30 August 2011

Fashion and the Economy (Part 1)

The economy - everyone's favorite topic! But it has some very interesting implications for the clothing that hits the runways, and eventually, our bodies. And I'm not just talking price points. As promised yesterday, a short history of silhouettes in fashion.
We'll skip over the entire history of fashion and instead pick up with the rise of Punk in the 1970s in Britain and into the 80s in the US . It has really carved out quite a niche in fashion history. What was going on? Well, the counter culture rock scene decided the establishment was a hot mess and threw itself into rebellion. As a physical manifestation of that anger, enter spikes. It's menacing and off-putting (in hair and on collars).

This brings us to the 80s. The stock market flourishes, people like the Trumps and Reagans became symbols of the older, dominate wealthy rising class. Meanwhile, the younger demographic falls off a bit, not yielding the monetary power of their elders. The US was in a consumer frenzy. Conspicuous consumption at it's best. Malls sprang up everywhere, women wore power suits (Princess Diana) especially after women hit the work force. And because you had places to go and were far too busy and important to look good, you wore that power suit with tennis shoes. Women's clothing became more masculine in response to their growing financial power and the shoulder pad is born. Women steel themselves against the male paradigm and literally pad their silhouettes to more closely resemble a man's, with broad shoulders and boxy suit jackets.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

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