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Fashion: A Cultural Context

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Fashion: A Cultural Context by Lauren Clarke 'Fashion' is multi-faceted- a multiple choice- depending on your budget and attitude you can dress 'in fashion' and yet be totally individual thanks to the available choice, and the liberal dress codes that exists. Only 40 years ago things were very different- discuss the social and cultural changes that have taken place since the 60's that has allowed this phenomenal change to happen, using quotes from authors and academics to underpin your ideas. Introduction As we approach the year 2003, we find a vastly different fashion industry from that which existed only 40 years ago. Although the fashion sector is known for its rapid change, we see an industry today that has been dramatically transformed by such new things as new technology, globalisation, and changing consumer values. Every segment of the industry has been required to change to meet new competitive challenges. As a result, we find a fashion industry that has restructured its self to respond to global competition. The industry is faster, is geographically more wide spread and can focus on understanding and serving the consumer more effectively than ever before. Though transportation and communication advances, the industry has become a worldwide production and distribution network. At the same time, new technologies allow close examination of consumer needs and have reduced the time it takes to respond to those needs. ...read more.


Alongside this licence to choose from a range of styles regardless of the context a more serious fashion aesthetic existed. The androgynous clothes many women choose to wear expressed the growing women's movement and their desire to be taken more seriously they entered the work force on a more equal footing. The seventies represented the twilight of an era of sexual liberation, over indulgence and decadence. The sexual revolution may have been discussed at length in the sixties, but it could be argued that it actually happened and exploded in the seventies, especially in increasingly jaded ways. The chic new sexual conventions of the day denied that a person's sexuality could be neatly classified. During the 1980's, fashion became integral to the newly emerging concept of the lifestyle. The new wealth and prosperity hyped in the media were ever more evident throughout the decade. In this decade there was a deregulation of the stock market and an explosion in property prices. This helped establish the culture of the yuppie. There was enormous wealth around, but it was spent with a corporate mentality, so that even the most exotic trophy wife appeared to be dressing not only for her man, but for boardroom approval. Power dressing- dressing to show your importance and bank balance, dressing for success, was in. Even if you were a supermarket shelf stacker, you would still wear your impressive power suit in Your spare time. ...read more.


It was only when skirts moved thigh high, in the form of minis and micro minis, that people took notice of the approaching extreme. Even today, when the rate of fashion change has execrated sharply, the pace of change is really slower than it appears to the unskilled observer who has failed to notice the early evolutionary movements in a new direction. The evolutionary nature of fashion change is a fundamental principle that is recognised by fashion practitioners, it provides them with a solid, factual foundation for forecasting and identifying in-coming fashions. When planning and developing new styling ideas, they always keep the current fashions and evolving directions in mind. Therefore the expectance of a particular coat or dress fashion during a current season becomes a straw in the wind for experts to search for clues to next seasons trends. The degree of it's acceptance provides needed clues as to what will or will not be welcomed by the consumer in the next season. Knowing that people do not respond well to sudden changes, the fashion experts build gradually, not abruptly, towards new ideas. Even the slowest most gradual of evolutionary changes in fashion, do change eventually. Examples of this can be found in history and recent times. For example when the mini skirts of the 1960's moved up to the micro mini skirts of the1970's, hems began inching downward. Whether it be skirt lengths, suit lapels, silhouettes or general fashion looks, all fashions tend to move steadily towards an extreme, at which point a new direction develops. ...read more.

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