At spring and fall runway shows, fashion designers showcase their designs to photographers, writers, buyers, and celebrities. The photos and fashion features the writers and photographers produce as well as the purchasing action taken by retail buyers and fashion-forward celebrities influence the way in which the mass population receives the designer’s work.
Other designers draw their inspiration from these fashion designers and create affordable designs for the mass market. The fashion trend then continues in malls, shopping centers and boutiques around the area. Some trends start in one country and span multiple countries, while others remain confined to one region.
Fashion Trends 1960-Present
Fashion in the 1960s reflected the cultural and political upheaval of the time. The hippie and counterculture movement gave rise to accessories like Pocahontas-style headbands and medallions worn around the neck. Hippies wore long, loosely fitting clothing, often in natural fabrics. Hemlines rose as Mary Quant popularized the miniskirt and hot pants in her lines for JC Penney. And mod fashion, with brightly colored space-age geometric patterns, shift dresses and colored tights became the mainstream. Both miniskirts and mod-shift dresses were worn with knee-high go-go boots.
During the 1970s, the loose-fitting hippie clothes of the prior decade gave way to exotic fabrics and bell-bottom jeans for men and women. Hemlines continued to rise and hot pants continued their popularity, reflecting the flashy style of the decade. However, the 1970s also saw the popularity of a longer hemline, from mid-calf to ankle-length. Women wore peasant-style clothing, especially blouses with off-the-shoulder necklines and lace trim, with their jeans or skirts. Embroidered clothing became especially popular with this trend. Disco fashion emerged, featuring bright patterns and tightly fitting clothing meant to show off the body. Platform shoes elevated their wearer, male or female, anywhere from two to four inches or more.
The carefree disco movement inspired its antithesis, the angry punk movement. Fueled by designers like Vivienne Westwood and bands like the Sex Pistols, the punk movement was an aggressive reaction to the economic and political situation of the time. With dyed Mohawks, studded and spiked leather jackets, combat boots and body piercings, punks were everything the glamorous and decadent disco-loving mainstream was not. Punk clothing often had a ‘do it yourself’ quality. Safety pins replaced buttons or seams, and details like studs or spikes were added to pants and jackets by the wearer.
Miniskirts were made in denim, leather and knit fabrics and were often worn over leggings. The movie Flashdance popularized dancewear, ripped sweatshirts and leg warmers for daywear. And entertainer Madonna made exposed undergarments, fishnet stockings, gloves, and layers of beaded necklaces in vogue. Accessories for women were large, gaudy and brightly colored. It became socially acceptable for cosmopolitan women to showcase their wealth through the value of their jewelry. Glasses and sunglasses with large, plastic frames were worn by both sexes.
Other fashion trends included acid-washed jeans or parachute pants, jean jackets, polo shirts with the collar up, high-top shoes, and baggy blazers with the sleeves rolled up. And throughout the 1980s, athletic shoes became increasingly prized, rising in price as well as popularity.
The neon colors of the 1980s gave way to hypercolor clothing, which changed colors according to the temperature. And the big hair so omnipresent in the 1980s completely changed a decade later, with long, straight hair achieving mass popularity. Women wore spaghetti-strap slip dresses over tee shirts as well as babydoll dresses, especially with thigh-high stockings. Navel piercings became popular with women, which coincided with the emergence of belly shirts that exposed the midriff. Chunky platform shoes were all the rage, with layers of rubber soles that made the wearer look taller. Jeans became baggier as hip-hop emerged onto the music scene, often in brightly dyed colors like red or green. And men began to sag their pants, wearing their pants baggy and below the hips or rear.
At the start of the 21st century, individuality again resurfaced. Technology like cell phones and MP3 players became more commonplace, regardless of socioeconomic status.
The Evolution of Fashion
Fashion has been and continues to be a reflection of society and current events. Fashion trends are influenced by popular figures in culture like celebrities, musicians and other high-profile individuals. Current fashion trends are often cyclical, taking cues from decades past and reworking them to fit within modern tastes. Clothing styles that were snubbed a decade ago are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
Just like disco fashion inspired the punk movement, mainstream trends continue to coexist with underground fashion trends. And trend forecasting is now a profession; high-profile designers, writers and photographers rely on these tastemakers to predict the next popular style, but this is no exact science. Even these trend forecasters, however, rely on some degree of instinct. And modern fashion trends are less widespread and universal than they were in decades past. Today, individuality has come into vogue.
How Well Do You Know Your Designers?
You know the difference between Roberto Cavalli, Just Cavalli and Roberto Cavalli Class boutiques, but did you know that the famous fashion designer also launched a premium vodka brand?