Whereas traditional costume is a uniform that separates certain social and regional groups from each other; it symbolizes community and consistency; it rarely ever changes. It does not reflect person’s individuality, but shows membership within a certain community. Costume takes place in traditional societies; it is timeless, never fashionable. Dress not only reflects social status, but gender too. But that was not always the case. Until the era of romanticism women and men’s clothing look the same; long and draping the entire body.
Only in 14th century the difference began to appear.
Clothes became more figure hugging and became more varied and colorful. From then on, fashion grew in a frequent transformation between male and female elements. There was not fixed norm that indicated what might be considered male and female. Definitely, the idea of “male” and “female” is always changing, and fashion adds to it greatly. Again, in 17th and 18th centuries men’s fashion was just as important as women’s.
It was similar in style and just as magnificent. Men as well as women were targeted by the church stating that fashion was just frivolous vanity.
It all changed after the French Revolution in the absolutely middle-class 19th century. ‘ Fashion is obsessed with gender, defines and re-defines the gender boundary’ (E. wilson, 1985 p. 115,116) “At the same time men and womenwere drawn back into few norms of anonymity, locked into the impersonal difference of gender more strictly than before,” (E. wilson, 1985 p. 155, 156. ) The divide between male and female clothing became deeper than ever before in the Western history. Men wore dark suits that barely changed in style up to the present. They did not dress fashionably; they dressed seriously.
Their dress sense stated that earning money was a serious business. Instead of dressing up themselves, men lavished their women with plush clothing, showing off their wealth. But now, the divide between maleness and femaleness is changing again; men are more interested in fashion now, although there is nothing there that shows that relationship between the sexes, in terms of fashion, is balanced. With changes in fashion the awareness, therefore the presentation of the naked female body, have changed. If laced up waists and padded hips are trendy then women have tiny waists and curvy hips.
If the breasts are laced up, this means women have small breasts. This only confirms that fashion creates a second, fabricated body. First it does that materially by adorning a body with fabrics, and second by presenting it as an image of a true, biological body that we perceive as a human body. “In constructing identity fashion is not, however, concerned only with gender. If, as I suggested earlier, the self in all aspects appears threatened in modern society, then fashion becomes an important – indeed a vital – medium in the recreationof the lost self or ‘decentered subject’ .
” (E. wilson, 1985 p. 122). Biological body has been changing during the centuries through biology, medicine or even through fashion. How we perceive the beauty or ugliness of it depends on cultural attitudes to the ideal of the appearance. So fashion neither can nor tries to state the “natural” body, because what is regarded as natural is continuously reshaped. Fashion creates fictitious body that matches aesthetic and erotic ideals rather than social and practical requirements. That body effects the way we perceive the “natural body” and the way we think it should be adorned.
This way fashion constantly creates new aesthetic and erotic ideal of the body, which makes it as a form of applied art. The art that does not have a full autonomy, but a specific aim: to dress body appropriately. Fashion has very little to do with naturalness, although it sometimes uses its ideas. For example, the crinolines of the 19th century were more or less natural than sack dresses of the twenties, miniskirts of the sixties or the current trend of transparent garments. But the female body experienced its greatest liberation in the beginning of the 20th century.
Women were more involved in public activities such as sports, travelling, work and going out. Their dresses appeared to become more functional, which resulted in the new perception of beauty. Simple lines and shapes became increasingly appealing, plush outfits were not regarded elegant any more. Fashion became more figure fitting; less corsets or padding were worn. The phenomenon was universal, although in the fifties corsets were back again. But in the early 20th century women’s fashion got rid of most of its restraints.
The liberation of the female body brought many advantages in fashion that we see today. It can create a variety of styles and shapes that are inspired by everything around us: art, literature, space travel, computers, youth culture, sexual practices such as fetishism and so on. Everything can be fashionable today; therefore fashion is a big part of our life and an essential part of our culture whether we accept it or not. Fashion cannot be destroyed without ruining the nature of our culture, which is just like fashion, portrayed by its ephemera and unpredictability.
The world we live in changes its various images with frantic speed; therefore fashions do the same to create a new space for new ones, even if it is something old in a new form. Like literature, film and painting, fashion is a vital part of the artistic tradition to create images in our culture. It is a strong proof of our own self-belief that we are able to control our being by determining our outer appearance. Therefore, fashion is not only what the famous couturiers create; they only realize their artistic ambitions by creating new ideas. Often, their designs are neither even wearable nor saleable.
Haute couture only promotes new ideas. Then these ideas are realized into readily wearable clothing by mass production industry in all price ranges. “Supply is the amount of goods available at a given price at any time. ?Demand is how many consumers desire the goods that are in supply. ” ? In the present existing scenario, our identity in only from the products we consume. What we buy defines our standard and class. Consumption is a complex process under which lies the arena of fashion. Fashion helps us to investigate and allows us to examine the working of the society.
In the past decades, fashion was restricted leading to no choice, but today the set-up has changed. Apparently, today there are no rules or a defined style because there are so many choices. The consumer is manipulated by the new developments and strategies of business enterprises. For example, in the fashion industry the new emerging trends and lifestyles are carefully interpreted by the fashion designers into fashion concepts and then translated to into fashion commodities. The fashion industry has moulded a culture where what defines a person depends upon what labels he or she is wearing.
Today, even though our society is claimed to be transitioned to a consumer-oriented society, to a large extent, it’s the manufacturers who set the fashion agenda. The goods are intelligently produced for a certain ‘type’ of consumers by different brands. Mass production of standardised goods is more beneficial to its manufacturers than to the consumers. For example, the leading Irish clothing retailer, Primark targets young, fashion-conscious under 35s, offering them high quality, fashion basics at value for money prices.
It is by far the only fashion brand in Britain, which displays new fashion every week. The company’s success of a turnover of i?? 1,933m (2008) is based on sourcing supply cheaply, making clothes with simple designs and fabrics and only making them in the most popular sizes. Companies today, instead of investing huge amounts of money on the mass production of a single product, build intelligent systems of labour and machines are flexible and could quickly respond to the whims of the market. The immense variety of choices leads to even more rapid changes.
These are high street “labels” that are manufactured in countries with cheap labour then sold at low prices and fast in developed countries in order make new space for the newest trends. It all makes us realize that Fashion is everywhere and there is no way to escape it.
Bibliography: Lehnert, Gertrud, FASHION: A concise history. London: Laurence King Publishing, 1999. Wilson, Elizabeth, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. London: Virago, 1985. Fashion-era. com The site is owned, designed, written and developed by Pauline Weston Thomas and Guy Thomas.
Cite this essay
Fashion is everchanging. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/fashion-is-everchanging-9607-new-essay