jem world, no one wore the same clothing, at least not in the same scene. The illustrators certainly had a ton of ideas as the characters changed outfits many times per cartoon or even per scene, and it made a change from characters who always wore the same outfits. But before you get the wrong impression, Jem and The Holograms wasn’t superficial, the storyline was formulaic but not tedious, the music was actually pretty good though there could be too much of it and akin to other cartoons at the time there were sometimes PSA’s (public service announcements) which I actually liked, yes I’m sad I know.
Anyway here is a taster, and I mean only a taster, of what was on display:
THE GOOD (Somewhat):
THE CRAZY AND DOWNRIGHT AWFUL:
I hope you enjoyed this overview of Jem and The Hologram’s amazing techi-colour LSD dreamy wardrobe, perhaps went through changing emotions ranging through laughter to embarrassment, and more importantly learned some valuable lessons.
PSA: It doesn’t matter what other people think of what you wear, it’s how you feel (as long as you’re not wildly out of place and inappropriate i.e. Gaga and Minaj) and what you’re comfortable with. No one should make others feel bad for what they wear or force others into dress codes (other than uniforms when necessary) but if lightning happens to strike you down for flouting laws of nature and good sense in fashion, don’t say you weren’t warned.