The History Of 80s Fabrics

The history of 80s fabrics

The fabrics of the 80s impacted a lot of fashion trends of today. Due to its intriguing history, the 80s introduced patterns and designs described as colorful and vibrant.

During this decade, most fashion trends were discovered from an array of sources. Since there was no internet during this time, most people during the 80s found a new wardrobe through magazines, TV shows, movies, and companies with eye-catching ads.

Besides entertainment, celebrities played a massive part in fashion trends as well. 80s Celebrities such as Madonna, Boy George, Michael Jackson, etc., influenced specific fashion trends.

Believe it or not, 80s clothes were not only worn by young people but also baby boomers. The history behind 80s fashion has a long history that influenced the fashion we wear today. We will investigate this further during this article.

80s fabric

80s Fabric History

The 80s had an upstanding sense of fashion that influenced a lot of companies and clothes today. The history of these decades’ clothing will be broken up into five questions that will be answered thoroughly.

These questions include the fabric names, what the clothes were made out of, who made the clothes during this time, the fashion brands who used them, and if 80s clothes are still being sold and worn in 2021. The 80s fashion all began with the names.

What Were The Fabric Names?

Most clothes made during the 80s were produced using the following materials:

*  Velour

*  Spandex

*  Lycra

* Cotton

* Silk

These materials were used for different types of clothes like t-shirts, tracksuits, and pants such as harem and leggings. Most clothes made during this decade are described as being bold, glitzy, or bright. Clothes also expressed the wearer since they were imprinted with patterns, slogans, or other accessories like jewelry.

These different fabrics were used for retro clothes, which will be discussed in the next section.

What Were 80s Clothes Made Out Of?

As mentioned in the last section, most clothes were made from five materials: velour, spandex, lycra, cotton, and silk. To explore this further, this is a breakdown of what each piece of clothing was made out of:


T-shirts in the 80s were made out of cotton, and T-shirts mostly were imprinted with a companies logo or design that had vibrant colors. T-shirts were good to wear when accompanied by the two most popular pants during the 80s: jeans and leggings.


Besides t-shirts, jeans or leggings were also a popular fashion accessory during the 80s. Much like t-shirts, jeans and leggings were made with cotton as well. Leggings became notorious from the movie Grease while jeans became popular by having different varieties.

One of these popular varieties was distressed jeans, a type of jeans that were worn by grunge or rock bands like Nirvana and were a trend for men.


There were many different footwear during the 80s. The footwear is worn in the 80s range from jelly shoes, Reebok, Vans and Converse, Doc Martens, Huaraches, and Sperrys. Reebok, Vans, and Converse shoes started the craze for sneakers made from an assortment of materials like textiles or synthetics.

Another trend with sneakers was fat laces. These were laces that were thick and gave a more lattice look to shoes. Men mostly had these types of laces.

Sneakers were mostly worn by athletes, women, skateboarders, and hip-hop artists.

 Doc Martens

 Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 Smooth Black Combat Boot

were made out of leather and were worn by teens. Rather than being sneakers, Doc Martens were military boots.

Jelly shoes were also worn by youngsters as well. Unlike the other footwear, jelly shoes were made out of a gummy material that gives it the iconic jelly look.


80s earrings

Other than the clothes, jewelry accessories were also huge during this decade. Most jewelry during this decade was sparkling, especially with the rise of neon colors. Jewelry from the 80s includes earrings, necklaces, bangles, and bracelets.

The jewelry was made with gold or silver, which serves as the base. From there, the jewelry would then be covered with beads or gemstones. It could also be made with different chains or pendants to create layers.

Plastic was also a popular material for earrings. Earrings made from plastic usually come in geometric or cross shapes.

Other Clothes:

There are a lot of other clothes that the 80s had, but here are a few other trends from this decade.


Women primarily wore legwarmers. Legwarmers were perfect for clothes used in sports or for pants such as leggings or jeans. Legwarmers were made of two materials: cotton or synthetic fibers.

