Saturday, November 13, 2021

Fashion

  What exactly is fashion?


Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body posture. The term implies a look defined by the fashion industry as that which is trending. Everything that is considered fashion is available and popularized by the fashion system (industry and media).

Due to increased mass-production of commodities and clothing at lower prices and global reach, sustainability has become an urgent issue among politicians, brands, and consumers.


Definitions of fashion

Fashion scholar, Susan B. Kaiser, states that everyone is forced to appear, unmediated before others. Everyone is evaluated by their attire: how one looks, what colors, materials, and silhouette one wears. Even when the garments are the same in style and material, they will appear different; if they were washed, folded, mended, or new.

The term fashion is plagued by its different uses, and by the unclear application of the concept. For example, the term connotes difference, but also sameness. It signifies the latest distinction and trend, as well as the return of the old. While it may be defined by an insular and esteemed aesthetic elite, who make a look exclusive, this look is often using references from those excluded from making the distinction.

Whereas a trend often connotes a peculiar aesthetic expression, often lasting shorter than a season, fashion is a distinctive and industry-supported expression traditionally tied to the fashion season and collections. Style is an expression that lasts over many seasons and is often connected to cultural movements and social markers, symbols, class, and culture (ex. Baroque, Rococo, etc.). According to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, fashion connotes "the latest difference."

Even though the terms are often used together, fashion differs from clothing and costumes — "clothing" describes the material and technical garment; "costume" has come to mean fancy-dress or masquerade wear. "Fashion," by contrast, describes the social and temporal system that "activates" dress as a social signifier in a certain time and context. Philosopher Giorgio Agamben connects fashion to the current intensity of the qualitative moment and to the temporal aspect the Greek call Kairos, whereas clothing belongs to the quantitative, what the Greek call Chronos.

While some exclusive brands may claim the label haute couture, the term is technically limited to members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. Haute couture is more aspirational; inspired by art and culture, and in most cases, reserved for the economic elite.

Fashion is also a source of art, allowing people to display their unique tastes and styling. Different designers are influenced by outside stimuli and reflect this inspiration in their works. For example, Gucci's 'stained green' jeans may look like a grass stain, but to others, they display purity, freshness, and summer.

Fashion is unique, self-fulfilling and may be a part of someone's identity. Just like art, fashion does not have to be liked by everyone, it is an expression of one's tastes. Whilst art is usually locked into a drawing, sculpture, picture etc, clothes are a moving form of art; a unique characteristic.



Functions

The functions of fashion include the ability to construct, predict, distribute and implement certain values and samples of behavior, to form the entity's tastes and manage them. Fashion complements the traditional forms of culture through their turning by modernity, and constructs on this basis, a new human environment.

Fashion, or one’s own personal style, functions as a “societal formation always combining two opposite principles. It is a socially acceptable and secure way to distinguish oneself from others and, at the same time, it satisfies the individual’s need for social adaptation and imitation”. While philosopher Immanuel Kant believed fashion “has nothing to do with genuine judgements of taste… but is a case of unreflected and ‘blind’ imitation”, sociologist Georg Simmel thought of fashion as something that “helped to overcome the distance between an individual and his society”.


Characteristics

Normally fashion is associated with:

relativism (in context of a rapid change of fashion forms);the idea that views of beauty are based on individual preference and there is no right or wrong way to define beauty.

  1. cyclicity (periodic referring to traditions);
  2. irrationality (drawn to human emotions and is not always consistent with logic or even common sense);
  3. versatility (the scope of modern fashion is practically not limited; the fashion faces all right away).
  4. imagination (forming new ideas and bringing them to life)

Clothing fashions

Fashion is a form of expression. Fashion is what people wear in a specific context. If a stranger would appear in this setting, adorning something different, the stranger would be considered "out of fashion."


Early Western travelers, traveling to India, Persia, Turkey, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in those countries. The Japanese shōgun'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. Costume changes 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 significant changes. In 8th-century Moorish Spain, the musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba[unreliable source] sophisticated clothing styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his 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.

