Fashion

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The term fashion usually applies to a prevailing mode of expression, but quite often applies to a personal mode of expression that may or may not adhere to prevailing ideals. Inherent in the term is the idea that the mode will change more quickly than the culture as a whole. The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current popular mode of expression. The term "fashion" is frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness. The term "fashion" is also sometimes used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads, trends, and materialism.

Fashions are social psychology phenomena common to many fields of human activity and thinking. The rises and falls of fashions have been especially documented and examined in the following fields:

Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion". The more general term "costume" has been relegated by many to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing and costume. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the industrialized world.

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[edit] Fashion and variation

Image:ADurerNuremburgVenetianWomen.jpg
Albrecht Dürer's drawing contrasts a well-turned out bourgeoisie from Nuremberg (left) with her counterpart from Venice, in 1496-97. The Venetian lady's high chopines make her taller.

The European idea of fashion as a personal statement rather than a cultural expression begins in the 16th century: ten portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. But the local culture still set the bounds, as Albrecht Dürer recorded in his actual or composite contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). Fashions among upper-class Europeans began to move in synchronicity in the 18th century; though colors and patterns of textiles changed from year to year, (Thornton), 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 derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette are galvanized in theatres of European war, where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles: an example is the "Steinkirk" cravat (a necktie) (see Cravat).

The pace of change picked up in the 1780s with the publication of French engravings that showed the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike: local variation became first a sign of provincial culture, and then a badge of the conservative peasant (James Laver; Fernand Braudel).

Fashion in clothes has allowed wearers to express emotion or solidarity with other people for millennia. Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person's personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style.

Fashions may vary significantly within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The term "fashion victim" refers to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions (implementations of fashion).

One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.)

  • Thornton, Peter. Baroque and Rococo Silks.

This is an example list of some of the fads and trends of the 21st century: Capri pants, handbags, sport suits and sports jackets, ripped jeans, designer jeans, blazer jackets, and high-heeled shoes.

See also: History of Western fashion

[edit] Fashion and the process of change

Fashion, by definition, changes constantly. The changes may proceed more rapidly than in most other fields of human activity (language, thought, etc). For some, modern fast-paced changes in fashion embody many of the negative aspects of capitalism: it results in waste and encourages people qua consumers to buy things unnecessarily. Others, especially young people, enjoy the diversity that changing fashion can apparently provide, seeing the constant change as a way to satisfy their desire to experience "new" and "interesting" things. Note too that fashion can change to enforce uniformity, as in the case where so-called Mao suits became the national uniform of mainland China.

At the same time there remains an equal or larger range designated (at least currently) 'out of fashion'. (These or similar fashions may cyclically come back 'into fashion' in due course, and remain 'in fashion' again for a while.)

Practically every aspect of appearance that can be changed has been changed at some time, for example skirt lengths ranging from ankle to mini, etc. In the past, new discoveries and lesser-known parts of the world could provide an impetus to change fashions based on the exotic: Europe in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, for example, might favor things Turkish at one time, things Chinese at another, and things Japanese at a third. A modern version of exotic clothing includes club wear. Globalization has reduced the options of exotic novelty in more recent times, and has seen the introduction of non-Western wear into the Western world.

Fashion houses and their associated fashion designers, as well as high-status consumers (including celebrities), appear to have some role in determining the rates and directions of fashion change.

[edit] Fashion and the media

An important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique and commentary can be found in magazines, on television, fashion websites and in fashion blogs.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, fashion magazines began to include photographs 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. 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).

High fashion did not become popular among the general population until it started getting featured on television; few designers were household names, models weren’t famous and fashion shows were not the celebrity driven extravaganzas of today. It began in the 1950s with small fashion how-tos during commercial breaks. In the 1960s and 1970s, fashion segments on various entertainment shows became more frequent, and by the 1980s, dedicated fashion shows like FashionTelevision started to appear.

Fashion made its debut on the world wide web in January 1995 with the launch of Fashion Net by Stig Harder in Paris, France. However, the longest running on-line fashion site is Lookonline.com published by Ernest Schmatolla that was officially launched as a BBS first on December 4, 1994. In the mid 1990s, the Internet was still largely a research network populated by academics. But the strong appeal of this entirely new medium was made evident by the pioneering efforts of fashion's early entrants and soon both independent and established fashion publishers, designers and visual artists were online. As Nick Knight - possibly the very first fashion photographer to embrace the Internet - succinctly put it, it showed great potential over "yet another glossy picture in a magazine."

[edit] Quotes

"Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." - Coco Chanel
"Etiquette are for those without manners, in the same way as fashion is for those without style." - Coco Chanel
"We only move style forward if we reflect on the past and indulge in the present." - Uriel Saenz
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde
"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize." - Olympia Dukakis

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

da:Mode de:Mode es:Moda et:Mood fr:Mode (habillement) it:Moda (cultura) nl:Mode ja:ファッション pl:Moda pt:Moda ru:Мода scn:Moda sk:Móda sl:Moda fi:Muoti sv:Mode tr:Moda zh:时尚

Fashion

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