Plaid, Grunge and 'No Seattle'

This Autumn we've seen many of our favourite brands look backwards at Plaid Shirts as part of their Fall'14 collections. Penfield, Patagonia, Vans, Dickies and Levi's® have all released shirts in heavyweight Flannel and Cotton with those distinctive interweaving vertical and horizontal lines. Ask anyone over a certain age and they are 'Lumberjack Shirts', but over the last thirty years 'the Plaid Shirt' has been so synonymous with a location and a genre that the two are almost in separable. Plaid Shirts are Grunge. The underground music scene of the North-west of America arose from the early 1980s, strung out in isolated towns across the vast state of Washington. Before it had a name, it was a fragmented punk and post punk scene. Yet by 1991, Nirvana, the biggest band in the world had been born from this community of outsiders and shed light on Seattle and accidentally thrown themselves and grunge into the mainstream. The Soul Jazz label have this month released a (timely) double compilation of "Forgotten Sounds of the North-West Grunge Era 1986-97". This compilation features some of the many divergent bands who emerged out of the North-west during this period. Intensely researched and documented this album features many bands who have now disappeared from history after releasing maybe just a couple of singles, or an album, or even never making it onto vinyl – alongside some bands that continue to this day. We stuck a copy of the record on put together a focus on Plaid. The red, green and blue colour pallets come hand in hand with the classic Plaid Shirt, however this season we've seen Levi's® delve into orange and yellow hues that modernise the classic look. Vans have similarly updated their version of the shirt using monochromatic shades to create a more dramatic plaid. The Patagonia and Penfield shirts feel super deluxe as they are cut out of a thicker flannel, weighing 16oz a piece. The lighter weight Vans and Levi's® designs are perfect this time of year for layering up with pullovers and jackets.