Animal Prints

Animal prints became a trend in the 80s and are still being worn today. Not only was animal print designs used for clothing, but it was also used for purses and sunglasses. The most well-liked animal textile was the leopard print; however, they were other animal prints like zebra, snake, and giraffe.

Animal print clothing is made with cotton.

Tie-Dye Shirts80s tie-dyed-logo-superman

The last popular item of clothing during the 80s was the rise of tie-dye shirts. Shirts made with 100% cotton and had no designs were submerged in an array of colors was big for 80s clothing. Because of the rise of tie-dye shirts, kits were also being sold that help create the tie-dye design.

These were several of the articles of clothing that were worn during the 80s. Behind these clothes were also the rise of some big brands and companies that are still kicking today.

Who Made These Fabrics/Which Fashion Brand Used Them?

Behind every piece of clothing, there is a company or brand that created these unique clothes. Most companies have stood the test of time and are still making clothes today.

Each of these companies made different types of fashion which will be introduced throughout this section. The retro wardrobe starts with t-shirts, pants, and underwear.

Clothing (T-Shirts, Pants, And Underwear)

Some companies that made shirts, pants, and underwear are still rolling today. One of the most well-known companies is Calvin Klein. Introduced by one of the greatest movies of the 80s titled Back To The Future, Calvin Klein started their brand by introducing underwear. A type of underwear they created was tighty whities.

Other than Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Jordache were rising during this decade. Levi’s created jeans while Jordache made an array of clothing which range from t-shirts, jeans, and other clothing.


Shoes were a big hit during the 80s, and they accompanied the style of t-shirts, pants, and other clothes. Since exercising and sports were in high demand, sneaker companies such as Adidas and Nike became trending during this decade. They produced a lot of shoes that were used for different sports like basketball, soccer, or outdoor activities in general.

 There were also other companies that didn’t focus on sneakers. Bloomingdales was a major company that created the jelly sandals that kids and women wore. Doc Martens also manufactured footwear, but rather than sneakers or sandals, they were popular for making boots for people.


Other accessories like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and bangle companies became popular during this time. Some jewelry companies that originated in the 80s include Barry-Kieselstein-Cord, Elizabeth Locke, and Marina B. Starting in the 70s, Barry-Kieselstein-Cord became a well-known company that collaborated with other brands like Calvin Klein.

 Marina B created fashionable jewelry for vibrant and exuberant jewelry that makes the wearer stand out from the crowd. Marina B sold her company to different brands throughout the years.

Jewelry in the 80s was also inspired by ancient civilizations such as Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. Companies like Elizabeth Locke focused on antique jewelry that was made from a variety of stones and designs.

These materials include stones, Venetian glass, Mirco-mosaics, Essex crystals, etc. Other companies during the 80s focused on making jewelry that had geometric shapes and colors that were mostly worn by celebrities.

Are 80s Fashion Still Being Worn In 2021?

Despite how old the fashion is, some clothes that were worn in the 80s are still being worn today. Companies such as Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein, Vans, Levi’s, among other brands, are still going strong.

Animal print designs are still being worn today, especially leopard print clothing. People still tie-dye shirts, and kits for these types of shirts are still on the market.

Jeans and leggings are also being worn today with companies like Levi’s. Jeans are worn by both men and women, while leggings are worn mostly by women.

Sneakers sold by Adidas and Nike are still in production for individuals or athletes. Adidas or Nike shoes are great for exercising or playing sports.

Other clothes are also being worn in 2021 that were worn in the 80s, such as oversized fur coats, polka dot dresses, bike shorts, etc.


The 80s decade had a vast array of retro fashion. Magazines, TV shows introduced fashion items and movies since these were the most popular forms of entertainment during this decade. Without the 80s fashion, we wouldn’t have the glowing clothes like t-shirts, jeans, leggings, sneakers, etc., which are essential today.  


I am a blogger that was born in the 1980's. So I decided to write about the 1980's because I feel that was one of the best decades ever.

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