Fashion is a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body, or furniture. Fashion is a distinctive and often constant trend in the style in which a person dresses. It is the prevailing styles in behaviour and the newest creations of textile designers. Because the more technical term costume is regularly linked to the term "fashion", the use of the former has been relegated to special senses like fancy dress or masquerade wear, while "fashion" generally means clothing, including the study of it. Although aspects of fashion can be feminine or masculine, some trends are androgynous.
Early Western travelers, traveling whether to Persia, Turkey, India, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in the respective places. The Japanese Shogun's secretary bragged (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years. However, there is considerable evidence in Ming China of rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing. Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change, as occurred in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate, followed by a long period without major changes. In 8th-century Moorish Spain, the musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba sophisticated clothing-styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his own inspiration. Similar changes in fashion occurred in the 11th century in the Middle East following the arrival of the Turks, who introduced clothing styles from Central Asia and the Far East.
The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century, though it should be noted that they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century. The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger. This created the distinctive Western outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers.
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. Art historians are therefore able to use fashion with confidence and precision to date images, often to within five years, particularly in the case of images from the 15th century. Initially, changes in fashion led to a fragmentation across the upper classes of Europe of what had previously been a very similar style of dressing and the subsequent development of distinctive national styles. These national styles remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, mostly originating from Ancien Régime 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, but still uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.
In the 16th century, national differences were at their most pronounced. Ten 16th century portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. Albrecht Dürer illustrated the differences 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 late 16th 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 textile colors and patterns 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 were largely derived from military models, and changes in a European male Silhouette were galvanized in theaters of European war where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles such as the "Steinkirk" cravat or necktie.
Though there had been distribution of dressed dolls from France since the 16th century and Abraham Bosse had produced engravings of fashion in the 1620s, the pace of change picked up in the 1780s with increased publication of French engravings illustrating the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike (or thought they were); local variation became first a sign of provincial culture and later a badge of the conservative peasant.
Although tailors and dressmakers were no doubt responsible for many innovations, and the textile industry certainly led many trends, the history of fashion design is normally understood to date from 1858 when the English-born Charles Frederick Worth opened the first true haute couture house in Paris. The Haute house was the name established by government for the fashion houses that met the standards of industry. These fashion houses have to adhere to standards such as keeping at least twenty employees engaged in making the clothes, showing two collections per year at fashion shows, and presenting a certain number of patterns to costumers. Since then, the idea of the fashion designer as a celebrity in his or her own right has become increasingly dominant.
The idea of unisex dressing originated in the 1960s when designers such as Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich created garments, such as stretch jersey tunics or leggings, meant to be worn by both males and females. The impact of unisex expands more broadly to encompass various themes in fashion including androgyny, mass-market retail, and conceptual clothing. The fashion trends of the 1970s, such as sheepskin jackets, flight jackets, duffel coats, and unstructured clothing influenced men to attend social gatherings without a tuxedo jacket and to accessorize in new ways. Some men's styles blended the sensuality and expressiveness despite the conservative trend, the growing gay-rights movement and an emphasis on youth allowed for a new freedom to experiment with style, fabrics such as wool crepe, which had previously been associated with women's attire was used by designers when creating male clothing.
The four major current fashion capitals are acknowledged to be Paris, Milan, New York City, and London, which are all headquarters to the greatest fashion companies and are renowned for their major influence on global fashion. Fashion weeks are held in these cities, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences. A succession of major designers such as Coco Chanel and Yves Saint-Laurent have kept Paris as the center most watched by the rest of the world, although haute couture is now subsidized by the sale of ready-to-wear collections and perfume using the same branding.
Modern Westerners have a wide number of choices available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect his or her personality or interests. When people who have high cultural status start to wear new or different clothes, a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect these people become influenced by their personal style and begin wearing similarly styled clothes. Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography and may also vary over time. If an older person dresses according to the fashion young people use, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms fashionista and fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows current fashions.
In recent years, Asian fashion has become increasingly significant in local and global markets. Countries such as China, Japan, India, and Pakistan have traditionally had large textile industries, which have often been drawn upon by Western designers, but now Asian clothing styles are also gaining influence based on their own ideas.
