It is far easier to recognise what is fashionable at a given time and place than to say why or how it becomes a fashion. The present fashion can be easily identified and described… feminine light colours, floral motifs, flowing silhouettes, lower hemlines etc. but when we search for influences that have been responsible for it, we are
confronted with a complex set of questions. The complex set of questions. The complexity increases when we search for explanations as to what brought about hobble skirts and crinolines of the past or other dresses lie that. Are these factors produced by a highly developed aesthetic sense? Are these factors the promotional efforts of designers, producers or retailers? Are these factors produced by a changing geography or do they just happen, without a reason?
Several things are part of the complexity of factors. Aesthetic appeal alone does not produce a fashion. For example, there is no intrinsic difference between the gloss of a patent leather shoe and the shine of a threadbare garment. People are ready to react to what is in vogue. Therefore, the shine on the shoe is beautiful and the garment’s shine is repulsive. Neither do the promotional efforts by designers, producers or retailers in themselves dictate what customers will accept. Geographical factors do have an effect on how people dress but they are getting increasingly insignificant in the light of the changing economy and sociology of the region. The major influence on fashion has been that of attitudes of the people, social changes and movements, major events on the word stage and new technological developments.
It is true that many new fashions have been introduced by famous designers, for example, the box jackets of Chanel’s 1920 suits, the bias cut dresses of Vionet in the 1920s. Dior’s “new look” in the 1940s, and the body-suits of Donna Karan in more recent times. Often however, it is a functional garment rather than individual designer the at generate a new fashion: for example the bomber jackets of aviators, the leg warmers of dancers, and most importantly, denim pants, The ultra practical style created by Levi Strauss in gold rush days inspired the jeans that are still enjoying popularity.
Fashions are basically social expressions, they document the taste and values of their are just as painting sculpture and other art forms do. Fashions are a facto of social psychology. They reflect the way people think and live and are therefore, influenced by the same environmental forces that act an any society. Every fashion seems appropriate to its era and reflects the spirit of an age as no other symbol of time does. Reflected in the times does. Reflected in the times are the influence of noteworthy events and personalities, social movements, social values and attitudes and technological developments. Almost anything or anyone of newsworthy importance in word of the entertainment from prominent personalities to major television or motion pictive productions has an effect on fashion of the times. What Amitabh Bachhan, Jeetendra, Madhuri Dixit, and Sridevi wear had definitely affected the way of Indian dressing. The pillbox hat and bouffant hair style of Jackie Kennedy an the classic dresses of Nancy Reagen, Barbara Bush or Hillary Clintion are widely imitated.
Social movements lie theippie cult had its effect on cut off jeans, long hair, beards-they were visible expressions of the anti-establishment attitude that developed as reactions to the unpopular Vietnam war of the 1960s.
The wearing of pants by women for many occasions is not merely a matter of dressing practically; it is rather an expression of their freedom from the conventional restraints that they and their mothers had accepted in earlier years.
New technological developments often father new fashions. So simple a thing as digital clock makes it possible to depart from the round face design that prevailed for centuries. Some apparel fashions seen to have their origins in the development of new fibres and fabrics. For example, the synthetic fibres that made wash and wear fabrics possible and thus influenced fashion might not have had such a rousing welcome if they had come on the scene early in the century when domestic help was plentiful and when stiffly starched, beautifully ironed garment was a symbol of a well run household. Similarly in the 1980’s skintight body suits gained popularity resulting from the development of stretch fabrics such as lycra. Complicated as the past may seem the future looks even more so due to a variety of tastes and the parallel of development of many trends. Will fashion be determined by the prevailing technology or ethnicity in the future? Is there any movement in the offing? Space age suits will they accepted? Who knows what will be the next influence.