Fashion is essentially the most popular mode of expression: It describes the ever-changing style of clothes worn by those with cultural status. A fashion trend occurs when others mimic or emulate this clothing style. Fashions vary significantly within a society over time but also are affected by age, occupation, gender, location and social class. Today, a fashion trend starts with designers who design a spring and fall collection based on cues and inspiration they’ve gathered throughout the season. These cues can include popular culture, celebrities, music, politics, nature or something else entirely.
Fashion designers showcase their designs to photographers, writers, buyers, and celebrities at spring and fall runway shows. The photos and fashion features the writers and photographers produce, the purchasing action taken by retail buyers, and fashion-forward celebrities influence how the mass population receives the designer’s work.
Other designers draw their inspiration from these fashion designers and create affordable designs for the mass market. The fashion trend, then continues in malls, shopping centers and boutiques around the area. Some movements start in one country and span multiple countries, while others remain confined to one region.
Fashion Trends 1960-Present
Fashion in the 1960s reflected the cultural and political upheaval of the time. The hippie and counterculture movement gave rise to accessories like Pocahontas-style headbands and medallions worn around the neck. Hippies wore long, loosely fitting clothing, often in natural fabrics. Hemlines rose as Mary Quant popularized the miniskirt and hot pants in her lines for JC Penney. And mod fashion, with brightly coloured space-age geometric patterns, shift dresses, and coloured tights, became the mainstream. Both miniskirts and mod-shift dresses were worn with knee-high go-go boots.
Designers like Emilio Pucci revolutionized the era with his psychedelic fabric prints, and fashion icons like Jackie Onassis Kennedy were the picture of feminine class and sophistication. The 1960s were also influenced by the development of synthetic yarns, which gave way to fabrics like polyester, spandex and Lycra, all of which are still used today.
During the 1970s, the loose-fitting hippie clothes of the prior decade gave way to exotic fabrics and bell-bottom jeans for men and women. Hemlines continued to rise, and hot pants continued their popularity, reflecting the flashy style of the decade. However, the 1970s also saw the popularity of a longer hemline, from mid-calf to ankle-length. Women wore peasant-style clothing, especially blouses with off-the-shoulder necklines and lace trim, with jeans or skirts. The embroidered dress became especially popular with this trend. Disco fashion emerged, featuring bright patterns and tightly fitting clothing meant to show off the body. Platform shoes elevated their wearer, male or female, anywhere from two to four inches or more.
The carefree disco movement inspired its antithesis, the angry punk movement. Fueled by designers like Vivienne Westwood and bands like the Sex Pistols, the punk movement was an aggressive reaction to the economic and political situation of the time. With dyed Mohawks, studded and spiked leather jackets, combat boots and body piercings, punks were everything the glamorous and decadent disco-loving mainstream was not. Punk clothing often had a 'do it yourself' quality. Safety pins replaced buttons or seams, and the wearer added details like studs or spikes to pants and jackets.
The 1980s saw another fashion upheaval. Angst-ridden punks wore Dr Marten and steel-toed army boots, chains, tartan patterns, and bondage pants. During this period, punks focused more on their hair, dying, teasing, and chopping their hair into asymmetric styles that seemed to defy gravity. Women—and men—experimented with heavy eyeliner in a variety of colours. Women wore neon colours, jelly shoes, tight jeans, leggings, leg warmers and oversized sweatshirts. Menswear-inspired looks also became famous for both sides.
Men wore 'power suits,' named so for their price, which made these suits a reflection of the wearer's wealth. Women's jackets featured big shoulder pads that made the shoulders appear higher and more prominent, similar to the male silhouette. Miniskirts were made in denim, leather and knit fabrics and were often worn over leggings. The movie Flashdance popularized Dancewear, ripped sweatshirts and leg warmers for daywear. And entertainer Madonna made exposed undergarments, fishnet stockings, gloves, and layers of beaded necklaces in vogue. Accessories for women were significant, elaborate and brightly coloured. It became socially acceptable for cosmopolitan women to showcase their wealth through the value of their jewelry.
Glasses and sunglasses with large, plastic frames were worn by both sexes. Other fashion trends included acid-washed jeans or parachute pants, jean jackets, polo shirts with the collar up, high-top shoes, and baggy blazers with the sleeves rolled up. And throughout the 1980s, athletic shoes became increasingly prized, rising in price as well as popularity.
1990's fashion was far more subdued than the flashy, wild styles of the 1980s. Bands like Nirvana influenced the grunge look, which featured rock-concert tee shirts under plaid flannel shirts, jeans and long, greasy hair. Overalls were worn by both sexes, either with one or both shoulder straps unhooked. The punk style of the 1870s and 1980s evolved into the goth fashion trend, which featured black clothing, black boots and studded bracelets in bands like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.
The neon colors of the 1980s gave way to hyper color clothing, which changed colors according to the temperature. And the big hair so omnipresent in the 1980s completely changed a decade later, with long, straight hair achieving mass popularity. Women wore spaghetti-strap slip dresses over tee shirts as well as babydoll dresses, especially with thigh-high stockings. Navel piercings became popular with women, which coincided with the emergence of belly shirts that exposed the midriff.
Chunky platform shoes were all the rage, with layers of rubber soles that made the wearer look taller. Jeans became baggier as hip-hop emerged onto the music scene, often in brightly dyed colors like red or green. And men began to sag their pants, wearing their pants baggy and below the hips or rear. At the start of the 21st century, individuality again resurfaced. Technology like cell phones and online shopping has become more commonplace, regardless of socioeconomic status.