fashion designer

THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

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THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

387132-plus-size-modelsIt is important to note that finally many designers are beginning to create and design outfits for not only the plus size woman plus also those with disabilities.   It is long overdue and past time that this has finally begun to happen.   Now if only many of the top designers would also get on board with this it would be fantastic.

It seems like everything is about being skinny — juice cleanses will cut calories, yoga will keep you in tip-top shape and there’s always a new diet to try. But all the attention placed on being thin is exhausting, not to mention dangerous. That’s why it’s inspiring to see the rise and visibility of plus-size models in the fashion industry today.

From articles about the public’s severely unhealthy obsession with size to creating model workshops aimed at helping girls of every shape reach their runway dreams, plus-size models are shaking up the fashion game and redefining the rules of modeling. It’s about time.

Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.

Synonymous and interchangeable with plus-size model is “full-figured model,” “extended-sizes model,” and “outsize model”. Previously, the term “large size model” was also frequently used.

Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-sizeplus-size-models-8 models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gautier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their shows. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual pret-a-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week.

Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for “Expectant Mothers and Newborn”‘. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category ‘For the Stout Women’, which ranged between a 38-56 inch bust line. The earliest catalogs used illustrations to sell their products, but by the mid-1950s photographs were integrated into the catalogs as the evolution of printing technology made this option available. After a hiatus through the 1960-1980 period, Lane Bryant again began using plus-size models.

Although U.S. based manufacturers used larger models to show their plus-size clothing as early as the 1940s, the bias against larger consumers and models pervasive in the fashion industry worked to keep this particular concept of modeling out of the general public’s eye until the early 1990s.

plus-size-modelsPlus size models were first represented by model agencies in the 1970s. Prior to this, models freelanced directly with retailers, designers and magazines. Ford Models began representing plus size models in 1978, and added two models to their board, including top model Ann Harper, due to demand from clients. By the late 1980s, Plus Models was the largest and most successful plus-size specialty agency, representing over 65 models and grossing over 2 million dollars in revenue. By 1984, Big Beauties Little Women was successful enough to run national model searches advertised in the press. The prize included the cover of It’s Me magazine, a nationally published magazine for plus-size women. Not long after, Plus Models began holding national model searches. By the mid-1980s, top plus size models could earn as much as 150,000 to 200,000 dollars a year. Ford Models bought Big Beauties Little Women in 1988, later renaming the division Special Sizes and then Ford 12+.

Wilhelmina NYC agent Susan George started the Wilhelmina 10/20 division in New York in 1994, recently re-branded W Curve. Gary Dakin headed New York’s Karin Models’ Curves division, only to leave after a short time to develop Ford Models’ Ford 12+ (rebranded Ford+) model division in their New York office in 1998. In Constantine Valhouli’s 2001 plus-size model documentary Curve, Dakin states, “We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Ford 12+ division. It was the first and longest-existing plus division in the industry.” Together, these agents created agency divisions that have continued to recruit the highest caliber of models in the industry and are credited with expanding opportunities for plus-size models beyond working solely for plus-size clothing retailers. Former plus-size model Becca Thorpe founded the plus-size division at Muse Model Management, a boutique fashion agency in 2011. Muse also recruits high caliber models and had advanced opportunities for plus-size models beyond advertising for plus-size retailers.

There are a large number of reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, and internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK.

In 1981, Lane Bryant began publishing It’s Me magazine. Along with Big Beautiful Woman, It’s Me was one of the few print1954_Lane_Bryant_catalog magazines for plus-size women. In 1982, the magazine was sold to Happy Hands Publishing Company.  In 1995, Lane Bryant began a transformation of the brand which included large-scale fashion showings and celebrity endorsement. Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler, Camryn Manheim, Anna Nicole Smith and Chris Noth have appeared in advertising and/or events on behalf of the brand. Lane Bryant held a large-scale lingerie fashion show to launch the “Cacique Intimates” lingerie collection.

