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Griffith 1 Tirzah Griffith Ms.

Caruso ENGL 1103 12 November 2012

Fashion Forward: The Fads, Trends and Influence of Fashion The clothes we wear, from the type of fabric, to the designer, to the color, reflect the fads or trends that are popular in our culture. Every aspect of the designer pair of jeans in last weeks issue of Vogue or Fashion Magazine has some type of influence on how we dress. Who the jeans appeal to, the market they are going to be sold on, how to actually market the brand and many other factors contribute to how consumers spend their money on clothes. Since the creation of newspapers, television, the internet and radio, the hype on pop culture fads have been able to reach millions more than it would have if these things had not been created. Fashion has long been a part of culture throughout the world especially in parts of Europe and the United States. Since the beginning of civilization, humans have designed and molded an image they hoped to achieve, and have managed to implement it into mainstream culture. The effect that fashion has had on our society over the last sixty years (vice versa) and its influence on our everyday life are two key points that will serve as foundation for this paper. Taking a look back at fashion in the past and defining fashion will show the foundation that was built for this popular aspect of pop culture. So, what is fashion? Marketing consultant and fashion industry mogul, Estelle Ellis, posed this question while delivering a speech at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Estelle Ellis defined fashion in anthropological terms, that is, as a cultural force that drew

Griffith 2 sustenance from social customs, group psychology, material life, economic institutions, and other types of human interaction. In her opinion, Ellis thought that fashion found its expression in four areas of culture: mode--- the way we dress; manners--- the way we express ourselves; mores--- the way we live; and markets--- the way we are defined demographically and psychologically (Blaszczyk 2). This definition of fashion by Ellis examines aspects of popular culture as it relates to some different, yet similar areas of fashion. Dating as far back as the sixteenth century during the reign of King Henry VII, fashion choice reflected that of the king and his royal court. The King favored a modest luxurious style while at the same time aiming for comfort. Fashion during his reign was rather simple, but his successor, King Henry VIIIs style was more detailed because his clothes were usually decorated with jewels or embroidery (Ribeiro 27). Velvet, fur, cloth of gold and silver, gold-embroidered shirts and an honest amount of jewels were favored by the Henry VIII. Head pieces, worn by any gender, were also a fashion fad so to say. Another fashionable ensemble during this time period was the peascod-fronted doublet, a form fitting jacket that was worn to show off a slim waist. High collars, and large puffy like sleeves were worn during this time by both men and women. Knee-length britches began to make its appearance more and more during the seventeenth century. Large corsets, big hair styles, and embroidered lace became very popular amongst royalty. Men would wear embroidered lace around their collars, and around their sleeves. In some instances women would wear a somewhat low neckline gown and border the bust line with lace. A number of emerging fashion trends made a debut from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries that would be reinvented in the following centuries. During the late eighteenth century and throughout the entire nineteenth century, tight fitting jackets worn by men were replaced by waist coats. The age of industrialism brought about

Griffith 3 conformity to the times. Knee britches, waist coats, and straight-legged trousers were the fashion of everyday men and young boys. Women wore heavier dresses and skirts that increased in size, but also became slightly shorter. Satin petticoats were worn largely by women and men during this time. The fashion choices during this time period began to evolve into more time conscious trends at the turn of the nineteenth century. During the late nineteenth century fashion strayed away from the overt fancy fashion it took on in the previous century. Mens clothing was somber and conformed to the new image of the successful industrialist (Dolan 4). One of the most popular trends that emerged amongst the female population as the twentieth century dawned is the focus on female form. Sleeves grew larger at the top and skirts narrowed to showcase flattering waist and shape (Dolan 11). Paintings and photographs during this time period highlight the ever changing world of fashion as the world moved into the twentieth century. In the early years of the twentieth century fashion progressed into culture as having more of a statement whereas in previous centuries its purpose was to establish prestige and social status. The factor that changed this trend is industrialization that gained momentum during the early twentieth century. The twentieth century marks rapid progression in all aspects of life. Industrialization is the biggest factor for this rapid growth seen throughout the early twentieth century. The invention of steam power, and electricity helped industrialize not only Europe, but the United States and the rest of the world. The invention of the mechanized spinning wheel was the most important revolution to the world of fashion (Dolan 5). Before the spinning wheel, clothing or any piece of fabric had to be spun by human hand, but with the mechanized wheel, electricity was able to power it. With the expansion of industry, consumerism also grew throughout the world. In order to buy new clothes people didnt have to make it; department

