Union Jack Designs

Unions Jacks - Everything for the home, with a Union Jack!

The Union Jack has been around in its current design since 1801. But it wasn't really until the "Swinging Sixties" that designers began to use the Union Jack in items other than flags and bunting. The Union Jack really hit the scene in the 1970s, when punks wore Vivienne Westwood inspired Union Jack t-shirts and the Sex Pistols used the Union Jack on their Anarchy in the UK Album cover. These days you can find the union jack design on all sorts of clothing and items for the home, such as union jack cushions, mugs, tea pots and tea towels.

If you like the Union Jack Design...

The Union Jack is a remarkably flexible design, especially in the hands of modern fashion designers. The union jack can be found in all sorts of forms and on all sorts of items, including union jack cushions and union jack duvet covers. You can even find the union jack design in a range of colours and not just red, white and blue. So if you are into the Union Jack design, check out our links below or on the right, to see a great choice of items for the home, all in a Union jack design, of course.

Union Jack Designs

The union jack cushions, bed throw, pillow cases and foot stool are all part of a great selection of Union Jack items for the home, by Bouf.

The Union Jack Flag in Fashion and Design

Before we think about the Union Jack in fashion and design, we need to know a bit of history first.

Ever since James I decreed the first version of the Union Jack in 1606 as the Union Flag of the three kingdoms of Great Britain, the Union Jack has been the symbol of Britain. And, up until the 20th century, only the patriotic wore the flag as an element of clothing. That's why it was such a shock when the 1960s and 1970s cultural rebellion appropriated the colours and design of the flag. The Union Jack became an ironic salute to the British Empire rather than a patriotic one. Remember all the British rock stars wearing Union Jack vests? The salute may have been irreverent, but it was still an affectionate gesture, showing British pride in a cool detached way.

Union Jack Cool

Then, in the last quarter of the 20th century, the Union Jack became a symbol corporate Britain wished to avoid. We've all heard the story of British Airlines being told by consultants to remove the Union Jack design from the tail-fins of their planes. But now, the Union Jack, in the 21st century, has come to represent both cool fashion and nostalgic patriotism, far removed from sneering football hooligans and the conservative right.

The top fashion designers and shops of London have started product lines of all sorts that are inspired by the Union Jack: blazers, training shoes, t-shirts, handbags, scarves, ankle socks, boots, jumpers and across-the-body bags, to name a few. TopShop has racks full of Union Jack clothes. Kate Moss posed in VOGUE draped in a Union Jack, Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher hugged under a Union Jack duvet on a VANITY FAIR cover, and Ginger Spice strutted around in a skimpy Union Jack dress. To drop just a few names, we're talking about Agyness Deyn, Paul Smith, Gucci, and Alexander McQueen.

And taking a look beyond fashion clothing, we see emblazoned Mini Coopers, Union Jack wall hangings for stylish interiors, and the set and costume design for "Britain's Got Talent." Studios offer sofas and other high-end furniture with Union Jack motifs. Vivienne Westwood created a high-style Union Jack rug. Emma Bridgewater sells hand-painted Union Jack teapots and Debenhams has Union Jack china - we will admit, that's not so new, but still, it looks great. Sophie Walker, of Blue Black and Red, created denim Union Jack table mats. And we're not even going to mention Union Jack underwear - well, OK, we just mentioned it.

And it's not just the British who have taken so to this national symbol. Italian designers, such as Kinder Aggugini, wax enthusiastically about the positive connotations of the Union Jack. He also admires the deconstruction possibilities of the flag, due to the simple, yet complex, thirteen-part structure of the Union Jack. Parts of the Union Jack can be used separately in a fashion design, yet still be recognised.

The colours too can be switched and combined. Red-tinted Union Jacks appear on mugs, and seat cushions portray the Union Jack in purple shades and in leopard prints. Team Great Britain has designed a green Union Jack as part of the advance publicity for the 2012 Olympics in London. There are even Union Jack cufflinks in blue, greens and yellows.

Why is the Union Jack still holding its appeal after all these centuries? One reason, of course, is the nostalgia kick that continues to look to the past to find current fashion inspiration. And people who are not British see the Union Jack and think not of the British Empire, colonialism and the Victorian Age, but instead see the Who, Ginger Spice and Kate Moss.