History Of Fashion

What is Fashion?

In history of fashion, fashion refers to clothing and its study.
Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, or accessories. It is an expression shown through appearance, often influenced by the tastes of an era in a given region.
Fashion concerns not only clothing, but also accessories, cosmetics, perfume, and even body modification – wikipedia.org

Starting from the 12th century to the present, Fashion has evolved. So also have clothing designers come and gone. The history of fashion design is said to be dated back to 1858 when Charles Frederick Worth, the first fashion designer, opened the first haute couture house in Paris.

History of fashion

Queen Marie Antoinette of France 1783 fashion icon. Image: wikipedia.org

Today, the four major current fashion capitals are Milan, New York City, Paris and London.

In the Western world, we have a wide selection of clothes; people dress up to reflect their personality as well as the occasion. Hence, there are different clothes sizes and dress codes.
When the celebrities for instance choose to wear an item of clothing, it is a matter of time before their fans copy them as they have a huge influence, good or bad, on followers. For example, the latest celebrity people have being following their trends are the British Royal couple – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Most particularly the Duchess, Catherine, her dress codes have inspired many people – young and old and generally the fashion industry.

Youtube video: Mode en France History of Fashion sequence

Even though we live in the 21st century, there are times we still re-visit the old fashion designs, for example, the 60s, 70s and the 80s, also known as ‘vintage’, seem to be coming and going. We have found ourselves mixing a bit of the old with the new; because we still have people born in these periods among us so it is impossible not to re-visit the past.
Within a society, just as with everything, fashion varies according to its makeup such as the geographical location, age group, social class, and career.

As with the Western world, the Eastern World in the likes of China, India, Pakistan are emerging in the fashion economy. African continent is not to be left behind as they too are following the pace.
Queen Marie Antoinette of France, was an 18th century fashion icon. Today, the 21st century, however, there are many fashion icons with the new royal being in the forefront. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni Sarkozy. Image: wikipedia.org

and Bruni (wives of the presidents of the USA and France respectively) are social and fashion icons. Because of their status in the society, they take great care in choosing what to wear unlike some of today’s celebrities.

There are different types of fashion with the most popular being:

Haute couture

Haute couture are for the privileged few because they are very expensive and therefore are termed ‘made-to-measure’. Clothes were made like this in the 1950s, but with the advancement of technology, clothes are now being mass produced with the use of sewing machine thereby leaving those who can afford to pay a premium for a hand-crafted fashion to so. For example, the wedding dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day in April 2011 was hand-crafted.
If you can afford it, haute couture is mostly for special occasions. For example, here is a design by Christian Lacroix


Ready-to-wear fashions bear a resemblance to haute couture in that they are made in small quantities only, hence they are expensive. These are the types worn in Runway fashion shows. Ready-to-wear fashion collections are sometimes not wearable as they are designed for ‘shows’ only  they are also very expensive and only the very privileged can afford to buy them. These collections are made by different fashion names for each season of the year and worn during the fashion weeks in the fashion capitals. Fashion week is the week when all the fashion houses show their innovation designs in the fashion industry. Some of the designs may look ridiculous and uncomfortable to wear whilst some are easily wearable. Here is an example of today’s fashion as captioned by Louis Vitton’s Spring 2012 RTW Paris show

Courtesy of Youtube Style.com

Mass market

You and I buy ‘mass market fashion’ from the shopping malls or high street shops. As the name suggests, they are produced in bulk for each season at affordable prices because cheap materials are used to make them.  This is where the fashion houses or designers make their money. The more catchy and trendy the design, the more their profits will be. We all want to be seen wearing the latest design in fashion.

Dress codes

Dress codes are different types of clothing for different events.
Dress codes will also determine the occasion you are attending, your personality, including gender, status in the society, and so on.

There are various types of dress codes:

•    Casual
•    Smart casual
•    Business casual
•    Business formal
•    Wedding
•    Party dress
•    Street dress
•    Sport dress, and so on.

The list is not exhausted.


Cosmetics, which is also known as makeup will be an added complement to various dress codes.

Your choice of powder, blusher, lipsticks, perfumes, skin care products and even hair products and accessories can go a long way to enhance your beauty. Your dress code will determine the level of cosmetics to use, whilst it is always good to use good skincare products according to your skin type at all times.

Be aware that your appearance immediately tells who you are. First impression counts. So it is essential to wear the appropriate clothing, cosmetics and accessories at the right time.


Fashion accessories such as shoes, bags, belts, hats, scarves, jewelleries and so on finish off an outfit and make great gifts too.

Wearing these accessories appropriately will no doubt add value to the way you look. Everything needs to be in moderation and suitable for the occasion. You do not want to turn up at an event being over or under-dressed. Get it right with the right accessories.

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