Griffith 4 stores eliminated that aspect in the post industrialized world. One of the oldest department stores to date is, Bennetts of Irongate located in Derby in the United Kingdom, which was founded in 1734 (Blaszczyk 106). Woolworths was one of the most successful five-and-dime stores in the U.S and the world having been first opened in Utica, New York in 1878 (Blaszczyk 110). Department stores sold everything from clothes to cookware which made shopping easier and inexpensive. The 1900s emerged in full force as a time period of trend-setting and popular culture. The first thirty years of the twentieth century highlight an overall prosperous standard of living in the United States. Industry was growing, people had jobs and life was good. Fashion during this time period is describes as, The characteristics of the clothing took on the characteristics of the lifestyle (Dolan 39). Many notable fashion magazines had been printing for quite some time and they held the dos and donts of fashion specifically after World War I. It is during this time period that a sense of popular culture, in its earliest form, began to emerge. Vogue, one of the oldest fashion magazines in the word, was first published in 1892 as a weekly publication in the United States (Steele 6). As the fashion world moved into mainstream culture, Vogue was published on a bi-weekly basis and also found its way to hands of people in the United Kingdom and France. The creation of such magazines brought fashion into a whole new arena. Consumers could receive mail-order catalogs to their favorite department stores and order things that they liked. By the 1920s mail-to-order clothing catalogs were advertising inexpensive outfits that could be worn right off the rack (Dolan 125). People born prior to and during this time period conformed a lot to the way of society; those born in this period were dubbed the silent generation by Time magazine: working fairly hard, but saying almost nothing (Ziolo 31). Americans during this time period didnt really make statements with their fashion, because

Griffith 5 of the over generalized views society expected them to follow. The implementation of mail order catalogs and department store; however sought to appeal to the emerging culture in the United States. The years ranging from 1930-1945 trends seemed to be temporarily frozen in the previous decade. Women wore broad hemmed skirts and shirts that mirrored the 1920s fashion scene. Cloche hats also remained popular for the latter half of the 1920s, but began to dwindle in popularity in the early 1930s. The war slightly changed this trend when women began to liberate themselves by bobbing their hair, and people, women especially, were aiming for a less dressy look even in formal wear (Dolan 122). Women who bobbed their hair, smoked, drank, drove and wore short skirts were called flappers; in essence these women were seen as the new breed of women because of their lack of conformity to social norms (Blaszczyk 162). Magazines advertised popular trends during the Great Depression although industry was slow. Clothing no longer labeled the wearer during the 1930s as fashion began to expand into all different types of ranges. As the world went through World War II, a new sense of fashion emerged after the war. Christian Dior described post-war fashion in this quote, We were emerging from a period of war, of uniforms, of women-soldiers, built like boxes (Steele 1). Postwar fashion embraced femininity and the elegance of fashion. Broad shoulders and short skirts were popular amongst women in post-war fashion, and zoot suits became popular amongst urban African-American men. The War production Board tried to dismantle the zoot suit because it was unpatriotic and as a result riots, hate crimes and protesting broke out (Steele 4). Popular culture was starting to emerge in the United States after being in wartime, but it didnt seem that everyone was ready to except this.