Additionally, there is a long history of fashion in West Africa. The Cloth was used as a form of currency in trade with the Portuguese and Dutch as early as the 16th Century. Locally produced cloth and cheaper European imports were assembled into new styles to accommodate the growing elite class of West Africans and resident gold and slave traders. There was an exceptionally strong tradition of cloth-weaving in Oyo and the areas inhabited by the Igbo people.


Fashion trend

A fashion trend signifies a specific look or expression that is spread across a population at a specific time and place. A trend is considered a more ephemeral look, not defined by the seasons when collections are released by the fashion industry. A trend can thus emerge from street style, across cultures, from influencers and celebrities.

Fashion trends are influenced by several factors, including cinema, celebrities, climate, creative explorations, innovations, designs, political, economic, social, and technological. Examining these factors is called a PEST analysis. Fashion forecasters can use this information to help determine the growth or decline of a particular trend.

Social influences

Fashion is inherently a social phenomenon. A person cannot have a fashion by oneself, but for something to be defined as fashion, there needs to be dissemination and followers. This dissemination can take several forms; from the top-down ("trickle-down") to bottom-up ("bubble up"), or transversally across cultures and through viral memes and media.

Fashion relates to the 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 purely aesthetic; fashion is also a medium for people to create an overall effect and express their opinions and overall art.

This mirrors what performers frequently accomplish through music videos. In the music video ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé, according to Carlos, "The pop star pays homage to her Creole roots.... 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."

The annual or seasonal runway show is a reflection of fashion trends and a designer's inspirations. For designers like Vivienne Westwood, runway shows are 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 favor."

The annual Academy Awards ceremony is also a venue where fashion designers and their creations are celebrated.

Social media is also a place where fashion is presented most often. Some influencers are paid huge amounts of money to promote a product or clothing item, where the business hopes many viewers will buy the product off the back of the advertisement. Instagram is the most popular platform for advertising, but Facebook, snapchat, Twitter and other platforms are also used.

Economic influences

Circular economy

With increasing environmental awareness, the economic imperative to "Spend now, think later" is getting increasingly scrutinized. 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, and these initiatives are often described as a move towards sustainable fashion, yet critics argue a circular economy based on growth is an oxymoron, or an increasing spiral of consumption, rather than a utopian cradle-to-cradle circular solution.

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 employ 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 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.

China is an interesting market for fashion retail as Chinese consumers' motivation to shop for fashion items are unique from Western Audiences. Demographics have limited association with shopping motivation, with occupation, income and education level having no impact; unlike in Western Countries. Chinese high-street shoppers prefer adventure and social shopping, while online shoppers are motivated by idea shopping. Another difference is how gratification and idea shopping influence spending over ¥1k per month on fashion items, and regular spending influenced by value shopping.

Marketing

Market research

Consumers of different groups have varying needs and demands. Factors taken into consideration when thinking of consumers' needs include key demographics. To understand consumers' needs and predict fashion trends, fashion companies have to do 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. Primary research often focuses on large sample sizes to determine customer's motivations to shop.

The benefits of primary research are specific information about a fashion brand's consumer is explored. Surveys are helpful tools; questions can be open-ended or closed-ended. 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 consumers will increase 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.

Symbolic consumption

Consumption is driven not only by need, the symbolic meaning for consumers is also a factor. Consumers engaging in symbolic consumption may develop a sense of self over an extended period of time as various objects are collected as part of the process of establishing their identity and, when the symbolic meaning is shared in a social group, to communicate their identity to others. For teenagers, consumption plays a role in distinguishing the child self from the adult. Researchers have found that the fashion choices of teenagers are used for self-expression and also to recognize other teens who wear similar clothes. The symbolic association of clothing items can link individuals' personality and interests, with music as a prominent factor influencing fashion decisions.

