Fashion is everywhere. Some may say fashion is everything.
Everyone has their own taste in clothes, even those who wouldn’t say they follow fashion. However, some people don’t think fashion is important.
I believe that there is more to fashion than clothes, and I want prove why it is incredibly important in the world today.
Fashion distinguishes tribes, from Native American Indians to todays WAGs, displaying who you are. While the WAG culture is all about the glamour and the skyscraper heels, the Native America wore animal skins for practicality, and while maybe not to everyones taste today, it was relevant to their culture. Without those skins, the indians may have just looked like everybody else, likewise, the WAGs are their own assemblage and they don’t just want to look like every other tanned, immaculate woman. On an individual level, how you dress says a lot about you as a person, and without fashion, clothes would be nothing more than material.
But while we can talk about fashion now, many years ago, it didn’t exist. According to historian James Laver, curator at the V&A museum for 37 years, “the fourteenth century marks the emergence of recognisable ‘fashion’ in clothing” Things that are important are often given start and end dates, and this shows fashion is very important, more so than just clothing.
In the middle ages the idea of clothes being a status symbol emerged. What you wore, displayed your wealth and demonstrated where you stood in the heiracrchy. This is the same today. People with money to spend, like to spend it, and wear clothes that show it.
In 1914, the First World War broke out. Changes in clothing were really more necessity than fashion. However some of the changes in clothes adopted names that were to do with the war, for example a skirt was named War Crinoline. People were forced to lose the extravagance of the centuries before, but fashion designers joined in. Coco Chanel adapted, and created a new innovation of what we now know as costume jewellery, cheaper than the usual fine jewellery as it was made using less expensive glass or crystal beads. Another designer who flourished in the war was Burberry. Originally their garments were designed purely for practical purposes, with their revolutionary waterproof fabric lending itself to the conditions of the trenches perfectly. However it wasn’t long before the protective clothing for troops became a must have item for celebrities, and stars such as Audrey Hepburn were soon seen sporting the trench coats. With this, Burberry had successfully transformed from practical to high fashion.
This demonstrates fashion’s importance to people, having survived a war, and even developed further.
Looking at it from a business angle, fashion is very important for the world’s economy. In 2007 it was estimated that the UK market for clothing and footwear was worth £48.55 billion, and in both America and Australia, the fashion industry contributes 25% to each of their economies.
For employment too, fashion is important. The designer fashion economy alone employs 115,500 people in 1,400 different businesses, and this doesn’t even take into account the huge High Street fashion economy. However many people think that people who work in fashion are unintelligent and it’s not a proper job, but really, working in marketing, for example, in the fashion industry requires exactly the same qualifications as marketing in the pharmecutical industry.
For my work experience, I went to the decorative arts department in the museum and I was amazed at the sheer volume of clothing that they have in their collection. They have thousands and thousands of dresses, tops, trousers other clothing, and many hundreds of accessories including over four hundred hats, which I had the pleasure of sorting out! But what interested me was that in a national museum, alongside things like bones, swords and mummies, they are keeping clothes shoes and accessories from many eras ago to the present day because people are interested in them and they are part of our country’s history. This shows that as well as the mass population, even people who don’t actually work in the fashion industry think fashion is important.
There always will be those people say that fashion is pointless and not at all important. There will always be some that say that those who work in fashion are complete airheads and have no brains, but I think that, to put it bluntly, they’re wrong. Although a major (and pleasing) part of it, fashion isn’t totally about the glamour and glitz. Aside from the fabulous clothes and shoes, fashion is about business and economy, culture and history and is a highly influential theme in our world today. I wholly believe that there is far more to fashion than meets the eye, and it is extremely important.