Fashion is a fundamental part of human culture. It is used for many different purposes, such as protection from the elements, negotiation with one’s environment, and understanding the culture. Clothing also displays a person’s body, and helps construct the lines of culture and gender. Roland Barthes explains how fashion works in his book, The Language of Fashion, edited and translated by Andy Stafford. Barthes’s writings are often viewed as highly controversial, but are often very interesting.
Essentially, fashion is the use of design principles to create something beautiful, whether it be a handbag, or an entire canvas. In other words, fashion is the application of those principles to the human body. Rather than being stretched flat, fashion materials are made to move and change with the wearer’s movement. Fashion fabrics are also designed to support human movement, which means that they may be constricting, but they must also be a supportive medium for this.
Fashions began to change rapidly in late medieval times in Europe. Historians date the beginning of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century. These dates are highly speculative, as most people were unable to see the style of clothes at the time. Male over-garments were radically shorter, and they were often filled with stuffing to make them appear bigger. And in a time when clothing styles were influenced by the arts, it was fashionable to dress like royalty, especially during royal occasions.
Today, fashion has become a global phenomenon, and the definition of fashion is vast. The Oxford English Dictionary defines fashion as the art of dressing and adorning oneself. This practice has been around for centuries, and different events throughout history have influenced the way people dress and act. Victorian era styles included long dresses and veiled headgear, and contemporary trends include micro dresses and jeans. People dress according to their moods, beliefs, and personalities.
Despite the fast changes in fashion, there are some universal characteristics. Young people love to be trendy, and fashions reflect these. While they embrace variety and individuality, these changes also reflect the changing times and societal values. This is a social psychological phenomenon, and many of the negative consequences of capitalism are found in fashion. Among other things, fast-changing styles promote waste and unnecessary consumption. Fashions are influenced by social events and entertainment, and young people look forward to the diversity. However, the resulting homogeneity can be harmful to society.
Technology plays an enormous role in society, and its influence on fashion is increasing. Wearable technology allows for more innovative clothing, such as smart fabric that enhances a person’s comfort. The latest advances in 3D printing technology have also influenced fashion. Eventually, 3D printers will become affordable for consumers and designers. This technological evolution may fundamentally change the way fashion is produced and designed. In fact, it could change the way we think about fashion altogether.