With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+ agencies, MODE magazine, was launched in the spring of 1997. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy. MODE’s editorial practice of providing models’ names, sometimes attached to quotes on self-esteem to make them more approachable, greatly aided the popularity of the models and gave them a form of celebrity. The magazine also received industry acclaim, being named the best new magazine launch by Ad Week and Advertising Age in 1997.   MODE ran model search competitions in conjunction with the Wilhelmina modeling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada.

Europe’s plus size industry had launched the careers of models who have appeared in campaigns and runway shows for famous designers, as well as editorials in notable magazines. As in the United States, bias prevented plus size modeling from being in the public’s eyes until the 1990s. European magazines, including European editions of Elle and Vogue have featured plus size models on covers and in editorials.      European versions of Vogue and Elle have featured plus size models in many editorials, often photographed by top photographers. Vogue Italia featured plus size models on the cover of three issues.    Other magazines that have featured plus size models on their covers include Amica, Avant-garde, Biba, D Reppublicca della Donna, i-D and S Moda. In addition, magazines such as Bon, Diva e Donna, Gioia, Glamour UK, Glass, Grazia, Numero, Paradis, Ponystep and Yo Dona have featured plus size models in editorials.

The plus size industry in Asia is not as developed as in North America or Europe, but a number of Asian plus size models have been featured in press. Australia has a developed industry with multiple designers and retailers using plus size models in advertising. In recent years, plus size agencies in Australia have launched the careers of several international plus size models.

Celebrities who wear clothing larger than a standard U.S. size 8 have increasingly been attracting endorsement contracts as advertisers seek to extend size-acceptance into the film, TV and music industries, and/or make use of their family or other connections. Women who have lost weight, dropping below a U.S. size 8 since gaining popularity do not form part of this entry, nor do women unrepresented by model agents.

The plus-size modelling industry has received general criticism on the premise that acceptance of plus-size models sets a poor health example of weight management.   Overall this is not a valid premise whatsoever.

Consumer-based criticism regarding the lower sizes of plus-size models is becoming commonplace and wide-spread. While the reputed ‘average’ dress size of the American women is size 14, the majority of models represented as plus-size are between a US size 6-12; therefore the models do not reflect the average consumer size. Critics have mentioned the widespread use of padding used to make smaller models appear larger and help smaller models fit the clothing.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion designers have deferred on the use of plus-size models through a lack of interest in the consumers associated with the term plus-size. Lagerfeld in particular has been vocal on the matter of his preferred clientele: “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people” and received criticism for demanding that mass retailer H&M not produce their collaboration designs to size 16.

In addition, the industry has been criticized for lacking in racial diversity. For example, critics have noted that there are few Asian plus size models. Others have noted that there are few black plus-size models with darker skin tones.  One doesn’t need to be slender and as thin as a rail to be successful in the fashion industry even if others argue the contrary.

THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

VAWK_by_Sunny_Fong-Fall_Winter_2012-Model_Kate_WatsonIt is important to note that finally many designers are beginning to create and design outfits for not only the plus size woman plus also those with disabilities.   It is long overdue and past time that this has finally begun to happen.   Now if only many of the top designers would also get on board with this it would be fantastic.

It seems like everything is about being skinny — juice cleanses will cut calories, yoga will keep you in tip-top shape and there’s always a new diet to try. But all the attention placed on being thin is exhausting, not to mention dangerous. That’s why it’s inspiring to see the rise and visibility of plus-size models in the fashion industry today.

From articles about the public’s severely unhealthy obsession with size to creating model workshops aimed at helping girls of every shape reach their runway dreams, plus-size models are shaking up the fashion game and redefining the rules of modeling. It’s about time.

Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.

Synonymous and interchangeable with plus-size model is “full-figured model,” “extended-sizes model,” and “outsize model”. Previously, the term “large size model” was also frequently used.

Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-size models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gautier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their shows. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual pret-a-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week.

Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for “Expectant Mothers and Newborn”‘. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category ‘For the Stout Women’, which ranged between a 38-56 inch bust line. The earliest catalogs used illustrations to sell their products, but by the mid-1950s photographs were integrated into the catalogs as the evolution of printing technology made this option available. After a hiatus through the 1960-1980 period, Lane Bryant again began using plus-size models.

Although U.S. based manufacturers used larger models to show their plus-size clothing as early as the 1940s, the bias against larger consumers and models pervasive in the fashion industry worked to keep this particular concept of modeling out of the general public’s eye until the early 1990s.

Plus size models were first represented by model agencies in the 1970s. Prior to this, models freelanced directly witho-PLUS-SIZE-MODELS-CANDY-570 retailers, designers and magazines. Ford Models began representing plus size models in 1978, and added two models to their board, including top model Ann Harper, due to demand from clients. By the late 1980s, Plus Models was the largest and most successful plus-size specialty agency, representing over 65 models and grossing over 2 million dollars in revenue. By 1984, Big Beauties Little Women was successful enough to run national model searches advertised in the press. The prize included the cover of It’s Me magazine, a nationally published magazine for plus-size women. Not long after, Plus Models began holding national model searches. By the mid-1980s, top plus size models could earn as much as 150,000 to 200,000 dollars a year. Ford Models bought Big Beauties Little Women in 1988, later renaming the division Special Sizes and then Ford 12+.

Wilhelmina NYC agent Susan George started the Wilhelmina 10/20 division in New York in 1994, recently re-branded W Curve. Gary Dakin headed New York’s Karin Models’ Curves division, only to leave after a short time to develop Ford Models’ Ford 12+ (rebranded Ford+) model division in their New York office in 1998. In Constantine Valhouli’s 2001 plus-size model documentary Curve, Dakin states, “We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Ford 12+ division. It was the first and longest-existing plus division in the industry.” Together, these agents created agency divisions that have continued to recruit the highest caliber of models in the industry and are credited with expanding opportunities for plus-size models beyond working solely for plus-size clothing retailers. Former plus-size model Becca Thorpe founded the plus-size division at Muse Model Management, a boutique fashion agency in 2011. Muse also recruits high caliber models and had advanced opportunities for plus-size models beyond advertising for plus-size retailers.

There are a large number of reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, and internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK.

In 1981, Lane Bryant began publishing It’s Me magazine. Along with Big Beautiful Woman, It’s Me was one of the few print magazines for plus-size women. In 1982, the magazine was sold to Happy Hands Publishing Company.  In 1995, Lane Bryant began a transformation of the brand which included large-scale fashion showings and celebrity endorsement. Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler, Camryn Manheim, Anna Nicole Smith and Chris Noth have appeared in advertising and/or events on behalf of the brand. Lane Bryant held a large-scale lingerie fashion show to launch the “Cacique Intimates” lingerie collection.

With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+ agencies, MODE magazine, was launched in the spring of 1997. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy. MODE’s editorial practice of providing models’ names, sometimes attached to quotes on self-esteem to make them more approachable, greatly aided the popularity of the models and gave them a form of celebrity. The magazine also received industry acclaim, being named the best new magazine launch by Ad Week and Advertising Age in 1997.   MODE ran model search competitions in conjunction with the Wilhelmina modeling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada.

Europe’s plus size industry had launched the careers of models who have appeared in campaigns and runway shows for famous designers, as well as editorials in notable magazines. As in the United States, bias prevented plus size modeling from being in the public’s eyes until the 1990s. European magazines, including European editions of Elle and Vogue have featured plus size models on covers and in editorials.      European versions of Vogue and Elle have featured plus size models in many editorials, often photographed by top photographers. Vogue Italia featured plus size models on the cover of three issues.    Other magazines that have featured plus size models on their covers include Amica, Avant-garde, Biba, D Reppublicca della Donna, i-D and S Moda. In addition, magazines such as Bon, Diva e Donna, Gioia, Glamour UK, Glass, Grazia, Numero, Paradis, Ponystep and Yo Dona have featured plus size models in editorials.

