Since the 1970’s, fashion models of color, especially black men and women, have experienced an increase in discrimination in the fashion industry. In the years from 1970 to 1990, black designers and models were very successful, but as the 1990’s came to an end, the fashion aesthetic changed and it did not include black models or designers. In today’s fashion, black models, influencers, and designers account for one of the smallest percentages of the industry. There are many theories about this lack of diversity, that it can be attributed to the economic differences usually associated with race and class, or it can reflect the differences in arts schooling given to mostly black populated schools, and also blatant racism.
Many fashion designers have come under fire over the years for what is known as tokenism. Designer or editors will add one or two members on an underrepresented group to help them appear as inclusive and diverse, and to also help them give the illusion that they have equality. This idea of tokenism helps designers avoid accusations of racism, sexism, body shaming, etc.
Modern Westerners have a wide number of choices available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect his or her personality or interests. When people who have high cultural status start to wear new or different clothes, a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect these people become influenced by their personal style and begin wearing similarly styled clothes. Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography and may also vary over time. If an older person dresses according to the fashion young people use, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms fashionista and fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows current fashions.
Early Western travelers, traveling whether to India, Persia, Turkey or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in those countries. The Japanese shōgun'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[unreliable source] 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.
If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite pasttimes, amongst Netflix bingeing and cake baking, is looking at fashion blogs and borderline-stalking bloggers on their websites and social media accounts for outfit inspo. This is a great and enjoyable hobby to have, but can be disheartening if you’re a college student and can barely afford a Venti Starbucks, much less a Valentino purse. Most fashion blogs seem to be full of designer accessories and expensive jeans. But style is style, regardless of the price tag or brand, and whether you spend $5 or $500 on sunglasses, fashion is for all of us.
Black activists and supporters used fashion to express their solidarity and support of this civil rights movement. Supporters adorned symbolic clothing, accessories and hairstyles, usually native to Africa. Politics and fashion were fused together during this time and the use of these symbolic fashion statements sent a message to America and the rest of the world that African Americans were proud of their heritage. They aimed to send an even stronger message that black is beautiful and they were not afraid to embrace their identities. An example would the Kente cloth, it is a brightly colored strip of cloth that is stitched and woven together to create different accessories. This woven cloth of brightly colored strips of fabric became a strong symbolic representation of pride in African identity for African Americans of the 1960’s and later. It was developed into what is called a dashiki, a flowing, loose fitting, tunic style shirt. This cloth became one of the most notorious symbols of this revolution.
Since fakes are distinguishable by their poorer quality, there is still a demand for luxury goods, and as only a trademark or logo can be copyrighted, many fashion brands make this one of the most visible aspects of the garment or accessory. In handbags, especially, the designer's brand may be woven into the fabric (or the lining fabric) from which the bag is made, making the brand an intrinsic element of the bag.
Susie Lau's Style Bubble has been going for over a decade and includes intelligent articles on everything from underground global fashion talent to perfume. She also provides fascinating behind-the-scenes pieces on the real work it takes to create a beautiful Chanel garment. Then there's the tongue-in-cheek Man Repeller run by Leandra Medine and her team. Its smart, witty take on fashion is refreshing. And if over-the-top clothes aren't your thing, we've also found plenty of bloggers with more pared-back styles for the minimalists.
Fashion is a popular aesthetic expression in a certain time and context, especially in clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle and body proportions. Whereas, a trend often connotes a very specific aesthetic expression, and often lasting shorter than a season, fashion is a distinctive and industry-supported expression traditionally tied to the fashion season and collections. Style is an expression that lasts over many seasons, and is often connected to cultural movements and social markers, symbols, class and culture (ex. Baroque, Rococo, etc). According to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, fashion connotes “the latest fashion, the latest difference.”
I am Angie Cox and I started YLF after 15 years in the fashion industry as a designer, retail buyer and consultant. These days I'm a fashion stylist to individual clients and I write daily about personal style. You can become a YLF member to join us in the forum or to collect finds, but you're equally welcome as an anonymous reader. Everyone, members and non-members alike, can subscribe to email updates and our monthly newsletter.
SYNONYMY NOTE: fashion is the prevailing custom in dress, manners, speech, etc. of a particular place or time, esp. as established by the dominant section of society or the leaders in the fields of art, literature, etc.; , style, often a close synonym for , fashion, in discriminating use suggests a distinctive fashion, esp. the way of dressing, living, etc. that distinguishes persons with money and taste; , mode, the French word expressing this idea, suggests the height of fashion in dress, behavior, etc. at any particular time; , vogue stresses the general acceptance or great popularity of a certain fashion; , fad stresses the impulsive enthusiasm with which a fashion is taken up for a short time; , rage, craze both stress an intense, sometimes irrational enthusiasm for a passing fashion