Griffith 6 Youre being watched! Dress right you cant afford not to! (Steele 17) The 1950s was a period of conformity and paranoia with the onset of The Cold War. It seemed as though the world kept constant watch on the United States during the fifties and the U.S wanted to upkeep a certain image. This time decade in history marks a transformation in haute couture; clothes were conforming yet of high quality during this time. The generation that flourished during the fifties consisted of men who fought in the war and were returning home to rebuild their lives. Cookie cutter houses decorated streets in prominent American towns and Americans lived a seemingly perfect lifestyle. A couple of trends made show during the 1950s. Broad shouldered dresses with slim waistlines and puffy bottoms were popular for evening wear. Christian Dior, a French designer, created the H-line evolved into other great body shaping clothing such as the A-line and Y-line. Barbie emerged late in the fifties as the teenager was born during this time period thus creating room for new fashions to be created. Teenagers during the fifties created an image for themselves by mimicking the style of popular figures such as Dizzie Gillespie (Steele 40). Denim jeans, leather, and boots were favored by teenagers as they looked up to people like Elvis Presley. Although The Beat Generation emerged as a counterculture, conformity still had its reign during the fifties. According to Eve Merriam, the fashion business was partly to blame for stressing the conformist big fashion sell. Conformity takes over, for in order to make an appreciable profit, you have to make a lot of one thing and sell it widely. Everyone became conformity-oriented during the fifties. The 1960s completely changed the world let alone fashion. This time period marked a social and political upheaval. The youth of this decade played the largest role in the emergence of a legit popular culture. The hipster or hippie counterculture emerged as a strong revolutionary force that pressed for change. In 1960, nearly half of America's population is under 18 years old.

Griffith 7 It's a young society, and the most affluent generation in U.S. history (The Sixties). This generation had all the resources to create popular culture with television and radio. The first color television is seen in the United States in early 1960. The youth were tired of the conformity of the 1950s, the war, and being told how to live their lives. As seen throughout history with any counterculture movement, gaining followers and support isnt hard when you have certain aspects that appeal to young minds. For millions of working teenagers now, clothes are the biggest pastime in life: a symbol of independence and the fraternity mark of an age group, wrote British Vogue in 1959. Hemlines rose during the beginning of the decade with the creation of the mini-skirt and body image became important (The Decade). Bold patterns and bright colors were the foundation of 1960s fashion. Clothing was heavily influenced by music, movies and celebrities during this decade. Hippies also had a large and successful impact on the youth of America, as well as the rest of the world. Hairstyles, clothing, and overall appearance changed by trendsetters mainly in San Francisco. These kids favored exotic, colorful, psychedelic styles and it showed by the way they dressed. The two basic styles of hippie culture were vital: the ethnic look and the romantic-pastoral look. Hippies usually made their clothes out of scavenged material from thrift shops and it wasnt before long when they began to make and sell mass produced clothing. Fashion trends emerged in full force during the sixties, but in next three decades many people wanted to forget these trends. The seventies can be perceived as a time of confusion and a retro style of clothing. Platform shoes, bell-bottom pants, and longer hemlines emerged in the seventies and put the world back in a more conservative image. The Hippie generation didnt completely die after the sixties; however a new counterculture did emerge. Punks entered pop culture with a deliberate aggressive confrontational style. Their clothing was ripped with swastikas and pornographic

Griffith 8 images and they were notorious for wear Doc Marten boots. They also wore their hair in mohawks and asymmetrical cuts. The world received this punk style with horror, but they had a large influence on international fashion. Middle-class people in the seventies didnt embrace the edgy style of punks, they did however gravitate more to the dress-for-success uniformity, which set the agenda for the aggression that arose during the 1980s (Steele 82). This is the Eighties, Decade of money, ten years of fun. More and more party, More and more stuff. Bigger is better, Too much is not enough. These lyrics to a song by the Council of Fashion Designers of America describe the eighties as a decade of greed and excess. The eighties was a decade of wealth and big spending. Everything in the eighties seemed to be larger than life; the hair, the clothes and the lifestyle. Popular television shows helped emphasize the money and power theme that dominated the eighties. Television shows such as Dynasty and Dallas showcased how the rich lived, but didnt really embrace high fashion (Steele 118). Fitness was another key factor that shaped fashion in this decade. Body image and working out were extremely important especially for those in the public eye. Fabrics such as silk, linen, and wool were highly fashionable especially amongst sportswear. Women wore legwarmers, tights and cropped shirts to the gym, but this look was a part of an everyday look. Broad shoulders and a lean body was the favored look in the eighties, which brought about the use of shoulder pads. As seen in the previous decades, television and media has an enormous influence on culture. MTV (Music Television) was praised for its influence of fashion because now people were able to see their favorite celebrities and what they wore. Corsets also made reappearance during the eighties by designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. The eighties definitely set the stage for fashion for the rest of the twentieth century up until now.

