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FKA twigs Ahoy Agenda pirate fashion
FKA twigs@matthew_josephs

All hands on deck! The Ahoy Agenda is coming to take over fashion

Consider our timbers shivered: pirate style is so hot right now

Over the course of this, the Hot Girl Summer of 2019, there has been one overarching, all-consuming trend that’s blown the others out of the water – and, unless you’ve been living under a particularly large and unfathomably heavy rock for the last eight months, it’s likely you’re already fully aware of what we’re referring to. You got it! It’s the rootin’ tootin’ fever for all things Western, directly inspired by the rise of The Yee-Haw Agenda

Finding its roots on Twitter in late 2018, when the term was coined and the whole movement kicked off by fashion commentator Bri Malandro, what started as a study of the cultural history of the black cowboy has gone on to infiltrate every medium and mode of expression across the lexicon of popular culture. In the last few months alone, we’ve seen cowboys – and girls – on countless runways and stages, while music videos and magazine covers have been heavy with references to the Wild, Wild West (perhaps you’ve seen the latest issue of Dazed?).

From Solange yee-hawing her way through her summer festival sets in a ten-gallon and Tabis, to Lil Nas X’s record-breaking reign at the top of the charts with certified country-trap anthem “Old Town Road”, the cowboy has captured our collective imagination in a way no one saw coming. And, given you still can't move for fluffy pink stetsons and faux-fur, brown-cow-stunning-print flares across Instagram and Depop’s discover pages alike, the allure of living wild and free – or at least as wild and free as you can get within the borders of zone three – currently shows no signs of dminishing.

But wait – there’s something on the horizon! Could it be… a new, blossoming trend (metaphorically) speeding towards us across the great expanse of the frontier? Spoiler: yes it is. Also rising straight out of your childhood dressing up box, it seems that now cowboys have had their moment in the spotlight it could soon be the turn of another fancy dress fave – shiver our timbers etc, pirates are so hot right now!

Picking up pace on IG is a mini (mini!) trend we christened The Ahoy Agenda in the Dazed Beauty comment section a few weeks back. With billowing cotton blouses, velvet brocade waistcoats, tunics, and, of course the uber pirate-y pirate hat featuring heavily, we first noticed the stirrings of something around the time FKA twigs kicked off her 2019 Magdalene tour.

Channelling some serious Pirates of Penzance... but make it fashion vibes, the singer went from wide-eyed cabin boy on his first swashbuckling adventure in a 1990 Vivienne Westwood “Portrait” corset and striped cotton Gaultier trousers, to serving all-out lavish Captain Hook (if slightly subversive) realness alongside a series of similarly suited dancers on stages around the world.

Our suspicions that the high seas are providing twigs and her stylist, Matthew Josephs, with a wealth of #inspo were further confirmed earlier this month when they both posted a photo of her wearing a tricorn hat, a navy and red fringed scarf, and a thick sash around her waist, in which she looked every inch the 18th Century buccaneer. 

Also at the grassroots of this soon-to-be-bonafide-movement (mark our words) is Tommy Cash collaborator and PC Music fave Caroline Polachek, whose latest video for solo track “Ocean of Tears” sees her sailing through stormy seas as waves crash over her ship. As styled by Polachek herself, the visual was inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier’s SS08 collection, which itself was pretty damn pirate-y. 

It’s not just in music that pirates are having a moment, though. Their influence is slowly creeping onto the runway, too. For SS20, Ann Demuelemeester creative director Sebastian Meunier gazed intently into the dark depths of artist Thierry De Cordie’s dramatic seascapes, sending a troupe of romantically dishevelled sailors in fishing net-like vests, button-down dress coats, and jaunty sailor hats down the Paris catwalk as a result.

Elsewhere, RCA graduate Tíscar Espadas finished a conceptual collection of wide-leg, high-waisted sailor pants and semi-see-through blouses with wire Admiral-sequel headpieces and large rings strung with what appeared to be bones. 

But why now? After approx. 475 years of traipsing around in trackies and trainers following the stratospheric rise of streetwear, who can blame us for wanting to inject our wardrobes with a little fantasy – whether that fantasy comes from the Wild West or the High Seas.

Couple this with the fact that, if we don’t get our acts together in an unfathomably short space of time and sort out the climate crisis once and for all, we’re going to be living in an IRL version of Waterworld, and suddenly dressing like a pirate seems like a perfectly rational thing to do. With the SS20 womenswear shows a mere two weeks away, we’d put money – doubloons, obvs!– on a host of other designers thinking the same way. 

All hands on deck, basically: The Ahoy Agenda is ready to set sail.