Political influences

Political figures have played a central role in the development of fashion, at least since the time of French king Louis XIV. For example, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was a fashion icon of the early 1960s. Wearing Chanel suits, structural Givenchy shift dresses, and soft color Cassini coats with large buttons, she inspired trends of both elegant formal dressing and classic feminine style.

Cultural upheavals have also had an impact on fashion trends. For example, during the 1960s, the U.S. economy was robust, the divorce rate was increasing, and the government approved the birth control pill. These factors inspired the younger generation to rebel against entrenched social norms. The civil rights movement, a struggle for social justice and equal opportunity for Blacks, and the women's liberation movement, seeking equal rights and opportunities and greater personal freedom for women, were in full bloom. In 1964, the leg-baring mini-skirt was introduced and became a white-hot trend. Fashion designers then began to experiment with the shapes of garments: loose sleeveless dresses, micro-minis, flared skirts, and trumpet sleeves. Fluorescent colors, print patterns, bell-bottom jeans, fringed vests, and skirts became de rigueur outfits of the 1960s.

Concern and protest over U.S involvement in the failing Vietnam War also influenced fashion . Camouflage patterns in military clothing, developed to help military personnel be less visible to enemy forces, seeped into streetwear designs in the 1960s. Camouflage trends have disappeared and resurfaced several times since then, appearing in high fashion iterations in the 1990s. Designers such as Valentino, Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana combined camouflage into their runway and ready-to-wear collections. Today, variations of camouflage, including pastel shades, in every article of clothing or accessory, continue to enjoy popularity.


Technology influences

Today, technology plays a sizable role in society, and technological influences are correspondingly increasing within the realm of fashion. Wearable technology has become incorporated; for example, clothing constructed with solar panels that charge devices and smart fabrics that enhance wearer comfort by changing color or texture based on environmental changes. 3D printing technology has influenced designers such as Iris van Herpen and Kimberly Ovitz. As the technology evolves, 3D printers will become more accessible to designers and eventually, consumers — these could potentially reshape design and production in the fashion industry entirely.

Internet technology, enabling the far reaches of online retailers and social media platforms, has created previously unimaginable ways for trends to be identified, marketed, and sold immediately. Trend-setting styles are easily displayed and communicated online to attract customers. Posts on Instagram or Facebook can quickly increase awareness about new trends in fashion, which subsequently may 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. Effects such as these can now be quantified and provide valuable feedback to fashion houses, designers, and consumers regarding trends.

Media

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 networks, 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 social media accounts (like instagram, tiktok, or twitter). Through these media outlets, readers and viewers all over the world can learn about fashion, making it very accessible. In addition to fashion journalism, another media platform that is important in fashion industry is advertisement. Advertisements provide information to audiences and promote the sales of products and services. The fashion industry utilizes advertisements to attract consumers and promote its products to generate sales. A few decades ago when technology was still underdeveloped, advertisements heavily relied on radio, magazines, billboards, and newspapers. These days, there are more various ways in advertisements such as television ads, online-based ads using internet websites, and posts, videos, and live streaming in social media platforms.

Fashion in printed media

There are two subsets of print styling: editorial and lifestyle. Editorial styling is the high - fashion styling seen in fashion magazines, and this tends to be more artistic and fashion-forward. Lifestyle styling focuses on a more overtly commercial goal, like a department store advertisement, a website, or an advertisement where fashion is not what's being sold but the models hired to promote the product in the photo.
The dressing practices of the powerful has traditionally been mediated through art and the practices of the courts. The looks of the French court were disseminated through prints, from the 16th century, but became prevalent with the promotion of the centralized court around king Louis XIV, and the style that became known under his name. 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 development are: Fashion Theory (1997), Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry (2008), and Vestoj (2009).

Fashion in television

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. The Fashion Industry is beginning to promote their styles through Bloggers on social media's. Vogue specified Chiara Ferragni as "blogger of the moment" due to the rises of followers through her Fashion Blog, that became popular.

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.

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