The notion of a global fashion industry is a product of the modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothing was custom-made. It was handmade for individuals, either as home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. By the beginning of the 20th century—with the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system of production, and the proliferation of retail outlets such as department stores—clothing had increasingly come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices.
Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, as of 2015, it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold world-wide. For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China and have the clothes manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States, and it remains so in the 21st century. However, U.S. employment declined considerably as production increasingly moved overseas, especially to China. Because data on the fashion industry typically are reported for national economies and expressed in terms of the industry's many separate sectors, aggregate figures for world production of textiles and clothing are difficult to obtain. However, by any measure, the clothing industry accounts for a significant share of world economic output. The fashion industry consists of four levels:
- the production of raw materials, principally fibers and textiles but also leather and fur.
- the production of fashion goods by designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others.
- retail sales
- various forms of advertising and promotion
These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors. These sectors are Textile Design and Production, Fashion Design and Manufacturing, Fashion Retailing, Marketing and Merchandising, Fashion Shows, and Media and Marketing. Each sector is devoted to the goal of satisfying consumer demand for apparel under conditions that enable participants in the industry to operate at a profit.
Fashion trends are influenced by several factors including political, economical, social and technological. Examining these factors is called a PEST analysis. Fashion forecasters can use this information to help determine growth or decline of a particular trend.
Political culture plays a critical role in fashion industry. Political change is reflection of today's fashion. Most of the political events and laws are affecting fashion in a way of creating fashion trend. Considering the relationship between fashion and politics, we can see how fashion is not only a matter of aesthetic but it involves politics as well. Within political references, we can see how fashion can change.
Fashion is a reflection of current or historical events therefore it associates with today and past ‘s politics. For example, the terrorist attacks happened in the United States on September 11, 2001; it was the most tragic political events of the society. This catastrophic event caused horrific consequences which related to political. In a way, fashion trends were also revolutionised.
It is hard to say that 9/11 attacks made a direct influence on fashion industry, it should not be considered as inspiration for fashion designer to forecast the trend. However, after 9/11, fashion designers decided to embrace this challenge and tried to convey the significant lost and depression into a form of fashion trend. In a way, they believe that nation would remember this event more often and cherish every single moment we have. Post 9/11 led comfort dressing to remember and grieve the attacks on 9/11. By doing so, this trend became a form of communication.
Not only did political events make a huge impact on fashion trends but also the political figure played a critical role in forecasting the fashion trend. For example, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was a fashionable icon of the early 1960s who led formal dressing trend. By wearing a Chanel suit, a structural Givenchy shift dress or a soft color Cassini coat with huge buttons, it created her elegant look and led a delicate trend.
Furthermore, political revolution also made impact on fashion trend. For example, during the 1960s the economy had become wealthier, divorce rate was increasing and government approved the birth control pill. This revolution inspired younger generation to rebellion. In 1964, the leg-baring miniskirt has become a major fashion trend of the 1960s. Given that fashion designers began to experiment with the shapes of garment, loose sleeveless, micro-minis, flared skirts, and trumpet sleeves. In this case, mini-skirt trend became an icon of the 1960s.
Moreover, political movement built an impressive relationship with fashion trend. For instance, during Vietnam war, the youth of America made a movement that affected the whole country. In the 1960s, the fashion trend was full of fluorescent colors, prints patterns, bell-bottom jeans, fringed vests, and skirt became a protest outfit of the 1960s. This trend was called Hippie and it is still affecting current fashion trend.
Technology plays a large role in most aspects of today's society. Technological influences are growing more apparent in the fashion industry. Advances and new developments are shaping and creating current and future trends.
Developments such as wearable technology has become an important trend in fashion and will continue with advances such as clothing constructed with solar panels that charge devices and smart fabrics that enhance wearer comfort by changing color or texture based on environmental changes.
The fashion industry is seeing how 3D printing technology has influenced designers such as Iris Van Herpen and Kimberly Ovitz. These designers have been heavily experimenting and developing 3D printed couture pieces. As the technology grows, the 3D printers will become more accessible to designers and eventually consumers, which could potentially shape the fashion industry entirely.
