Fashion and Style

Early Western travelers, traveling whether to Persia, Turkey, India, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in the respective places. The Japanese Shogun’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. Changes in costume 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 major changes. In 8th-century Moorish Spain, the musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba sophisticated clothing-styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his own 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. The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century, though it should be noted that they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth 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 therefore 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 Ancien Régime 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 elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.

Fashion has been an age long phenomenon that has always surfaced in every human society across the world. Human beings all over the world have great need to cover themselves and also makeup in order to look good. Fashion trends have always showcased in every nation on a regular basis. Different kinds of fashion accessories and other fashion related products have continued to be in great demand all over the world.

Actually, fashion development has been a progressive thing. Generally, the term fashion refers to popular styles and practices seen in the area of clothing, makeup, footwear, furniture and accessories. However, the term mainly refers to clothing, makeup and accessories when considered in a strict sense. The development of fashion can be considered in four major phases namely, ancient, medieval, industrial revolution and contemporary phases. Let's examine each phase.

Ancient Phase
Fashion development in the ancient phase dates back to the pre-historic era when people made use of local materials in producing the cloths they put on. In those days, animal skin and fur were mainly used. This was seen in ancient historical era of various cultures of the world. In the ancient era, cultural traditions influence the kind of styles and patterns used in the production of local wears. There was no widely accepted pattern or approach used. Clothing materials were either homemade or handmade.

Medieval Phase
The medieval phase in fashion development made a great impact in the history of fashion all over world. The era witnessed the emergence of local tailors and other dressmakers who used local fabrics in the production of different kinds of fashion attires. Fashion production in the period continued to improve from one level to the other. The renaissance period of 14th to 16th centuries that marked the end of the middle ages also made great impact in fashion development. During this period, great ideas about fashion started springing up in the lives of great men and women who later become famous fashion designers.

Industrial Revolution Phase
Fashion development got a huge boost during the period of industrial revolution that swept across Europe and America in the 18th century. It was a great period of change which saw the introduction of diverse methods of production. There was a widespread adoption of diverse kinds of industrial methods of mass production in the era. Mass production of fashion products became the order of the day in the period. Several big fashion firms emerged both in Europe and in the US during the era. Diverse kind of approaches and patters were also introduced in fashion production during the period. Several attires, wears and fashion accessories were also produced. Great fashion designers also emerged during the era.

The Contemporary Phase
After the industrial revolution, the contemporary period came to the fore. It all started in the early 20th century and also entered into the modern day era as well. Fashion development in this era has actually reached its pinnacle. The world is now witnessing the establishment of fashion plants in various countries. Great manufacturers of fashion products have also emerged. Sophisticated sewing machines and other tools have been invented for mass production of fashion products. Diverse kinds of approaches and patterns are also introduced in the fashion industry. Many countries now import and also export fashion products.

In all, fashion development is indeed a continuous process. It moves from one stage to the order. The world is now witnessing the development of fashion in the ever dynamic internet technology. Lots of fashion designers and their companies now operate online. The future is indeed very bright for fashion production across the world.