Clothing and the Culture of Fashion

1985 Words8 Pages
Clothing has always been an important part of society, with evidence from the earliest human civilizations. In history, climate, religion and political factors played a role in the fabrication, styling and even color of the garments that people wore. Today, the fashion industry is multi-faceted, and while climate and religion are still some factors in how we dress, there are many more influences in what we choose to wear. Time and time again, designers reference historical styles and push them into modern trends. Subcultures illustrate how a particular way of dressing can transform into a lifestyle. Ethnic fashion ties in with a specific culture’s values and beliefs. By looking at clothing in other societies around the world, as well as the many global subcultures, we can learn a lot about the depth and complexity of the members that make this world colorful and diverse.

Clothing is something that defines a person, and allows society to have an outlook on an individual’s lifestyle and beliefs. Unlike criticizing other material things like a car, a home or even something as simple as a television set, criticism of clothing is very personal. This suggests that there is a high correlation between clothing and personal identity and values. (Breward, pg.1) Clothing in a sense has the ability to communicate thought. However, similarly to art interpretations, this does not mean that any two people will perceive these visual aesthetics similarly.

Throughout history, women’s clothing was made to accentuate all the feminine qualities of the body, with the main focus on the idea of fertility. In fifteenth century Europe, large, voluminous robes called houppelandes created what was called the “pregnant silhouette,” by adding a...

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...earing the most ruffled, neon colored skirts in town. Your surroundings, financial background, religion, and daily habits make up not only your culture, but also your style. Factors such as music and the club scenes also influence a person’s fashion choices. With the amount of diversity, history and cultural references in the world, the possibilities in fashion are very complex. We can only look at reoccurring trends, and trends that have failed in order to understand what styles will survive in the future.


Eicher, Joanne B. Dress and Ethnicity: Change Across Space and Time.

Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers Limited, 1995. Print

Breward, Christopher. The Culture of Fashion. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press,

Inc., 1995. Print

Laver, James. Costume and Fashion: A Concise History. New York, NY: Thames and Hudson Inc., 1985. Print

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