Internet technology such as online retailers and social media platforms have given way for trends to be identified, marketed and sold immediately. Styles and trends are easily conveyed online to attract the trendsetters. Posts on Instagram or Facebook can easily increase awareness about new trends in fashion which can create high demand for specific items or brands, new "buy now button" technology can link these styles with direct sales.
Machine vision technology has been developed to track how fashions spread through society. The industry can now see the direct correlation on how fashion shows influence street-chic outfits. The effects can now be quantified and provide valuable feedback to fashion houses, designers and consumers regarding trends.
Military technology has played an important role in the fashion industry. The camouflage pattern in clothing was developed to help military personal be less visible to enemy forces. A trend emerged in the 1960s and camouflage fabric was introduced to street wear. The camouflage fabric trend disappeared and resurfaced several times since then. Camouflage started to appear in high fashion by the 1990s. Designers such as Valentino, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana combined camouflage into their runway and ready-to-wear collections.
A company called Hyperstealth has said to have created a technology that can make an object or person invisible. "Quantum Stealth" is a light bending technology and can mask thermal and infrared signs. The company has continued developing this technology, but due to safety and legal concerns minimal information has been released to the public. This technology will not be quickly introduced into the commercial market, but the companies other projects such as non-powered color changing camouflage materials may be. Additional projects such as using interactive or intelligent technology sources that will be embedding into textiles will adjust to surroundings such as weather. As these developments proceed, consumers may see a more modern and technical way of wearing camouflage.
These are just a few technological developments that have begun to influence fashion trends.
Fashion trend is influenced by different factors and incidents happening in our environment. Art, music, and popular culture influence fashion trend and how its penetrate into our everyday lives. High end fashion is more creative, while high street fashion is more commercial. However, both high end and high street fashion reflect trends that are happening in our society as a whole. Fashion trends are both aesthetic and expressive values that showcase our personal statement.
The relationship between the body and fashion is central to promoting particular values about the self to society. People use fashion as a way of assigning themselves into different values held by a particular group of people within a given society. Fashion trend goes beyond the aesthetic values, it emerges as an expressive tool for designers to deliver their message about the society. With the influence of social media, celebrities and bloggers, their voice are easily being heard and have impact on fashion and trend at any time. Fashion and music are inseparable. Prabal Gurung highlighted the importance of music to his shows, saying "each season we want to tell a story for 10 minutes…. the perfect harmony between cloths and music allows this". Music is a representation of fashion that expresses the abstract design concept into relatable harmony for viewers. H&M work with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to develop a clothing collection. From the success of its first collaboration at 2015, which gives confidence for the brand to continuous launch this collection again this year. At Coachella, fashion and music express an energy that belongs to the festival and music goers. The collective trend and style that symbolize the energy and personality.
Fashion relates to social and cultural context of an environment. According to Matika, "Elements of popular culture become fused when a person's trend is associated with a preference for a genre of music…like music, news or literature, fashion has been fused into everyday lives." Fashion is not only seen as pure aesthetic values; fashion is also a medium for performers to create an overall atmosphere and express their opinions altogether through music video. The latest music video ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé, according to Carlos, "The pop star pays homage to her Creole root.... tracing the roots of the Louisiana cultural nerve center from the post-abolition era to present day, Beyoncé catalogs the evolution of the city's vibrant style and its tumultuous history all at once. Atop a New Orleans police car in a red-and-white Gucci high-collar dress and combat boots, she sits among the ruins of Hurricane Katrina, immediately implanting herself in the biggest national debate on police brutality and race relations in modern day."
Runway show is a reflection of fashion trend and a designer's thought. For designer like Vivienne Westwood, runway show is a platform for her voice on politics and current events. For her AW15 menswear show, according to Water, "where models with severely bruised faces channeled eco-warriors on a mission to save the planet." Another recent example is a staged feminist protest march for Chanel's SS15 show, rioting models chanting words of empowerment with signs like "Feminist but feminine" and "Ladies first." According to Water, "The show tapped into Chanel's long history of championing female independence: founder Coco Chanel was a trailblazer for liberating the female body in the post-WWI era, introducing silhouettes that countered the restrictive corsets then in favour."
