Vintage Inspiration, Modern Twist

In the words of our designer, Lilia, XCVI is a mix of coastal-cool style and European-inspired streetwear. A blend of continents and influences come together to create the styles that make up XCVI, Wearables, and CORE. The 90s live on strong in our styles and elements like cargo pockets, ruching, and adjustable detailing are at the heart of our brand. Odes to our past ring clear in contemporary pieces, both in look and feel.

The roots of tactical-inspired fashion can be traced back to the adoption of military uniforms by civilians for practical and fashion purposes. Army surplus stores, which sell excess military gear, became popular sources for unique clothing items, such as cargo pants, field jackets, and combat boots. Tactical-inspired fashion gained prominence in countercultural movements, such as the punk, grunge, and hip-hop scenes. These subcultures often incorporated military-inspired garments as a way to express rebellion, individuality, and anti-establishment sentiments, subverting military ideals on their head.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, streetwear brands began incorporating tactical elements into their designs. Camouflage patterns, utility pockets, and military-style cuts became popular features in streetwear collections, blending urban style with utilitarian aesthetics. High-end fashion designers also started incorporating tactical elements into their collections, elevating the trend to mainstream fashion. Designers have incorporated military-inspired silhouettes, fabrics, and details into their work, further blurring the lines between streetwear and high fashion. Tactical-inspired fashion is appreciated for its functional features, such as numerous pockets, durable fabrics, and utilitarian designs. These elements resonate with those seeking versatile clothing that can withstand outdoor activities, travel, or urban lifestyles.

Let’s explore five XCVI Summer items that call back to our vintage, tactical-inspired roots.

1. The Raphael Blazer
Raphael subverts the traditional structured, simple professional workplace blazer with the addition of details that bring texture and unique elements to the piece. Raw hems keep things edgy, and antique brass hardware continues the “tough” element. Tabbed three-quarter sleeves and front cargo pockets also bring the utilitarian influence to the forefront. Raphael can both formalize and casualize an outfit, depending on whether you lean further into the tactical or professional aspect of this piece. Wear Raphael with jeans for a simple, grunge-inspired look, or opt for trousers and head into your workplace with a jacket-top that can be layered over a tank or tee or worn on its own and looks plenty professional.

2. Bellamy Skirt
Bellamy exemplifies the cargo excellence of the 90s. Cargo midi skirts were—and are—all the rage, and we welcome the resurgence of this trend with open arms because we never gave up on it! Bellamy features exaggerated cargo pockets with snap tape, along with a raw hem and edges that add to the grunge element of this look. In three distressed colorways of army green Kombu Pigment, blue-gray Black Pearl, and brown-gray Foothills Pigment, Bellamy hits the calves at just the right spot, flattering everybody and pairing well with a simple top and jacket, some boots or sandals, and a cute bag. Play up the vintage elements by adding in more texture like a worn-in denim jacket or linen top.

3. Austen Shirt Dress
Austen’s classic, relaxed silhouette emphasizes comfort and ease of movement. The slightly loose, A-line shape harkens back to a popular mid-century style and the button-down front feels reminiscent of vintage design, adding a touch of retro charm and versatility in styling. The waist is slightly cinched by ribbed contrast, while details like a raw hem and pockets bring in the more down-home, tactical elements without sacrificing the piece’s overall femininity. The mini yet modest cut shows some skin for the season, while cap sleeves maintain coverage and comfort.

4. Caywood Tank
Caywood takes a page from the Victorian-era playbook with a high ruffled neckline that feels reminiscent of a poet’s blouse. A placket v-neck with a string-tie at the neck and a contrasting stretchy back modernize this piece, while a roomy fit balances out the sensuous feel of the garment. Caywood’s raw hem brings in a touch of 90s grunge, while the pristine, feminine collar harkens even farther back. Wear her with a long skirt and jeans for a flattering look that honors its predecessors and feels like an unexpected way to sport a unique tank top. In White or Navy, Caywood is ready to bring a modern spin to some vintage inspiration.

5. Birk Gaucho
Birk feels like the army and streetwear influence of the 90s come to life. A wide, flowing leg hits at about mid-calf to ankle, while hardware details and halter snap hooks at the cargo pockets amp things up. A drawstring ribbed waistband modernizes the look, making the pants even more comfortable and easy to wear. Vintage tactical influence comes a long way with these trousers, magnifying the best of the style and incorporating elements that make the piece even simpler to sport.

Vintage and retro fashion influences can be seen in pieces that celebrate the fusion of past and present styles. XCVI embraces a blend of California, west-coast style and detailed, European-inspired streetwear. Tactical fashion’s permeation into casual wear on a global scale has beautifully merged urban style with utilitarian aesthetics, and the results can be seen in the items we highlighted today, all of which showcase vintage and tactical-inspired elements that bring a touch of beloved nostalgia and functionality to contemporary fashion.