Griffith 9 Moving into the 1990s and early twentieth century models were the biggest buzz in fashion news. Instead of the actual clothes being worshipped, the person wearing the clothes was being worshipped. The most notable model during the nineties was Naomi Campbell who was featured on the cover of Time magazine with the title: More glamorous than movie stars, the supermodels of the 90s earn spectacular loot for their spectacular looks (Steele 143). 90s fashion is a bit more complicated when being described than any other decade because a lot progress was trying to be made while trying to find an identity. The fashion fad known as grunge appeared as a part of Seattle youth culture and is characterized by loose, layered clothes, long loose dresses, and heavy boots. Some people said the grunge looked as though hippies and punks merged their wardrobes (Steele 145). After the fall of grunge, fashion seemed to be in a stalemate with finding a name in the nineties. People were setting out to find their own look and they managed to change the fashion world in the process. The Gap emerged after the 1987 stock market crash by promoting real clothes; however when other markets started to mimic this, the fashion industry again ceased to produce. Street style clothing is the look designers tried to go for, but it wasnt easy to copy street style. Fashion didnt die during the 90s; it merely went under construction to define a clear path as the world moved into the twenty-first century. Moving into the twenty-first century fashion began to take on a more individualistic view and expression. The youth of today dont want to be like everyone else, yet we tend to see them reinvent styles from previous decades. It isnt uncommon to see a teenage of today walk around with high-waist shorts or stone washed jeans. The inventors and creators of today pay homage to the inventors and creators of yesterday. The new styles and trends come from the younger creative class (Influencers). The tipping point is the biography of an idea, and the idea is very simple. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do (Galdwell

Griffith 10 12). Society, cultural groups, media and counterculture movements have influenced the way we chose to dress. Yet, we as people dont always let these factors dictate our fashion; we sometimes stand up to have a say in our own lives. Fashion today wouldnt be a part of popular culture without the events that occurred in history. Whether its mainstream or subculture the way we dress will always be an important factor of culture. Thats just what we do.

Griffith 11 Works Cited Agins, Teri. The End of Fashion: The Mass Marketing of the Clothing Business. New York: Morrow, 1999. Print. Blaszczyk, Regina L. Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Print. Dolan, Maryanne. Vintage Clothing: 1880-1960: Identification & Value Guide. Florence, Alabama: Books Americana, 1984. Print. Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York. Little Brown and Company, 2002. iBook file. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious. Dir. Johnson, Davis and Paul Rojanathara. Perf. Rob Stone, Jon Cohen, Josh Peskowitz, Sky Gellatly, Deirdre Maloney, Jeff Staple, Damon Crepin-Burr, Jeff Staple, Dao-Yi Chow, Craig Yip, Kara Liricks, and David Gensler. R+I Creative, 2011. Documentary. Film. Ribeiro, Aileen. The Gallery of Fashion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. Print. Steele, Valerie. Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. Print. The Decade You Were Born In: The 60s. Mill Creek Entertainment, LLC, 2012. DVD. The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation. PBS. Oregon Public Broadcasting. 2005. Web. 20 September. 2012 Ziolo, Kayleigh. "A Stitch in Time." Professional Manager 20.3 (2011): 30-33. Business Source Complete. Web. 18 Sept. 2012.

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