The History of Fashion Trends

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Fashion has a rich history. Since time immemorial, clothes have been an integral part of human society. In the contemporary world, fashion houses like Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain, Chanel, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Oscar de la Renta, Mason Margiela, etc. are ruling the roost. Though these fashion houses have an opulent history, these are not the players who established the world of fashion.

During yesteryear, fashion trends weren’t established by designers. Instead, the royalty played a pivotal role in substantiating what was in and out. What princes and princesses wore was aped and replicated by the masses in alleys and arcades. However, fashion changed for good when Charles Frederick Worth opened his first store in Paris. Worth is considered to be the Father of Haute Couture by many fashion mavericks. Before Worth made his arrival, dress makers and designers drudged in oblivion for hours to create gowns that no one knew who made. Worth was the fashion designer who advised people on what they should be wearing instead of listening from people what they wanted to wear. For this very reason, Worth changed the face of fashion forever.

As is said often, fashion is a world of constant variables. There are certain trends that stay forever in fashion. There are certain other trends that come and go. And in between these two are trends that keep coming back with minute changes. During the course of its history, which spans over centuries, fashion has undergone many such minute changes.

By Unknown - A swim suit fashion show at the Hudson's Bay Company May 31, 1932Vancouver 125 - The City of Vancouver from Vancouver, CanadaUploaded by Skeezix1000, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14989600
1920 low waistline and hemlines Fashion trend, By Unknown – A swim suit fashion show at the Hudson’s Bay Company May 31, 1932Vancouver 125 – The City of Vancouver from Vancouver, CanadaUploaded by Skeezix1000, Public Domain.

The 1920s were a conservative era when women wore low waistline and hemlines. During the middle of 1920s, these were replaced with skirts that favoured slightly shorter hemlines to the longer ones. However, the 1930s witnessed an era of Hollywood glitz and glamour. Rich fabrics like velvet and chiffon were used to create larger-than-life gowns and dresses. This was the decade when the belt established itself as an accessory of both men and women.

By Farm Security Administration - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8b01035.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2112089
1930s witnessed an era of Hollywood glitz and glamour. By Farm Security Administration, Public Domain.

The growth of fashion is wrapped around world events. During the 1940s, when the world was struggling with a World War, fashion witnessed an era of frugality. It was during these times that items like bedsheets and night gowns which were earlier confined to the inside of homes began to make an appearance in women’s dresses. However, the 1950s saw the revival of the glorious age of fashion with fitted dresses and A-line skirts.

640px-StateLibQld_2_139795_Young_woman_wearing_a_skirt_and_striped_cardigan,_reclining_on_a_chair_for_a_studio_portrait,_1940-1950
fitted dresses and A-line skirts 1950s. By Contributor(s): Jones, W. A. – Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland., Public Domain.

1960s and 1970s witnessed an era of shorter as well as longer lengths. Mini skirts gained popularity and so did roomy maxi skirts. This was the era of disco when shimmer and glitter was easily visible everywhere.

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Mini skirts 1970s . Di Ed Uthman from Houston, TX, USA – Rhodes 1970s D05.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The 1980s favoured decadent glory to gleaming shine. Long feminine skirts and dresses gained huge popularity. During the 1980s and 1990s, fashion became hugely influenced by pop culture artists. This was the era when Madonna became the reigning queen of fashion.

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Image Credits: Craig Howell

People, today, have become much more fashionably smart than they have ever been. This is an age when fashion lovers are constantly dabbling their hands in haute couture, street style, ready-to-wear, etc. Today, fashion has also become much more about foraying into personal style rather than following the herd blindly.

Fashion will continue to grow and surprise forever. It is one of those arts the growth of which is both unpredictable and endless.