The plus size industry in Asia is not as developed as in North America or Europe, but a number of Asian plus size models have been featured in press. Australia has a developed industry with multiple designers and retailers using plus size models in advertising. In recent years, plus size agencies in Australia have launched the careers of several international plus size models.

Celebrities who wear clothing larger than a standard U.S. size 8 have increasingly been attracting endorsement contracts as advertisers seek to extend size-acceptance into the film, TV and music industries, and/or make use of their family or other connections. Women who have lost weight, dropping below a U.S. size 8 since gaining popularity do not form part of this entry, nor do women unrepresented by model agents.

The plus-size modelling industry has received general criticism on the premise that acceptance of plus-size models sets aRobyn_Lawley poor health example of weight management.   Overall this is not a valid premise whatsoever.

Consumer-based criticism regarding the lower sizes of plus-size models is becoming commonplace and wide-spread. While the reputed ‘average’ dress size of the American women is size 14, the majority of models represented as plus-size are between a US size 6-12; therefore the models do not reflect the average consumer size. Critics have mentioned the widespread use of padding used to make smaller models appear larger and help smaller models fit the clothing.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion designers have deferred on the use of plus-size models through a
lack of interest in the consumers associated with the term plus-size. Lagerfeld in particular has been vocal on the matter of his preferred clientele: “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people” and received criticism for demanding that mass retailer H&M not produce their collaboration designs to size 16.

In addition, the industry has been criticized for lacking in racial diversity. For example, critics have noted that there are few Asian plus size models. Others have noted that there are few black plus-size models with darker skin tones.  One doesn’t need to be slender and as thin as a rail to be successful in the fashion industry even if others argue the contrary.

Kathy Kiefer

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LADIES FASHION TRENDING

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LADIES FASHION TRENDING

What is Trending in Ladies Fashion all about? Does it have special meaning?   How do things from the past impact should styles and trends today?

Most “designers” have once again taken inspiration from the classic designs of the 1960’s. This the era where “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis” set the trend for classic fashion.    In regards to color, the upcoming season will usher in lots of black and solid crisp white fashions, and tons of black and white combinations. Be ready to see lots of soft shades of white, neutrals, as well as all the predictable pastels on the racks.    The color red will hold its own, paired with navy and white, to give fashions that “all American look”.      As in the past stripes shall continue to hold their own, and have been seen on many of the fashion show runways. Another trend worth mentioning is lace. Lace is being added to fashions in the most peculiar places.

As always black and white fashions continue to defy time, and keep their well-earned place as big color trends not only for spring and summer.   Black and white fashions remain the big winner on the runways this season; most fashion designers have added articles of clothing in tones of black and white.   Many designers, by adding just a splash of color to the black and white combination, red being one of the popular additions, as well as cheery yellow. Let’s face it – you can’t go wrong with the traditional classic black and white outfit, and designers know this little fact, and continue to cash in on it.

What’s one of the most popular items of clothing for 2014?  Ladies like dresses, and A-line skirts. Yes, classic lady-like dresses, and A-line skirts are on trend are fashion must haves for this season.   However, this season fashion designers have also given us all kind of fun fashions. Fashions that will offer wonderful vivid prints, stripes, and geometric prints – not to mention some great new takes on animal prints. The main theme this season is tailored, classic, with a touch of bold and edgy added into the mix.    Another item on the fashion forecast is getting ready to see tons of monochromatic fashion outfits. I love the look of monochromatic fashions. It’s very easy, and fun to accessorize a basic monochromatic outfit. This year you are going to see fashions that are fresh, sophisticated, a bit sexy, and very classic. Let’s face it there’s a reason that classic fashions defy time. Classic fashions are clean understated styles that can be worn year after year. The Fashion Classics just never go out of style

The big color trend will be black and white. Yes you read right – Black and white and any combination of black and white is the biggest color trend for the up-coming season. The racks will be full of fashions that all done up in crisp, classic, well-tailored fashions, that are black and white. .Naturally you’re going to see the always popular predictable pastels, and vivid colors. The neon’s continue to hold on for yet another season, especially in handbags, and shoes. Face it there are no other colors that can make a louder fashion statement than any neon color. If you need a new handbag or a great pair of shoes, choose one of the great spring neon colors. Creamy neutrals, done up to give you a very feminine look.  Flowing pajama – styles, tunics, all meant to be classical, and again comfortable.

