Who invented Fake Pockets? (Invention Timeline Explained)

The idea of fake pockets in clothing can be so strange to some people, as why would you want the design in the first place if it’s not going to be a pocket? While it might seem a bit alien — especially to the guys — there’s a surprising amount of history behind these faux pockets. It’s the kind of thing that might have you shrugging at first, but those interested in the topic of history will likely enjoy what they find below.

Interested in the creation and beginning of the fake pocket? Here’s a quick little dive into the evolution of fake pockets over time.

Who invented fake pockets?

While there are quite a few trends credited with the fake pocket, if you’re talking about the invention of the fake pocket design, the inventor is Brenda Wilcox, an independent designer from Calvin Klein. While there’s quite a lot more about the subject, Brenda’s contribution is what snowballed the modern trend.

The fake pocket’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Ötzi
    The Iceman from 3300 BC

    It would be remiss to talk about key contributors and not mention the very first human being to have been discovered with a pocket bag. His survival kit was amazing considering the era.

  • 18th century France
    Fashion trends after the French Revolution

    In the late 18th century, the fashion trend pushed for slimmer skirts, and that meant the removal of pocket bags, which have been used under skirts since the 16th century. Incidentally, this eventually led to the creation of the hand bag.

  • Brenda Wilcox
    Improved on the overall concept and designed the fake pockets craze

    You can credit Brenda Wilcox from Calvin Klein as the person responsible for putting fake pockets on the map. The primary function of fake pockets was to help with the overall shape as having pockets had a tendency to warp the clothing after a while.

When were fake pockets invented?

The modern trend for fake pockets was the brainchild of Brenda Wilcox back in 1974. Since then, the trend’s been growing steadily, though not everyone is aware of the primary function of fake pockets. Pockets can alter the shape of clothing, which was why the modern concept was developed in the first place.

A brief history of fake pockets

To talk about the development of fake pockets, it’s good to have a brief history lesson on pocket bags. The earliest known instance of the pocket bag was discovered on Ötzi’s person, a mummy that’s over 5000 years old. It’s safe to assume that pockets have been a thing for a very long time, though it started to shift around the 16th century.

During that time, you didn’t really make a fashion statement with your pockets. Rather, the pocket bag was a separate bag inside the skirt, and a slit in the cloth allowed you access to it. Pocket bags were efficient, but the world of fashion can be a fickle thing. After the French Revolution in 1790, a growing trend called for much slimmer skirts that better hugged the body. Something had to be sacrificed in the process, and pocket bags were removed.

The removal of the pocket bags meant the things you would usually stuff in pockets had to go somewhere — paving the way for the development of hand bags. This trend is the reason why so many dresses and skirts have no pockets.

As far as the development of the fake pocket goes, Brenda Wilcox designed it for Calvin Klien in 1974. The reason for the fake pocket was similar to the trend after the French Revolution. Pockets had a habit of making clothes look bulkier. It also had a habit of altering the look of the piece over time. Going for fake pockets meant the shape was kept at the expense of the pocket itself. It’s basically a retelling of previous trends, resurfacing in the modern world.

The fake pocket timeline

  1. 3300 BC
    The age of the Iceman

    The Iceman was aged as early as 3300 BC, and his toolkit consisted of various survival tools — one of them being the pocket bag.

  2. 16th century
    The fashion trends of France in the 16th century

    The removal of pocket bags first started with the trend of pockets added into skirts. It was useful and efficient, but not always aesthetically pleasing

  3. 18th century
    The end of the French Revolution

    The trend at the end of the French Revolution was all about looking slimmer. Dresses had the pocket bag removed to keep an aesthetic flair

  4. 1974
    Revisiting the idea

    Brenda Wilcox invented the concept of fake pockets, revisiting the ideas and trends prevalent during the 18th century.

Where were fake pockets invented?

Brenda Wilcox invented the modern fake pocket trend for Calvin Klein in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. 

The importance of fake pockets

  • An unorthodox means of keeping the shape

    In the 18th century, the removal of fake pockets was used to help retain the shape of skirts and dresses. It’s the reason why the designs of dresses today have no pockets. Brenda Wilcox revisits the idea for the modern age with fake pockets.

  • One of the pillars of female fashion

    Most guys don’t understand why fake pockets are a thing. In fact, some women tend to have the same opinion. However, it does change the fact that fake pockets are a part of the history of female fashion.

  • Inadvertently developed the hand bag

    As another indispensable part of female fashion, the woman’s hand bag came from the removal of pockets in the 18th century. Due to this rendition of fake pockets, the hand bag was invented.

  • A powerful fashion statement

    The idea of pockets being designed into jeans and other clothes without actually being pockets is a bold fashion statement. It’s also a surprisingly timeless fashion statement, considering its history.

Fake pockets by the numbers

  • 1790The year when the French started to play around the idea of having no pocket bags in their clothing.
  • 1/2Not all fake pockets are entirely sewn together. There are some semi-fake pockets that have about half the capacity of a regular pocket while still retaining the shape.
  • 4There are four other names for the fake pocket. There’s the false pocket, the faux pocket, the bellows pocket, and the safari pocket. 

Five facts about fake pockets

  • Cheaper to make overall

    The world of fashion can often be hectic, and is more about aesthetics than anything else. Fake pockets are a good way to make clothing cheaper while simultaneously keeping its aesthetic impact.

  • Form over function

    If pocket bags and regular pockets are more about function, faux pockets are all about form. That said, the fact that it’s cheaper also adds more incentive for the fashion world to go for fake.

  • The reason fake pockets got so popular

    The popularity of fake pockets — and the reason why so many other companies tried to follow Calvin Klein’s example, is that fake pockets offer the most bang for buck when it comes to pricing and aesthetics. While the average person might prefer pockets, there’s no denying that many still own pocketless jeans.

  • The beauty of the figure

    The fashion world — even back in the 18th century — is all about fully expressing the beauty of the figure. In a lot of ways, the modern fake pocket design is just a retelling of the trend that removed pocket bags back in 1790.

  • A controversial trend that will surely continue

    These days you’ll find people wondering why so many clothes have no pockets. It’s understandable to think that the fake pocket trend will eventually die out, but it’s been popular for a very long time, and will likely continue far in the future.

FAQ about fake pockets

  • What are the advantages of having fake pockets?

    It’s generally more comfortable to the wearer. In exchange for pockets, the wearer has a piece of clothing that clings more to the figure.

  • Why does the industry insist on  fake pockets?

    It’s relatively simple, really. The industry enjoys the concept of fake pockets as it is cheaper to manufacture, keeps its form, and doesn’t sacrifice the aesthetics of the piece. It also encourages people to purchase hand bags as a result.

  • Should I go for fake pockets?

    It depends on what you feel about the concept of pockets. Are you a fan of regular pockets and would prefer it to fake pockets? Do you use a hand bag or other similar items for your things when you go out? If you don’t have much use for the pockets, you can go for fake pockets that can better keep your form.

  • Is it a good idea to open a fake pocket?

    If you’d like to open a fake pocket, you’ll first have to make sure that it isn’t just a design. There are some articles of clothing where the pocket is simply sewn up to get the desired effect. In such cases, you can use a pair of scissors to open it up. However, there are clothes out there where there is no pocket, simply the illusion of it through design.

Leave a Comment