The Return of Psychedelia

‘Picture yourself on a train in a station, with plasticine porters with looking-glass ties’, and imagine what you could have been wearing 50 years ago when Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had just been released. Your wardrobe would certainly be much more colourful than today’s.
At the album party John Lennon was wearing a yellow Afghan coat with a green printed shirt, George a burgundy velvet tailored jacket and purple ruffled silk shirt, Paul a tailored grey pinstripe jacket and lilac knit and Ringo a huge Paisley kipper tie very likely to be by Mr Fish just off Savile Row. The overall picture sums up the whole era when psychedelic colours exploded on the scene and men really enjoyed the liberating effects that freedom of colour gives you. And the cover art by Peter Blake has become a seminal work in it’s own right.

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You will be pleased to learn that after years of muted shades, colour is making it big again, and we are not holding back. This season we have woven fabulous orange and blue coatings with the famously flecked coloured Donegal wools and designed out of this world checks using Merino wools in shades of coral, turquoise, reds and yellows.

There is a whole new world of psychedelia back in fashion but perhaps not in the way you may be thinking. Man.

Scientists are now conducting controlled experiments with illegal psychoactive drugs, and whilst finding people willing to get out of their tree is not too hard, it has proven difficult at ethically levels to research scientifically.

However, now that even the Financial Times has been writing about the use of psychedelics to boost creativity in Silicon Valley There are interesting times ahead.

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One of the seminal books on ‘tripping’ was written by Aldous Huxley at the age of 60. With an open mind and a tape recorder he writes beautiful about his adventures for the day in May 1953 under the influence of mescaline, a principal agent of the psychoactive cactus peyote, a drug that has been used in a religious way by generations of Native Americans to gain a  sense of oneness and become closer to nature. The Doors of Perception became an incredibly influential book especially in the world of music providing a more catchy name for the band The Doors previously know as the Psychedelic Rangers as well as being a source of inspiration for Pink Floyd’s first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Interestingly, Aldous Huxley mentions H.G Wells’ short story The Door in the Wall about a boy finding a magical garden, whilst he viewed the world through his vibrant drug haze.

Ken Kesey, author of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, and his Merry Pranksters have been well documented with their mission to bring enlightenment across America freely giving out tabs of LSD and at a similar time in the sixties with his medical background Timothy Leary was advocating the benefits of LSD and Magic Mushrooms’ active ingredient psilocybin, famously conducting experiments on maximum security prisoners to see if they became less antisocial after hallucinating.

The ‘Turn on, Tune in and Drop out’ culture also had a tremendous influence on fashions with a whole generation of style influencers translating their colourful visions and feelings of ego dissolution into garments and kaleidoscopic textiles. Coincidentally advances in the chemical synthesis of polyfunctional reactive dyes occurred at just the right time to allow the hallucinations of designers to become a wearable reality. Snowy white fleeces could become ‘tangerine trees and marmalade skies’ with ease.

 

Fast forward a generation, and with great advances in the study of brains and indeed artificial intelligence there is huge interest in psychedelics. Scientists are now able to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to see how the brain forms numerous new connections whilst tripping on micro doses of psilocybin with the evidence suggesting that the brain’s creation of a sense of self could be as much a homespun hallucination as other states of mind.

Whatever the research the reality is that many people are now taking small doses of hallucinogens during the working day rather than the sledge hammer amounts consumed in the 1960’s and finding numerous benefits to their creative output, and whilst we are just observers of this new social phenomenon there does seem to be a dovetailing with the renewed desire for colour in menswear.

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The time has come to perceive all aspects of life in greater depth, the internet can socially connect you and provide a depth of knowledge unimaginable a few years ago and here at Dashing we can broaden the colour palette and quality of your wardrobe whilst ‘everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high’ or merely cycle to work.

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