"Less is more." is the main idea of minimalist fashion. Minimalism is a philosophy of dressing that has endured for decades, and is probably best recognized today by the general public through the fashion houses of Jil Sander, Balenciaga, and Calvin Klein. Calvin Klein really has captured the minimalist movement in America during the 1990s. While the clothes are simple and have a reduction on color pallet, there is a very sexual and grunge feel to his designs.
Simple, function, and original are the key components to describe minimalism. Clean lines, functionality have always been hallmarks of the style. It depends as the mainstream fashion of 90s, Calvin Klein is a well-known examples for minimalistic style. They create easy clothes for modern women which use executed cut to emphasize shape and neutral color are the major color tone.
90s fashion has re-emerged the black and white palette prevalently as a defining duo on today's runways. The all-white look is another 90s favorite look which is impacting a rise in neutrals in today's fashion as well. Minimalism is also a catalyst for the rise of activewear influences. This trend introduces the bandeau and sports bra tops, bomber jackets and racerback details in high fashion collections during that era and it returns to runways and streets today.
Sheer is a key material during the minimalist movement. It emerges in a wide range of applications, from an overlay to a full garment. The trend for transparency keeps to continue as a focus of designer collections every since then. Besides sheer fabrics, metallic materials also bring the interest to the sparse shapes of the era. It is a trend that reflects in the rave culture and bridging the grunge musician and the fans. Reflective has returned on recent runway and also on current streets with a range of metal.
Crop top is the most democratic garment that connecting the movements of minimalist, grunge, hip-hop and R&B culture and turning up on everyone from Mariah Carey and Spice Girls to the top fashion icons. Another defining looks to emerge from minimalist era is the idea of underwear as outerwear. Camisoles and slip dresses were introduced to the market and it became a quintessential of the 90s in contemporary fashion.
Minimalism style is much more than a trend, it becomes a zeitgeist. Designers such as Stella McCartney follows the suit with pragmatic tailoring in neutral palettes, Alexander Wang starts to show pared-down activewear in black, white and grey. Even Victoria Beckham turns to strict silhouettes from the bling wave. Minimalism never goes away. Shapes are plain, femininity is the leader, Color and sculpted shapes speak louder than extra decorative accessories.
As we undergo a global economic downturn, the "Spend now, think later" belief is getting less relevant in our society. Today's consumer tends to be more mindful about consumption, looking for just enough and better, more durable options. People have also become more conscious of the impact their everyday consumption has on the environment and society. They're looking for ways to mediate their material desires with an aim to do more good in the world. A linear economy is slowly shifting to a circular one.
In today's linear economical system, manufacturers extract resources from the earth to make products that will soon be discarded in landfills, on the other hand, under the circular model, the production of goods operates like systems in nature, where the waste and demise of a substance becomes the food and source of growth for something new. Companies such as MUD Jeans, which is based in the Netherlands employs a leasing scheme for jeans. This Dutch company "represents a new consuming philosophy that is about using instead of owning," according to MUD's website. The concept also protects the company from volatile cotton prices. Consumers pay €7.50 a month for a pair of jeans; after a year, they can return the jeans to Mud, trade them for a new pair and start another year-long lease, or keep them. MUD is responsible for any repairs during the lease period. Another ethical fashion company, Patagonia set up the first multi-seller branded store on EBay in order to facilitate secondhand sales; consumers who take the Common Threads pledge can sell in this store and have their gear listed on Patagonia.com's "Used Gear" section.
China's domestic spending
Consumption as a share of gross domestic product in China has fallen for six decades, from 76 percent in 1952 to 28 percent in 2011. China plans to reduce tariffs on a number of consumer goods and expand its 72-hour transit visa plan to more cities in an effort to stimulate domestic consumption.
The announcement of import tax reductions follows changes in June 2015, when the government cut the tariffs on clothing, cosmetics and various other goods by half. Among the changes — easier tax refunds for overseas shoppers and accelerated openings of more duty-free shops in cities covered by the 72-hour visa scheme. The 72-hour visa was introduced in Beijing and Shanghai in January 2013 and has been extended to 18 Chinese cities.
