“Tube-Seat Prints” Are Having a Moment—Yes, Really

Outfit inspiration can sometimes come from the unlikeliest of places: a curtain fabric at your grandma’s house, a particular shade of green in the local park, a frilly collar on a faded family photograph. But the prints on the seats of the London Underground? That’s a bit of a curveball, even for me. Okay, hear me out. I’ve always loved the geometric prints that covered the Tube, whether it’s the metro tiles lining the walls of Vauxhall station or the colourful moquette checkerboard that covers train seats. Once you start noticing them, you really start to appreciate their retro charm.

But it’s the Tube-seat prints, in particular, that are inspiring me right now and that I’ve seen cropping up in various fashion collections this season. From Gucci and La Double J to Paco Rabanne, no single print is alike, but they’re all united by their graphic simplicity, repeated motif and, in most cases, vibrant colour scheme. I’ve particularly fallen for Alessandro Michele’s (aka the king of retro prints) optical prints in his latest collection for Gucci, which has been overlaid onto dresses, tops and dresses. The high street has also gotten in on the action, with various ’60s- and ’70s-inspired prints making appearances at brands such as Mango, Zara and Warehouse.

So what’s the trick of pulling off this print? Personally, I love the drama of going head to toe in print, particularly when it combines different shades and shapes. Take your cues from Who What Wear U.S. Editor in Chief Kat Collings, who layered up a muted brown tweed blazer with a vibrant red-and-black checked base layer. The effect is rather fabulous. Of course, doubling up might not appeal to everyone, and you can create a similar effect by adding a graphic printed blouse to a pair of straight-leg jeans. Simplest of all? Just look out for similar prints on accessories, such as scarves and bags. A great way to dip your toe in the trend.

So if you want to add a little retro London Underground–inspired appeal to your spring capsule, scroll down to see and shop our Tube-seat-print edit.

Up Next: Spring/Summer 2022 Trends: The Only 17 Looks You Need to Know About

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