History of Fashion: Part 1
Some may ask, why Fashion, as a subject is worth studying? Well, it is. Clothing is an integral part of human evolution. It was since time immemorial that humans realized the importance of garbing their bodies. Naturally, the initial instinct was protection but if that were to stay the case, those homo sapiens wouldn’t have improvised on anything - including the caves they lived in, no houses as we know today would have been built. This is evolution, everything evolves with time and so did clothing. When we study the evolution of clothing and fashion, we also study all the related sectors, we study the history of humans as everything is interconnected.
What is Fashion?
Fashion refers to a type of ‘clothing’ trending in a particular moment of time. Anything that reaches far and wide and is followed at a given time is called the ‘fashion of that era’. Fashion is constantly evolving, in multiple ways and is almost like a cyclic procedure with which different kinds of styles come and go, one after the other.
Something that is vital in understanding fashion is that it changes periodically as there’ll always be ‘anti-fashion’ trying to push into the mainstream and wherever it thrives, it becomes another fashion, and hence, it is a cyclic process. It’s always a particular ‘style’ that comes into ‘fashion’.
Anyone who is interested in understanding the history of humanity, fashion makes a huge part of that study.
Now, let’s begin from when Fashion was first notably taken into consideration.
- Fashion in the Roman Era and middle ages
Women in the Roman Era would wear clothes that’d highlight their class and the status that they belonged from. They would particularly wear a shawl on top of their heads called the ‘palla’ which has an eerie similarity to Indian ‘pallu’. In this era, the men and women would wear a belted tunic. There were clear distinctions made between the elite and the poor, as the richer gentry wore more layers of clothing made of finer qualities.
This was a period wherein clothing became a topic of interest and heavy discussion among the elite folks who now wanted to dispose more money into making new clothes. In this era, the King of England spent a hefty amount in clothing, and following his footsteps, all the other novelties and aristocrats sought to do the same.
Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France was the one who ruled what fashion would be during her reign. A particular dress code had been set, which had gowns for ladies and jackets and trousers for men. From 1760 to 1840, there was the Industrial Revolution in Britain which changed the entire landscape of clothing as till then, clothes were only hand-made, so there was a sudden increase in scale. Also, the sewing machine was an invention of this timeline. It’s great how such fashion become classic and exists forever, you too can buy peep toes, one toe flats , or t strap flat shoes and look absolutely delicious.
Around this era, fashion was what Paris was doing. All the Parisian designers were followed all around. Whatever a Parisian designer was going to make was going to be worn by everybody. London was also one of the influencers but not as strong as Paris. Around this timeline, there was a designer born called Charles Fredrick Worth also called ‘the first designer of the world’, whose designs were worn by all the period artists of the time.
Unlike the 1800s which had uncomfortable petticoats and corsets, which made the waist area squeezed and the hip area protrude, all that discomfort would be replaced with a new concept called ‘Flapper Style’. Women started carrying bags alongside their flapper style dresses, you can still buy branded tote bags online and pair them with loose dresses. This was also the decade when First World War started, and all the people had to cut down on their expenses and the elaborate designs of clothes had to be changed to simpler, practical cuts.
- Fashion in the 1920s
The fashion landscape changed in the 1920s as America started flourishing. There were more participants in the buying of fashion which included the wealthy wives of businessmen and movie stars. Around this time, more women came up as there was now universal suffrage that gave women the right to vote, and also, after the world war, women were bound to come out for the survival of their families as the men of the household were gone to fight the battle. This was the time when androgynous clothing came into being, women cut their hair short and the corsets were now almost obsolete. Flapper style was now highly recognized, worn by everybody.
During this period, feminine dressing got reintroduced. Sophistication and elegance were given importance again. Evening gowns and dresses became popular. This was also when there were more athletic women wearing sportswear and donning all of that graciously. Even today, athleisure is a kind of fashion that looks wonderful on women, female tracksuit buy online.
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