That's so last year: the top trends and fashion moments of 2018 2
Were men harking back to the days of the original Magnum P.I.? Photograph by IMDb

That's so last year: the top trends and fashion moments of 2018

Ralph Lauren turned 50, Jappy launched Off-White in Manila, and everyone wore a Hawaiian shirt
Barry Viloria | Jan 01 2019

If its true that what people wear on their backs on a certain year reflects the zeitgeist, then it surely was a fun and crazy 2018. What with all the myriad prints that made it even to menswear—from the Hawaiian shirts to the print spectacle of Gucci and Versace. There was a brave and carefree quality to the way we dressed, a fearlessness if you will. Is it our way of saying we can't do much about the state of the world and the people who run it, so we'll just kick back, wear flowers on our shirts and order a margarita. Even Ralph Lauren had reason to party.

Here are the style moments and trends of the year that just passed. 

Everyone wore the luau shirt.

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Photograph from @guppyshorts on Instagram

Fashion bibles Vogue and GQ early on proclaimed the return of the Hawaiian shirts with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Paul Smith among other luxe brands showcasing the tropical prints in their Spring 2018 collections. Suddenly, it was okay to look ridiculously colorful again, harking back to Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. or Elvis in a foliage-print shirt with a ukulele, or the late 1930s when Chinese-Hawaiian Yale graduate Ellery Chun came up with these postcard-perfect Aloha shirts the first time. Perhaps what made these shirts just as appealing to Filipinos are our cultural and topographical similarities to Hawaii—not exactly because we all looked up to Lito Atienza fashion-wise.

Basically, just too many vertical striped polos in sight

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Photograph from @pasadya_manila on Instagram

Speaking of comfy polos, this cousin has fast piqued the interest of fashion bandwagoners most likely for the fit and graphic quality. It made its appearance in a lot of fast fashion, local, and Instagram brands, inadvertently copying the likes of preppy wear institutions Ralph Lauren, Penguin, and Fred Perry. You saw it on the street twice a day and on your Instagram Explore page maybe five times a day if you scrolled down more than usual.

Ralph Lauren celebrated 50 years with a bang

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Photograph from @ralphlauren on Instagram

The American brand that brought forth the neckwear line “Polo,” which would then snowball into shirts, suits, workwear, and fragrances among others, turned 50 in 2018. The golden feat was celebrated with a salute from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and a star-studded party that invited the likes of Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hiddleston, and more Hollywood and design A-listers. Ralph’s revitalized sense of preppy seen on the stage that night interestingly showed 90s staples—denim, checks, leather, “fireman jackets—being mixed in.

(East) Asian fashion as seen in TV soaps ruled

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Photograph from @meteorgraden.official on Instagram

If only we had cool weather just like our Asian neighbors up north, we would also find ourselves mastering the art of layering. The Meteor Garden redux by the Chinese finally hit national TV recently, featuring at least four porcelain-skinned youths in forward-looking, well-put together outfits that not only combatted the chilly season but also drew the ladies’ eyes. Print on print, paisley underneath pastel coats, white sneakers and suits, pinned overcoats, sweaters… we could go on and on.

Singapore as a style hotspot

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Photograph from @henrygolding on Instagram

Speaking of Asia at the crest of 2018 menswear, Singapore has reemerged as a high fashion hotspot lately—and we’re not just talking about Ermenegildo Zegna, which once again hosted VIPs and celebs at the Zegna Suite, Fullerton Hotel to coincide with the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix. The recent global hit movie Crazy Rich Asians quickly thrust the city as a mecca of the rich and the fabulous in 2018, with lead actor Henry Golding making waves in the style department on and off set. In real life, the Malaysian actor—whom GQ predicted will be Asia’s next style icon—has been spotted rocking Prada and Tom Ford for his red carpet-ready suits. He has opted for Paul Smith and Tommy Hilfiger for his casuals.

Jericho’s pink jacket at the biggest local celebrity ball divides onlookers

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Photograph from @mrdavidmilan on Instagram

In a sea of men in blue, red, and green tuxedos, matinee idol and #mancrush Jericho Rosales sauntered into the first ever ABS-CBN Ball in a rebellious shade of, well, blush to effortlessly bag the Metro’s Best Dressed plum that same night. The winning formula? A wide-lapelled carnation pink suit over a white shirt and a velvet bow tie, a devil-may-care ensemble curated by stylist David Milan to complement Echo’s natural tan, coiffed curls, and overall badass persona.

The hypebeast hype continues…

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Photographed by @everywhereweshoot for

While purists persist on its tackiness, the hypebeast-ly sense of style seems here to stay in the country. We’re not even mentioning youth menswear influencers like David Guison or LA Aguinaldo seen more frequently in their logomaniac fanny packs. In the cult retail universe, Off-White launched in Manila last August and Commonwealth opened its largest flagship store at Power Plant, Rockwell in the last month of 2018.

Cartoon characters said hi.

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Photograph from @galerieslafayetteberlin on Instagram

Raf Simons wasn’t the first one this year to breathe pop cultural references into his work via his Calvin Kleins sweaters, featuring Looney Tunes’ Wile E Coyote and Road Runner. It was definitely Disney’s year as the 90-year-old super franchise collaborated with some brands for some soon-to-be-iconic pieces. Joining Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, and Coach for Disney-printed women products were Lacoste and Levi’s releasing unisex ones.

Freddie Mercury is resurrected.

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Following the commercial success of Bryan Singer’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, making its way to the big screens 27 years since the band’s lead singer died, Mercury was reintroduced to the millennial culture through his influential music and style. The British rock icon, who passed away at 45, became known for his gritty and flamboyant fashion statements on stage. Save for the leather and tights, it was the colored and textured coats of 70s Freddie that we particularly found worthy of emulating in the last part of the year.