This season will usher in fashions with whimsical prints.  Designers have taken their inspiration from nature. You will see fruit, feathers, little critters, you name it! Stripes – Stripes seem to hold a place in fashion year after year. This season is ready to see stripes being worn from head to toe, in the most unlikely match ups.     Trousers new waist line falls just below the waist, and is very flattering on most figure types. In regard to trouser style, anything goes, from the very skinny to the very flared leg.

Do you crochet? Well if not, start.   Crocheted vests are big this year, maybe you can look to the back of your closet, and maybe you might have a bit of a crochet magic lurking.

Do your feet long for a bit of comfort? Let’s face it our feet need a rest from the spiked stilettos heels. Well this spring the kitten heel has made a come-back. You will also notice that the platform is well on its way out. The kitten heel again is a throw-back to the classic 1960′s. They are feminine, and classic, as well as comfortable.

A little black dress (LBD) is a simple black cocktail or evening dress. The cut of the dress is kept very simple and length can vary, depending on current designer trend. Originally the little black dress was made popular in the 1920s, by the well- known fashion designer Coco Chanel. Little did “Chanel know at the time, but LBD was so wonderfully versatile, that it would become the number one style that defied time.   The little black dress continues to be a staple in most women’s wardrobe some 70 years later.   It continues to hold its own on the top ten list of fashion’s that defy time, and has become a steadfast “rule of fashion” every woman should own at least one or two seasonal elegant black dresses.

Fashion styles that are available for women can keep them looking their best and can keep the heads turning with the way that the clothes are able to bring out certain looks in women. If you want to make sure that you look your best and can find comfort at the same time, than you will want to make sure that you have possible fashion available to help you to get the style that you want. The different types of women’s fashion that are available will ensure that you are able to continue looking your best and presenting yourself in a way that fits your style the best.

When you begin to look into women’s fashion you will notice that there are several categories that are available in order to help you to look your best. Knowing the differences between these and the types of outfits that are included in each style will allow you to make the best determination about what will fit you best. The result will be the ability to have different styles available for every occasion and for every look. Starting your search for the right fashion by knowing the differences between these categories will ensure that you are able to prepare for every situation through the styles.

Every store that you go to will have different types of women’s fashion categorized in different ways. However, most of these will include similar types of styles with different looks according to the main designer that is putting them on the racks. It is through this main concept that different stores will be able to sell different types of fashion according to the trends that are in these different categories. Before you begin to shop, you will want to know exactly where you fit in. This will provide you with the right set of outfits for different occasions and will allow you to make the most out of your perfect look.

The first main type of women’s fashion that you will want to look into is the casual style. This will include anything that you will wear on the days where you aren’t doing as much or are just enjoying your time in the area. If you are interested in looking into the casual, than you can expect to find things such as jeans, blouses, t-shirts and other styles that will help you to keep a less sophisticated look. This will also provide you with more comfortable styles that you can wear if you are interested in fashion that can keep you feeling casual as well as looking relaxed.

If you are looking for something more upbeat, than you will want to look into the fashion categories that will include the sophisticated look or business wear. This will allow you to walk into any situation and look pulled together and ready to take on the work load that you need. With these styles, you can expect to find dress pants and skirts, as well as blouses. You may also find some specific styles of dresses that are on the racks, all which will be defined by helping you to look like you are ready for any business meeting.

Other types of women’s fashion will include looks that will allow you to dress up for an evening out on the town. You can find dresses in this category that will provide you with a level of class when you are ready to go out. If you are looking into women’s fashion that includes evening wear, you will have the ability to divide into even more categories. This will include everything from evening wear for clubs that will be dressed as eye catchers, or gowns that can be used for more formal evenings. With these, you will be able to find a wide variety of styles, depending on where you are going and what type of look you want to have for the occasion.

