Areas of Fashion
Fashion as social phenomena is common. The rise and fall of fashion has been especially documented and examined in the following fields:
Architecture, interior design, and landscape design
Arts and crafts
Body type, clothing or costume, cosmetics, personal grooming, hairstyle, and personal adornment
Dance and music
Forms of address, slang, and other forms of speech
Economics and spending choices, as studied in behavioral finance
Entertainment, games, hobbies, sports, and other pastimes
Management, management styles and different ways of organizing
Politics and media, especially the topics of conversation encouraged by the media
Philosophy and religion: although the doctrines of religions and philosophies change very slowly if at all, there can be rapid changes in what areas of a religion or a philosophy are seen as most important and most worth following or studying.
Social networks and the diffusion of representations and practices
Sociology and the meaning of clothing for identity-building
Technology, such as the choice of computer programming techniques
Hospitality industry, such as designer uniforms custom made for a hotel, restaurant, casino, resort or club, in order to reflect a property and brand.
Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term “fashion” that the more general term “costume” has mostly been relegated to something fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term “fashion” means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing, costume and fabrics. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the Western world.
2008 runway show
Further information: History of Western fashion
The continually changing fashions of the West have been generally unparalleled either in antiquity or in the other great civilizations of the world until recent decades. Early Western travellers, whether to Persia, Turkey, Japan or China frequently remark on the absence of changes in fashion there, and observers from these other cultures comment on the unseemly pace of Western fashion, which many felt suggested an instability and lack of order in Western culture. The Japanese Shogun’s secretary boasted (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years. However in Ming China, for example, there is considerable evidence for rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing.
Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change (such as in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate), but then a long period without large changes followed. This occurred in Moorish Spain from the 8th century, when the famous musician Ziryab introduced sophisticated clothing styles based on seasonal and daily timings from his native Baghdad and his own inspiration to Crdoba, Spain. Similar changes in fashion occurred in the Middle East from the 11th century, following the arrival of the Turks who introduced clothing styles from Central Asia and the Far East.
The beginnings of the habit in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in styles can be fairly reliably dated to the middle of the 14th century, to which historians including James Laver and Fernand Braudel date the start of Western fashion in clothing. The most dramatic manifestation was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment, from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing on the chest to look bigger. This created the distinctive Western male outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers.
Marie Antoinette was a fashion icon
The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women and men’s fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex and changing. Art historians are therefore able to use fashion in dating images with increasing confidence and precision, often within five years in the case of 15th century images. Initially changes in fashion led to a fragmentation of what had previously been very similar styles of dressing across the upper classes of Europe, and the development of distinctive national styles, which remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, finally those from Ancien Rgime in France. Though the rich usually led fashion, the increasing affluence of early modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance sometimes uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.
Albrecht Drer’s drawing contrasts a well turned out bourgeoise from Nuremberg (left) with her counterpart from Venice. The Venetian lady’s high chopines make her taller
Ten 16th century portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats, and at this period national differences were at their most pronounced, as Albrecht Drer recorded in his actual or composite contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). The “Spanish style” of the end of the century began the move back to synchronicity among upper-class Europeans, and after a struggle in the mid 17th century, French styles decisively took over leadership, a process completed in the 18th century.
Though colors and patterns of textiles changed from year to year, the cut of a gentleman’s coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady’s dress was cut changed more slowly. Men’s fashions largely derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette are galvanized in theatres of European war, where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles: an example is the “Steinkirk” cravat or necktie.
The pace of change picked up in the 1780s with the increased publication of French engravings that showed the latest Paris styles; though there had been distribution of dressed dolls from France as patterns since the 16th century, and Abraham Bosse had produced engravings of fashion from the 1620s. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike (or thought they were): local variation became first a sign of provincial culture, and then a badge of the conservative peasant.
Although tailors and dressmakers were no doubt responsible for many innovations before, and the textile industry certainly led many trends, the history of fashion design is normally taken to date from 1858, when the English-born Charles Frederick Worth opened the first true haute couture house in Paris. Since then the professional designer has become a progressively more dominant figure, despite the origins of many fashions in street fashion.
Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person’s personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style.
Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms fashionista or fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions.
One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.)
Fashion shot from 2006
An important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique and commentary can be found in magazines, newspapers, on television, fashion websites, social networks and in fashion blogs.
At the beginning of the 20th century, fashion magazines began to include photographs or (PicS) and became even more influential than in the past. In cities throughout the world these magazines were greatly sought-after and had a profound effect on public taste. Talented illustrators drew exquisite fashion plates for the publications which covered the most recent developments in fashion and beauty. Perhaps the most famous of these magazines was La Gazette du Bon Ton which was founded in 1912 by Lucien Vogel and regularly published until 1925 (with the exception of the war years).
Vogue, founded in the US in 1892, has been the longest-lasting and most successful of the hundreds of fashion magazines that have come and gone. Increasing affluence after World War II and, most importantly, the advent of cheap colour printing in the 1960s led to a huge boost in its sales, and heavy coverage of fashion in mainstream women’s magazines – followed by men’s magazines from the 1990s. Haute couture designers followed the trend by starting the ready-to-wear and perfume lines, heavily advertised in the magazines, that now dwarf their original couture businesses. Television coverage began in the 1950s with small fashion features. In the 1960s and 1970s, fashion segments on various entertainment shows became more frequent, and by the 1980s, dedicated fashion shows like FashionTelevision started to appear. Despite television and increasing internet coverage, including fashion blogs, press coverage remains the most important form of publicity in the eyes of the industry.
Fashion Editor, Sharon Mclellan said, “There’s a misconception in the industry that TV, magazines and blogs dictate to the consumer, what to wear. But most trends aren’t released to the public before consulting the target demographic. So what you see in the media is a result of research of popular ideas among the people. Essentially, fashion is a group of people bouncing ideas off of one another, like any other form of art.”
Within the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry. To “take inspiration” from others’ designs contributes to the fashion industry’s ability to establish clothing trends. Enticing consumers to buy clothing by establishing new trends is, some have argued, a key component of the industry’s success. Intellectual property rules that interfere with the process of trend-making would, on this view, be counter-productive. In contrast, it is often argued that the blatant theft of new ideas, unique designs, and design details by larger companies is what often contributes to the failure of many smaller or independent design companies.
In 2005, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a conference calling for stricter intellectual property enforcement within the fashion industry to better protect small and medium businesses and promote competitiveness within the textile and clothing industries.
Look up fashion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Fashion
List of fashion designers
List of fashion topics
For a discussion of the use of the terms “fashion”, “dress”, “clothing” and “costume” by professionals in various disciplines, see Valerie Cumming, Understanding Fashion History, “Introduction”, Costume & Fashion Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8967-6253-X
Timothy Brook: “The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China” (University of California Press 1999); this has a whole section on fashion.
al-Hassani, Woodcok and Saoud (2004), ‘Muslim Heritage in Our World’, FSTC publisinhg, pp. 38-9
Terrasse, H. (1958) ‘Islam d’Espagne’ une rencontre de l’Orient et de l’Occident”, Librairie Plon, Paris, pp.52-53.
Josef W. Meri & Jere L. Bacharach (2006). “Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K”. Taylor & Francis. p. 162.
Laver, James: The Concise History of Costume and Fashion, Abrams, 1979, p. 62
Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Centuries, Vol 1: The Structures of Everyday Life,” p317, William Collins & Sons, London 1981
Thornton, Peter. Baroque and Rococo Silks.
