May 19, 2024
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The Esoteric Symbolism on Fashion: Unveiling its Ascendancy in the Mainstream

In recent years, there has been a noticeable rise in the incorporation of esoteric symbolism in the world of fashion and pop culture. This trend, once confined to alternative subcultures and niche communities, has now permeated the mainstream fashion industry. Tarot is now a common hobby, and we definitely don’t get weird looks anymore if you ask someone what their Astrological big 3 are. Just look at all the films and television series that have come out in recent years? Stranger Things, Yellow Jackets, The OA, American Horror Story, Midsommar, The Witch, and many many more. So, of course, these themes have trickled down into fashion as well. Let us explore deeper into why esoterica has taken over fashion and become a prominent force in the mainstream.

All photographs are sourced from the featured brands.

The Shift in Cultural Paradigms

Saturn in Pisces seems to have brought on another 70s like resurgence of interest in esotericism and spirituality. However, we cannot deny the influence digital technology has had in transforming our cultural paradigms. Social media platforms and the rise of internet accessibility have democratized access to information. Thus, it made esoteric knowledge more widely available to the masses. Additionally, the fast-paced nature of digital culture has created a desire for deeper meaning and connection in people’s lives. We are the most connected we have ever been. But I am sure most of you agree, that we often feel disconnected and longing for something more profound.

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The monotony of scrolling and consuming has led everyone to seek alternative sources of meaning and fulfilment. In a world that seems to thrive on flash and superficiality, esoteric symbolism offers a sense of depth, mystery, and a connection to something greater. It provides a sort of magic and enchantment that is appealing. It is no longer strange to spend weekends going on sound journeys, having crystals surround your living spaces, and wearing clothing adorned with sacred geometry or occult symbols. Esoteric symbolism in fashion acts as a counterpoint to the fast-paced, technology-driven world we live in. It provides a sense of grounding, spirituality, and personal expression in an increasingly materialistic and disconnected society. Let’s explore some of the brands that have fully embraced esoteric symbolism in their designs and have become leaders in this movement.

Clio Peppiatt

Clio Peppiatt is one such brand that has fully embraced esoteric symbolism in fashion. Her collections feature intricate embroidery and prints inspired by tarot cards, mystical creatures, and cosmic symbolism. These garments are fantasies come to life. They allow individuals to express their inner worlds and connect with the mystical and magical aspects of life. In an interview I read she mentioned that The Love Witch film played a significant role in shaping her design aesthetic. Indeed, it beautifully blended elements of witchcraft, retro glamour, and esoteric symbolism. She uses everything from Tarot cards to astrology symbols as inspiration for her designs, creating a sense of enchantment and otherworldliness in her clothing. Many celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian have been spotted wearing Clio Peppiatt’s designs, cementing the brand’s influence in popular culture and mainstream fashion.

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Gucci

Gucci is another fashion brand that has embraced esoteric symbolism in its designs in a big way. I have done an in-depth article on Gucci’s use of esoteric symbolism. And it is fascinating to see how they have incorporated these elements into their collections if you want to take look. When Gucci’s creative director was still Alessandro Michele, it had been at the forefront of the esoteric symbolism trend, infusing his designs with occult motifs such as the evil eye, snakes, and mystical animals. The designs are definitely less occult like now with Sabato De Sarno taking over as creative director. But the brand still incorporates elements of esoteric symbolism in its accessories and clothing. The Gucci snake will always be a prominent fixture in their collections, representing rebirth, transformation, and wisdom.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen is known for their dark and enchanting designs that often incorporate esoteric symbolism. The skull scarves were an iconic part of pop culture in the early 2000s and the influence this had on the cultural zeitgeist will never be forgotten. Alexander McQueen continues to explore themes of mysticism, the occult, and esoteric symbolism in their collections. Paganism and the occult have followed this brand since their inception, with Alexander McQueen himself and his fascination with dark and macabre themes.

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Iris van Herpen

Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer who has gained recognition for her innovative and futuristic designs. There is something quite alien, yet ethereal to her designs. These pieces definitely transport viewers into a world of fantasy and mysticism. Her designs are otherwordly and transformative, she has a different approach to exploring feminity and the human body, often blurring the lines between fashion, art, and technology. I like the way she plays with themes that are both dark and mysterious, while also maintaining a sense of beauty and elegance.

Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli is a fashion brand that has always embraced esoteric symbolism in its designs. Elsa Schiaparelli was an influential designer who was known for her avant-garde and surrealist designs. In fact, prolific painter Salvadore Dali was a big fan of her work. They even collaborated on a collection together. This is where the famous lobster came to use in her designs. The lobster which appears on the Moon Tarot card represents a symbol of subconscious desires and the depths of the human psyche. She was way before her time and really pushed the envelope when it came to her garments. This fashion house has recently experienced a revival and the themes of esoteric symbolism are still prevalent in their collections.

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Dior

Dior, a renowned fashion brand, has also embraced esoteric symbolism in their designs. Most notably the SS17 show featured tarot card motifs and occult-inspired imagery. This reflects a broader trend of integrating mystical and otherworldly elements in high fashion. Dior’s use of tarot motifs and occult-inspired imagery aligns with a fascination for the mysterious and the unknown. And it has been gaining popularity in various cultural domains, including fashion. This collection showcased a series of gowns, each one embellished with symbols and figures from the tarot deck, intertwining fashion with elements of divination and mysticism.

The Role of Social Media and Celebrity Influence

Social media and celebrities play a significant role in the rise of esoteric symbolism and spirituality in mainstream culture, including fashion. Social media platforms allow for the swift dissemination of images and ideas, which can rapidly influence and shift public interest and aesthetics. Esoteric and spiritual content is more easily accessible than ever before. Celebrities, given their visibility and influence, can amplify this effect. When public figures and influencers adopt esoteric symbols or discuss spiritual practices, they can trigger trends and make certain aesthetics more desirable. The endorsement of spiritual or esoteric themes by celebrities often leads to increased public engagement with those ideas. For instance, when celebrities wear fashion that features esoteric symbolism or they share their spiritual or mystical experiences, it often becomes a part of the conversation on social media, blogs, and in the entertainment media.

Their platforms provide them with the means to introduce their diverse audiences to the aesthetics and philosophies of esotericism. Megan Fox is a great example of this phenomenon. She is a self-proclaimed witch and is interested in various esoteric practices such as astrology and crystal healing. As a highly followed celebrity, her affinity for esoteric symbols and practices has sparked interest and curiosity among her fans. It led to a wider acceptance and integration of esoteric symbolism in mainstream fashion. This has become a part of her personal brand.

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The Rise of Esoteric Symbolism in Fashion: Why is Esoterica Taking Over Fashion and the Mainstream

The rise of esoteric symbolism in fashion can be attributed to several factors. This revival of esoteric symbolism resonates with a contemporary audience that finds allure in the arcane and seeks more than just material value in fashion — it seeks narrative, mystique, and personal resonance. With the resurgence of interest in spirituality, astrology, and new age practices, fashion brands like Dior and Gucci embrace these symbols to tap into the growing trend and cater to a market that yearns for garments imbued with deeper significance and storytelling potential. Esoteric elements in the collections offer a connection to the past, to myth, and to a universe beyond the tangible. It fulfills a desire for transcendence and a deeper connection in a rapidly changing world.