Not only can you find different types of women’s fashion in these categories, but will also be able to find differences according to your body type and how you fit into your wear the best. For instance, if you have a smaller body size than you can look at petite style fashions in order to help you look your best. If you have a larger body type, than you can look at plus size clothing. This will help you to find your best curves while hiding the one’s that you don’t want others to see through the make and look of the fashion that you are wearing.

If you want to look at women’s fashion in another way, than you can also consider designer clothing styles and new styles that are on the runways and are offered through different portals. Typically, this type of fashion will have a specific clothing designer. They will then advertise new and trendy looks and will have specific clothing stores that are associated with them. It is through these types of designs that you can find not only something that has the perfect fit, but also extras that will allow you to stay up with the latest styles throughout the year.

Within these several different styles are also specific ways to build outfits with the fashion. Most outfits will come as a one piece or two pieces, with the one piece being a dress. A two piece will be a match between a shirt and pants or skirt. With these, you not only can put together the recommended outfits from the designers, but will also have the ability to interchange the colors and the styles that you have available to you. This will allow you to either work towards dressing up with specific situations or to dress down when you are putting on a certain fashion.

No matter what look and style you are going for, you can find it through women’s fashion. Knowing what to look for and finding the different styles that will fit you best will allow you to move into any environment with the right look. By understanding the different categories of women’s fashion, you will have the capability of doing even more with the look that you are going for.

Kathy Kiefer

THE ROLE AND INFLUENCE OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY

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Schermata 2015-01-11 alle 17.03.01 

THE ROLE AND INFLUENCE OF THE

FASHION INDUSTRY

Fashion is a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, make-up, body piercing, or furniture. Fashion is a distinctive and often habitual trend in the style in which a person dresses. It is the prevailing styles in behavior and the newest creations of textile designers. The more technical term costume has become so linked to the term “fashion” that the use of the former has been relegated to special senses like fancy dress or masquerade wear, while “fashion” means clothing more generally, including the study of it. Although aspects of fashion can be feminine or masculine, some trends are androgynous.

Early Western travelers, whether to Persia, Turkey, India or China, frequently remarked on the absence of change in fashion there, and observers from these other cultures commented on the unseemly pace of Western fashion, which many felt suggested instability and a lack of order in Western culture.  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, but then a long period without major changes would follow.   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 reliably dated. Historians date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th 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 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 Ancient Regime 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 .

In the 16th century national differences were at their most pronounced. Albrecht Durer illustrated the differences in his contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century. 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 the European male silhouette were galvanized in theaters of European war where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles such as the cravat or necktie.

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 professional designer has become an increasingly dominant figure, despite the origin of many fashions in street fashion. For women, the flapper styles of the 1920s marked the most significant alteration in Western women’s fashion in several centuries, with a drastic shortening of skirt-lengths and much looser-fitting clothes. With an occasional revival of long skirts, variations of the shorter length have remained dominant ever since. Though there were many variations, the “flapper uniform,” consisting of high-heeled shoes, which were often embellished with buckles or gems, significant amounts of jewelry, especially pieces adorned with gems and pearls, and shorter dresses, the upper portion of which could be either loose or form-fitting. Flappers also often wore cloches, small hats often featuring narrow, downward-oriented brims, to frame their short hairstyles. Flappers were seen as especially seductive figures, and their fashion was at the time controversial for many.

The four major current fashion capitals are acknowledged to be Paris, Milan, New York, 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 also varies 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 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 2014 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 out-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, 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: (a) the production of raw materials, principally fibers and textiles but also leather and fur; (b) the production of fashion goods by designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others; (c) retail sales; and (d) various forms of advertising and promotion.     These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors, each devoted to the goal of satisfying consumer demand for apparel under conditions that enable participants in the industry to operate at a profit.

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.

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 from which the bag is made, making the brand an intrinsic element of the bag.

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.

Kathy Kiefer

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