James Laver and Fernand Braudel, ops cit
IPFrontline.com: Intellectual Property in Fashion Industry, WIPO press release, December 2, 2005
INSME announcement: WIPO-Italy International Symposium, 30 November – 2 December 2005
Cumming, Valerie: Understanding Fashion History, Costume & Fashion Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8967-6253-X
Meinhold, Roman (2008) Meta-Goods in Fashion Myths. Philosophic-Anthropological Implications of Fashion Myths. In: Prajna Vihara. Journal of Philosophy and Religion. Bangkok, Assumption University. Vol.8., No.2, July-December 2007. 1-17. ISSN 1513-6442
Fashion at the Open Directory Project
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History of Western fashion
Ancient World in General Roman
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Renaissance and Reformation
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Enlightenment to Regency
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1830s 1840s 1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s
Between the World Wars
19451959 1960s 1970s 1980s
1990-2009 20002009 in fashion 2010-present
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Cotton Fur Leather Linen Nylon Polyester Rayon Silk Spandex Wool
Blouse Crop top Dress shirt Halterneck Henley shirt Hoodie Jersey Guernsey (clothing) Polo shirt Shirt Sleeveless shirt Sweater T-shirt Tube top Turtleneck
Trousers or pants
Bell-bottoms Bermuda shorts Bondage pants Boxer shorts Capri pants Cargo pants Culottes Cycling shorts Dress pants Jeans Jodhpurs Overall Parachute pants Phat pants Shorts Sweatpants Windpants
A-line skirt Ballerina skirt Fustanella Hobble skirt Jean skirt Job skirt Leather skirt Kilt Men’s skirts Microskirt Miniskirt Pencil skirt Poodle skirt Prairie skirt Rah-rah skirt Sarong Skort Slip Train Wrap
Ball gown Cocktail dress Evening gown Gown Jumper dress Little black dress Petticoat Sari Sundress Tea gown Wedding dress
Suits and uniforms
Academic dress Afrocentric suit Black tie Buddhist monastic robe Clerical clothing Court dress Gymslip Jumpsuit Lab coat Mao suit Morning dress Pantsuit Red Sea rig Scrubs Stroller Tangzhuang Tuxedo White tie
Abaya Academic gown Anorak Apron Blazer Cloak Coat Duffle coat Frock coat Jacket Greatcoat Hoodie Opera coat Overcoat Pea coat Poncho Raincoat Redingote Robe Shawl Shrug Ski suit Sleeved blanket Top coat Trench coat Vest Waistcoat Windbreaker
Boxer briefs Boxer shorts Brassiere Briefs Compression shorts Corselet Corset Knickers Lingerie Long underwear Men’s undergarments Panties Teddy Trunks Undershirt
Belly chain Belt Bow tie Chaps Coin purse Earring Gaiters Gloves Handbag Leg warmer Leggings Necklace Necktie Scarf Stocking Sunglasses Suspenders Tights
Athletic shoe Boot Dress shoe Flip-flops Hosiery Pump Sandal Shoe Slipper Sock
Balaclava Cap Fascinator Gaung Paung Hat Headband Helmet Hijab Hood Kerchief Mantilla Niqb Sombrero Turban Ushanka Veil
Babydoll Blanket sleeper Negligee Nightcap Nightgown Nightshirt Peignoir Pajamas
Bikini Swim diaper Wetsuit
Back closure Buckle Button Buttonhole Collar Cuff Elastic Fly Hemline Hook-and-eye Lapel Neckline Pocket Shoulder pad Shoulder strap Sleeve Snap Strap Velcro Waistline Zipper
Abaya Aboyne dress o b ba o di o t thn Baro’t saya Barong Tagalog Bunad jbningurinn Cheongsam Dashiki Deel Dhoti Dirndl Djellaba Gkti Gho & Kira Han Chinese clothing Hanbok Jellabiya Jilbb Kebaya Kente cloth Kilt Kimono Lederhosen Sampot Sarafan Sari Sarong Scottish dress
Banyan Bedgown Bodice Braccae Breeches Breeching Brunswick Chemise Chiton Chlamys Doublet Exomis Farthingale Frock Himation Hose Houppelande Jerkin Justacorps Palla Peplos Polonaise Smock-frock Stola Toga Tunic
History and surveys
Africa Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Ancient world Anglo-Saxon Byzantine Clothing terminology Dress code Early Medieval Europe Formal wear Han Chinese clothing History of clothing and textiles