According to reports at the same time, Chinese consumer spending in other countries such as Japan has slowed even though the yen has dropped. There is clearly a trend in the next 5 years that the domestic fashion market will show an increase.
In fashion trends and forecasting, consumer is king. What does a consumer really want? Understanding the consumer is a vital part of the fashion world, without them products cannot be sold. First, it is important to note the difference between a consumer's needs and a consumer's wants. A need of a consumer is a desire to obtain a product or service, that is either for an emotional or functional reason. A ‘want’ differs from a consumer's ‘need’ by the consumer's desire to have a product or service that is not necessary, the consumer just wishes they had it. The success of a fashion company and the prediction of future trends is dependent on addressing its consumers’ needs.
Consumers all have different needs and demands that have to be suited. A person's needs change frequently, which is why fashion trends even exist. An important factor to take into consideration when thinking of consumers’ needs is the key demographics of the customer. Gender, age, income, and even profession can help a company better understand the needs of their customers.
For example, a woman who is pregnant could be looking for diapers, baby strollers, and maternity clothes. Her needs would differ greatly from a woman with children that just went off to college or a teen entering high school.
Often consumers need to be told what they want. Fashion companies have to do their research to ensure they know its customers’ needs before developing solutions. Steve Jobs said, "You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You cannot start with the technology and try to figure out where you are going to sell it".
The best way to understand the consumers’ needs and therefore predict fashion trends is through market research. There are two research methods: primary and secondary. Secondary methods are taking other information that has already been collected, for example using a book or an article for research. Primary research is collecting data through surveys, interviews, observation, and/or focus groups.
Benefits of primary research is specific information about a fashion brand's consumer is explored. Surveys are helpful tools; questions can be open-ended or closed-ended. A negative factor surveys and interviews present is that the answers can be biased, due to wording in the survey or on face-to-face interactions. Focus groups, about 8 to 12 people, can be beneficial because several points can be addressed in depth. However, there are drawbacks to this tactic, too. With such a small sample size, it is hard to know if the greater public would react the same way as the focus group. Observation can really help a company gain insight on what a consumer truly wants. There is less of a bias because consumers are just performing their daily tasks, not necessarily realizing they are being observed. For example, observing the public by taking street style photos of people, the consumer did not get dressed in the morning knowing that would have their photo taken necessarily. They just wear what they would normally wear. Through observation patterns can be seen, helping trend forecasters know what their target market needs and wants.
Knowing the needs of the consumers will increase a fashion companies’ sales and profits. Through research and studying the consumers’ lives the needs of the customer can be obtained and help fashion brands know what trends the consumers are ready for.
The media plays a significant role when it comes to fashion. For instance, an important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique, guidelines, and commentary can be found on television and in magazines, newspapers, fashion websites, Social network, and fashion blogs. In recent years, fashion blogging and YouTube videos have become a major outlet for spreading trends and fashion tips, creating an online culture of sharing one's style on a website or Instagram account. Through these media outlets readers and viewers all over the world can learn about fashion, making it very accessible.
At the beginning of the 20th century, fashion magazines began to include photographs of various fashion designs 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 in clothing. 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 United States 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 color 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 in the 1990s. One such example of Vogue's popularity is the younger version, Teen Vogue, which covers clothing and trends that are targeted more toward the "fashionista on a budget". Haute couture designers followed the trend by starting ready-to-wear and perfume lines which are heavily advertised in the magazines and now dwarf their original couture businesses. A recent development within fashion print media is the rise of text-based and critical magazines which aim to prove that fashion is not superficial, by creating a dialogue between fashion academia and the industry. Examples of this trend are: Fashion Theory (1997) and Vestoj (2009). 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 such as Fashion Television started to appear. FashionTV was the pioneer in this undertaking and has since grown to become the leader in both Fashion Television and new media channels.
However, over the past several years, fashion websites have developed that merge traditional editorial writing with user-generated content. Online magazines like iFashion Network and Runway Magazine, led by Nole Marin from America's Next Top Model, have begun to dominate the market with digital copies for computers, iPhones, and iPads. Example platforms include Apple and Android for such applications.
