Fashion Development – A Historical Exposition

Fashion has been an age long phenomenon that has always surfaced in every human society across the world. Human beings all over the world have great need to cover themselves and also makeup in order to look good. Fashion trends have always showcased in every nation on a regular basis. Different kinds of fashion accessories and other fashion related products have continued to be in great demand all over the world.

Actually, fashion development has been a progressive thing. Generally, the term fashion refers to popular styles and practices seen in the area of clothing, makeup, footwear, furniture and accessories. However, the term mainly refers to clothing, makeup and accessories when considered in a strict sense. The development of fashion can be considered in four major phases namely, ancient, medieval, industrial revolution and contemporary phases. Let’s examine each phase.

Ancient Phase

Fashion development in the ancient phase dates back to the pre-historic era when people made use of local materials in producing the cloths they put on. In those days, animal skin and fur were mainly used. This was seen in ancient historical era of various cultures of the world. In the ancient era, cultural traditions influence the kind of styles and patterns used in the production of local wears. There was no widely accepted pattern or approach used. Clothing materials were either homemade or handmade.

Medieval Phase

The medieval phase in fashion development made a great impact in the history of fashion all over world. The era witnessed the emergence of local tailors and other dressmakers who used local fabrics in the production of different kinds of fashion attires. Fashion production in the period continued to improve from one level to the other. The renaissance period of 14th to 16th centuries that marked the end of the middle ages also made great impact in fashion development. During this period, great ideas about fashion started springing up in the lives of great men and women who later become famous fashion designers.

Industrial Revolution Phase

Fashion development got a huge boost during the period of industrial revolution that swept across Europe and America in the 18th century. It was a great period of change which saw the introduction of diverse methods of production. There was a widespread adoption of diverse kinds of industrial methods of mass production in the era. Mass production of fashion products became the order of the day in the period. Several big fashion firms emerged both in Europe and in the US during the era. Diverse kind of approaches and patters were also introduced in fashion production during the period. Several attires, wears and fashion accessories were also produced. Great fashion designers also emerged during the era.

The Contemporary Phase

After the industrial revolution, the contemporary period came to the fore. It all started in the early 20th century and also entered into the modern day era as well. Fashion development in this era has actually reached its pinnacle. The world is now witnessing the establishment of fashion plants in various countries. Great manufacturers of fashion products have also emerged. Sophisticated sewing machines and other tools have been invented for mass production of fashion products. Diverse kinds of approaches and patterns are also introduced in the fashion industry. Many countries now import and also export fashion products.

In all, fashion development is indeed a continuous process. It moves from one stage to the order. The world is now witnessing the development of fashion in the ever dynamic internet technology. Lots of fashion designers and their companies now operate online. The future is indeed very bright for fashion production across the world.

Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

Many of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so we could parade around the neighborhood in our finest. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or avoid, as some fashion-phobic children were known to do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history shows that its origins are not what we might expect. And examining the custom from a fashion school point of view, we see how changing retailing patterns have altered its significance.

Origins in other cultures. Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, has traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but the idea that people have more than they possibly need.

Christian beginnings. In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth and new life. But it was not until 300 A.D. that wearing new clothes became an official decree, as the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks for new ones.

Superstitions. A 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin’s Almanack stated that if one’s clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck: “At Easter let your clothes be new; Or else for sure you will it rue.” In the 16th Century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes.

Post Civil War. Easter traditions as we know it were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw no good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, the churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called “The Sunday of Joy,” and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.

The Easter Parade. In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was famous around the country, and people who were poor or from the middle class would watch the parade to witness the latest trends in fashion design. Soon, clothing retailers leveraged the parade’s popularity and used Easter as a promotional tool in selling their garments. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today.

The American Dream. By the middle of the 20th Century, dressing up for Easter had lost much of any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at vintage clothing ads in a fashion school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was something every wholesome, All-American family was expected to do.

Attitudes today. Although many of us may still don new clothes on Easter, the tradition doesn’t feel as special, not because of any religious ambivalence, but because we buy and wear new clothes all the time. At one time in this country, middle class families shopped only one or two times a year at the local store or from a catalog. But in the last few decades, retailing options have boomed. There’s a Gap on every corner, and countless internet merchants allow us to shop 24/7. No wonder young people today hear the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade” and have no idea what it means.

It’s interesting to see where the tradition of wearing new clothes on Easter began, and how it’s evolved through the years. Even with changing times, however, the custom will surely continue in some form. After all, fashionistas love a reason to shop.

The Cultures Behind Fashion Trends

From gladiator sandals to skinny jeans to animal prints – one has to wonder, what influences fashion trends? Where do all of these ideas, some of them great and some downright bizarre, come from and how do they gain so much popularity, spreading like wildfire until practically everyone on the planet who can afford it is wearing a particular item? Even if you’re not particularly fond of following fashion trends, you have to admit that there’s something to be said for a particular style of clothing that can move millions of people around the world to dress in it.

So what influences fashion trends? In a nutshell, fashion trends are made by people for people and are a reflection of human nature and human activities. You wear something as an expression of who you are, what you believe in and where you come from, meaning you are representing a certain kind of fashion culture that you are either a part of or that you want to be a part of.

High Culture

The idea of high culture is synonymous with luxury and a sense of exclusivity. These involve things like painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, literature and the like. What influences fashion trends can be seen in certain famous fashion houses, not only in their clothing lines but in their advertising campaigns too. For example, Gianni Versace’s logo is that of Medusa from Greek mythology, a stylized drawing on a golden, medallion-like background, which lends an air of bold artistry to his clothing line, along with a sense of high-end sophistication and glamorous seduction.

Pop Culture

Think the sixties and it’s tie-dye and peace medallions, while the seventies was all about the bell bottoms and platform shoes. This is one of the key answers to what influences fashion trends. Pop culture is basically what the media and the press hype up every day you turn on the TV or go online. This is the culture of celebrities and famous personalities whom everyone else wants to look like, and of clothing produced for the masses. For example, if a popular celebrity is photographed wearing a specific coat, sales on that coat are sure to skyrocket as certain popular celebrities are considered global fashion icons and role models. This is why many fashion labels turn to celebrities to endorse their clothing, accessories and footwear. Pop culture sells a certain lifestyle that people want to have and qualities that people want to possess.

Subculture

This is the culture of the “streets,” of those considered out of the mainstream, such as the hip-hop, graffiti, rock and punk scenes or the surf and skateboard cultures. If classified simply, this is the more bohemian aspect of fashion, of individualistic and unique styles, like the low-slung, baggy jeans that were primarily connected with the hip-hop scene or graffiti art on sneakers associated with skateboarding. The thing about subculture however is that it tends to turn into pop culture given enough time and attention. What influences fashion trends are the same things that keep these same trends constantly changing and that is something about fashion that will never go out of style.