Check Mate: The Square-Eyed Trend that's Swept the Internet

Move over gingham, see-ya-later seersucker (!) - the hottest pattern in town is big, bold, and sweeping social media. Yes, I’m talking about checkerboard, the trend that’s been popping up from pottery to pillow-cases and everywhere in-between.

checkerboard trend rotaro
Where did it come from ?!” I hear you all cry! Well, Rotaro reader, far be it from me to tell you this trend is entirely new; I could go back as far as medieval times, recounting harlequin jesters; I could even take you through a history of 60’s Milanese architecture or Mod-era fashion - but consider yourself spared. Let’s fast-forward straight into the 21st century to show you the most important checkerboard moments and how you can rent them with Rotaro.

check trend

Any millennial worth their salt will remember Van’s checkered slip-on moment, first circulating in the ‘80s and revived in the ’90s and 00’s - a symbol of coming-of-age rebellion. Fast-forward to S/S13, and we see an entire collection dedicated to checkerboard at Louis Vuitton while further down the fashion-timeline from 2018, a revival was happening at Off-White, Marques Almeida, and Jil Sander. 

check trend queens gambit
Come 2020 and suddenly, checkerboard was everywhere, not just across fashion, but furniture, ceramics, beauty, film - and even food - with BBC’s Great-British Bake Off reviving the 80’s Battenburg cake and Netflix showcasing The Queen’s Gambit, making an instant style icon out of trippy-chess-champion Beth Harmon and her impeccable retro style.

check trend

Fashion took the trend into its own hands, reviving the print in a myriad of new styles, scales, and ‘grammable colourways, making for a fresh departure from the retro-racer-flag styles of past seasons. At Paloma Wool, Lisa Says Gah and Holiday the Label, trippy, illusionary styles took over where tie-dye left off for summer, while winter saw Stand Studio, ROTATE and Shrimps sweep in with iconic outerwear and perfect party pieces, all readily available to rent at Rotaro:

rotate birger christensen check trend rent hire

Rent: Rotate dress from £39/ 4 days

shrimps check jacket faux fur sustainable trend rent hire

Rent: Shrimps jacket from £35/ 4 days

stand studio check coat trend rent hire scandi

Rent: Stand Studio coat from £45/ 4 days

So what makes checkerboard so damn good? Much like stripes, dots, and florals, they’re a cult classic with an instant pick-me-up appeal that’s hit hard in the last 12 months. Whatsmore, the checkerboard is totally seasonless and works across fashion, beauty lifestyle, and interiors, expanding its massive reach.  

Our style advice? The bolder the better! The checkerboard looks great clashed with other prints and we’ve styles to see you through the seasons. Which one to rent?

It’s your move.


Written by our local trend forecaster: Anna Ross