A few days after the 2010 Fall Fashion Week in New York City came to a close, The New Islander's Fashion Editor, Genevieve Tax, criticized the fashion industry for running on a seasonal schedule of its own, largely at the expense of real-world consumers. "Because designers release their fall collections in the spring and their spring collections in the fall, fashion magazines such as Vogue always and only look forward to the upcoming season, promoting parkas come September while issuing reviews on shorts in January", she writes. "Savvy shoppers, consequently, have been conditioned to be extremely, perhaps impractically, farsighted with their buying."
The fashion industry has been the subject of numerous films and television shows, including the reality show Project Runway and the drama series Ugly Betty. Specific fashion brands have been featured in film, not only as product placement opportunities, but as bespoke items that have subsequently led to trends in fashion.
Videos in general have been very useful in promoting the fashion industry. This is evident not only from television shows directly spotlighting the fashion industry, but also movies, events and music videos which showcase fashion statements as well as promote specific brands through product placements.
Public relations and social media
Fashion public relations involves being in touch with a company's audiences and creating strong relationships with them, reaching out to media and initiating messages that project positive images of the company. Social media plays an important role in modern-day fashion public relations; enabling practitioners to reach a wide range of consumers through various platforms.
Building brand awareness and credibility is a key implication of good public relations. In some cases, great hype is built about new designers' collections before they are released into the market, due to the immense exposure generated by practitioners. Social media, such as blogs, micro blogs, podcasts, photo and video sharing sites have all become increasingly important to fashion public relations. The interactive nature of these platforms allows practitioners to engage and communicate with publics in real time, and tailor their clients’ brand or campaign messages to the target audience. With blogging platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, Wordpress, and other sharing sites, bloggers have emerged as expert fashion commentators, shaping brands and having a great impact on what is ‘on trend’. Women in the fashion public relations industry such as Sweaty Betty PR founder Roxy Jacenko and Oscar de la Renta's PR girl Erika Bearman, have acquired copious amounts of followers on their social media sites, by providing a brand identity and a behind the scenes look into the companies they work for.
Social media is changing the way practitioners deliver messages, as they are concerned with the media, and also customer relationship building. PR practitioners must provide effective communication among all platforms, in order to engage fashion publics in an industry socially connected via online shopping. Consumers have the ability to share their purchases on their personal social media pages (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and if practitioners deliver the brand message effectively and meet the needs of its publics, word-of-mouth publicity will be generated and potentially provide a wide reach for the designer and their products.
Anthropology, the study of culture and human societies, studies fashion by asking why certain styles are deemed socially appropriate and others are not. A certain way is chosen and that becomes the fashion as defined by a certain people as a whole, so if a particular style has a meaning in an already occurring set of beliefs that style will become fashion. According to Ted Polhemus and Lynn Procter, fashion can be described as adornment, of which there are two types: fashion and anti-fashion. Through the capitalization and commoditisation of clothing, accessories, and shoes, etc., what once constituted anti-fashion becomes part of fashion as the lines between fashion and anti-fashion are blurred.
The definition of fashion and anti-fashion is as follows: Anti-fashion is fixed and changes little over time. Anti-fashion is different depending on the cultural or social group one is associated with or where one lives, but within that group or locality the style changes little. Fashion is the exact opposite of anti-fashion. Fashion changes very quickly and is not affiliated with one group or area of the world but is spread out throughout the world wherever people can communicate easily with each other. For example, Queen Elizabeth II's 1953 coronation gown is an example of anti-fashion because it is traditional and does not change over any period whereas a gown from fashion designer Dior's collection of 1953 is fashion because the style will change every season as Dior comes up with a new gown to replace the old one. In the Dior gown the length, cut, fabric, and embroidery of the gown change from season to season. Anti-fashion is concerned with maintaining the status quo while fashion is concerned with social mobility. Time is expressed in terms of continuity in anti-fashion and as change in fashion. Fashion has changing modes of adornment while anti-fashion has fixed modes of adornment. Indigenous and peasant modes of adornment are an example of anti-fashion. Change in fashion is part of the larger system and is structured to be a deliberate change in style.
