Fashion Is a Reflection of Society’s Pulse

For years, I wandered through clothing stores, feeling disconnected from what I saw. Every time, I would think, “Who would wear this?” The quality seemed questionable, and the styles all felt the same. It was as if every brand followed a few trends with minimal originality. The result? A sea of young people dressed almost identically. Frustrated, I decided to dig deeper, keep reading!

As I dove into my research, I discovered that fashion’s creation is both intricate and fascinating. Although I had worked as a model, I never questioned how fashion worked behind the scenes.

I always imagined that mass market brands and famous designers dictated our tastes. They expose us to specific clothes, use advertisements, and pay influencers to wear their items. This exposure conditions us to find these styles beautiful. However, the reality is the opposite.

Mass Market Plays a Role

Mass market fashion responds to what we need. Brands like H&M and Zara look to two main sources for inspiration.

First, they look at us. Clothing manufacturers aim for maximum profit, so they analyze social media, Google trends, and smartphone data to understand our preferences. There are even agencies that collect and analyze this data, which brands pay handsomely for.

The second source is haute couture, the realm of high fashion houses and world-class designers. After Fashion Week, designers’ new ideas make their way to the design departments of more affordable brands. These ideas are simplified and made cheaper to produce.

The Evolution of Haute Couture

Haute couture might seem strange and impractical, but its origins are rooted in the desire of the elite to distinguish themselves from the masses. Historically, fashion trends were set by royal families and famous tailors.

As society became more equal, the stark differences in clothing diminished. However, financial disparity remains, and today, celebrities often seek to stand out, using haute couture to do so.

Fashion also serves as modern art, reflecting the world through a designer’s prism. What once shocked the industry, like Yves Saint Laurent’s pantsuits in the 1960s, eventually became normalized. Designers draw inspiration from nature, art, books, films, and even street fashion.

Street Fashion and Its Influence

Street fashion plays a crucial role in shaping high fashion. People on the streets, especially in fashion-forward cities like Paris, experiment with their outfits, mixing items from different decades and sources.

Designers notice these authentic and unconventional styles and incorporate them into their collections. Fashion, therefore, mirrors society.

Fashion Reflects Social Changes

Looking back, clothing has always mirrored societal changes. In the 16th to 19th centuries, the aristocracy wore extravagant, restrictive outfits, while workers wore practical clothes. Women’s clothing, in particular, has reflected their social status and rights.

In the mid-1800s, American women wore skirts weighing over 15 pounds, symbolizing their restricted roles. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with the rise of feminism, that women began wearing more comfortable clothes and pants, thanks to designers like Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret.

The industrialization of society also influenced fashion. As women began working, they needed more practical clothing. The World Wars played a significant role, as women working in factories needed comfortable work-wear. Many textiles and clothing types were first developed for the military before they become popular nowadays.

The Impact of Modern Trends

The 1970s hippie revolution marked a significant shift in women’s fashion, with shorts and jeans becoming popular. This period was about more than just clothing, it was about freedom.

Today, we see trends like Kanye West’s tracksuits and oversized sneakers, reflecting our desire for comfort and practicality. The COVID-19 pandemic also influenced fashion, as people spent more time at home and embraced cozy, practical clothing.

Challenges in Fashion Industry

Despite its creativity, the fashion industry faces significant challenges. Designers must produce multiple collections per year, leaving little room for creativity and research.

This pressure leads to burnout and a lack of originality. Young designers, fresh out of art schools, often find their dreams shattered by the industry’s harsh realities.

Also, fashion choices are also influenced by our need to belong. We often wear what we see others wearing, gradually finding new trends beautiful. Marketing taps into this, suggesting we express our individuality with products that millions of others also use. Fashion starts from the streets, gets converted into clothes, and the public decides what stays or fades.

This mini-research transformed my vision of fashion. I now appreciate the intricate dance between society and clothing, how trends are born, and how they die.

Fashion is more than just clothes; it’s a reflection of our world, our values, and our desires. I hope this journey into the world of fashion has been as enlightening for you as it has been for me.

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