Monday, June 20, 2011

History repeats itself-Do our political and econimic climates affect fashion trends?

If you're anything like me, you are very much aware of how fashion trends change and very often repeat themselves in various forms.  Fashion is not just about fabrics; to me it is a clear reflection of our state of being at the time.  It is a tangible mirroring of the creative process in which we make due with what we have (or don't have) during periods of our lives.  Evidence of this can be seen throughout some of the most significant eras in history.

Take the 1940's for instance.  A time of war, when many men were away from home laying in trenches, draped in uniform and others were back home with limited resources.  Fabrics were no longer a thing of abundance and quickly became rationed since most popular fabrics were a necessity for war uniforms and other military efforts. One thing that always keeps on- is fashion.  And so the public responded:  Home sewing boomed, dresses and outfits became more plain while other facets of fashion became the highlight of any person's style.  On top of more plain dresses and such, many could not afford to have an array of dresses to choose from.  One aspect of women's fashion that began to change as a result was hair-yes hair.  Bigger, more intricate hair. We all know how hair can be a great easy and pocket friendly way to vamp up any look and women of the 1940's certainly put this into practice. (and I am so glad they did because they were FABULOUS)  One of the most known features of 1940's hair is a roll worn in the hair called a victory roll. Victory rolls are made by winding the hair around your fingers to form a loop and  you then stick the ends of the hair inside the loop. You then hold the hair secure while you roll inwards towards your head and once you have reached your head, you spread the loop out so that it then looks like a roll.  Wah-lah!: instead strand hotness.

With the rise of big hair (a result of limited resources due to economic and political situations) came the rise of the shoulder pad.  A broad shoulder matched by a small waist became a desirable appearance amongst women's fashion.  This being a result out of a need to balance the silhouette (since hair was becoming bigger and more and more elaborate).  Funny how what are now known as 1940 fashion staples were not just a thing of textiles and design, but really were derived out of needs created by social, economic and political climates.

And so our generation finds ourselves in our own version of a political and economic situation.  One that affects our ability shop as freely and as impulsively as we may once have during less worrying times.  How are we responding?  We've begun to see a rise in the trend of what is called 'color blocking' and even 'print blocking' mixing colors, fabrics and prints that we may not have done not so long ago but would have been more popular in previous decades before us.  Could these trends be a result, an answer and the fashion societies way of dealing and coping with our current situation? ; The mixing of colors and prints could be a way of using what you have in your closet at this very moment in a creative and stylistic way to make it new.

In the famous words of CoCo Chanel :  ''Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only, Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.''

What are your thoughts?   How have you used fashion to respond to the way the current situation has affected you?

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