Today, people in rich countries are linked to people in poor countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. People work long hours in one area of the globe to produce things that people in another part of the globe are anxious to consume. An example of this is the chain of production and consumption of Nike shoes, which are produced in Taiwan and then purchased in North America. At the production end, there is nation-building a hard working ideology that leads people to produce and entices people to consume with a vast amount of goods for the offering. Commodities are no longer just utilitarian but are fashionable, be they running shoes or sweat suits.
The change from anti-fashion to fashion because of the influence of western consumer-driven civilization can be seen in eastern Indonesia. The ikat textiles of the Ngada area of eastern Indonesia are changing because of modernization and development. Traditionally, in the Ngada area there was no idea similar to that of the Western idea of fashion, but anti-fashion in the form of traditional textiles and ways to adorn oneself were widely popular. Textiles in Indonesia have played many roles for the local people. Textiles defined a person's rank and status; certain textiles indicated being part of the ruling class. People expressed their ethnic identity and social hierarchy through textiles. Because some Indonesians bartered ikat textiles for food, the textiles constituted economic goods, and as some textile design motifs had spiritual religious meanings, textiles were also a way to communicate religious messages.
In eastern Indonesia, both the production and use of traditional textiles have been transformed as the production, use and value associated with textiles have changed due to modernization. In the past, women produced the textiles either for home consumption or to trade with others. Today, this has changed as most textiles are not being produced at home. Western goods are considered modern and are valued more than traditional goods, including the sarong, which retain a lingering association with colonialism. Now, sarongs are used only for rituals and ceremonial occasions, whereas western clothes are worn to church or government offices. Civil servants working in urban areas are more likely than peasants to make the distinction between western and traditional clothes. Following Indonesia's independence from the Dutch, people increasingly started buying factory made shirts and sarongs. In textile-producing areas the growing of cotton and production of naturally colored thread became obsolete. Traditional motifs on textiles are no longer considered the property of a certain social class or age group. Wives of government officials are promoting the use of traditional textiles in the form of western garments such as skirts, vests and blouses. This trend is also being followed by the general populace, and whoever can afford to hire a tailor is doing so to stitch traditional ikat textiles into western clothes. Thus, traditional textiles are now fashion goods and are no longer confined to the black, white and brown colour palette but come in array of colours. Traditional textiles are also being used in interior decorations and to make handbags, wallets and other accessories, which are considered fashionable by civil servants and their families. There is also a booming tourist trade in the eastern Indonesian city of Kupang where international as well as domestic tourists are eager to purchase traditionally printed western goods.
The use of traditional textiles for fashion is becoming big business in eastern Indonesia, but these traditional textiles are losing their ethnic identity markers and are being used as an item of fashion.
In the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry. Robert Glariston, an intellectual property expert, mentioned in a fashion seminar held in LA that "Copyright law regarding clothing is a current hot-button issue in the industry. We often have to draw the line between designers being inspired by a design and those outright stealing it in different places." To take inspiration from others' designs contributes to the fashion industry's ability to establish clothing trends. For the past few years, WGSN has been a dominant source of fashion news and forecasts in encouraging fashion brands worldwide to be inspired by one another. 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 this process of trend-making would, in this view, be counter-productive. On the other hand, 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.
Since fakes are distinguishable by their poorer quality, there is still a demand for luxury goods, and as only a trademark or logo can be copyrighted, many fashion brands make this one of the most visible aspects of the garment or accessory. In handbags, especially, the designer's brand may be woven into the fabric (or the lining fabric) from which the bag is made, making the brand an intrinsic element of the bag.
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.
Fashion may be used to promote a cause, such as to promote healthy behavior, to raise money for a cancer cure, or to raise money for local charities such as the Juvenile Protective Association or a children's hospice.
One up-and-coming fashion cause is trashion, which is using trash to make clothes, jewelery, and other fashion items in order to promote awareness of pollution. There are a number of modern trashion artists such as Marina DeBris, Ann Wizer, and Nancy Judd.
Fashion has come a long way and the fashion industry has been broadened to include cultural fashions as well as different platforms for designers to showcase their work. Indigenous Fashion Week in Australia, for example, has been created and introduced to the public as a way for indigenous designers to embrace their cultural and traditional clothing and create new trends in fashion to share with the world.
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