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Over the years fashion has evolved from factors such as purpose, style and overall aesthetics. With so many outside influences around these days, it can almost be slightly overwhelming and hard to cherry pick key trends, unless they are formatted in a very concise way, to us the consumers. If we go back through generations, we can see that ‘fashion’ had very dual meanings and end products: The Victorians dressed for stature, whereas the 70’s punk generation, was very much about rebellion and making a statement. With this in mind I would like to delve, into what I believe, have been the top 3 influential eras of fashion, that still have a profound stamp on today’s trends. I believe as a designer and fashion follower, having at least some education in the history of clothing, only serves to inspire and shape the way we dress as individuals
Glam rock (also known as glitter rock) was a fusion of rock and pop music, developed in England, in the early 1970s. Keen advocates of this momentous shift in trends were T.Rex, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. The reason it was so well documented and imitated, was down to artists wearing outrageous clothes, makeup and hairstyles, most notably platform-soled boots and glitter. The flamboyant clothes and ultra-chic music created a very visual piece of iconography, with androgynous and ‘camp’ looks reasserting a shift in new gender roles and identity. Fast forward to the noughties and it was apparent that this style, was breathing a new lease of life, in the form of band ‘The Darkness’. However it didn’t have the same shock value as the 70’s, partly due to the fact we are very desensitized by anything shocking/provoking, as a result of a shift in influences, such as media coverage. Its status in fashion is still prevalent in platform shoes, iconic prints such as stars and cosmic splatters, not forgetting the sheer brilliance of uber-camp glitter and tight trousers.
Punk Rock was the next logical shift from the fun and frivolity of Glam rock. We are now talking late 70’s a time of cultural repression, by factors such as politics and the results of their standing. Punk can be personified by its short, sharp and often bohemian fusion of clashing guitars and expletive lyrics, showcasing a poetic merging of anti-establishment lyrics. In terms of fashion, punk was very much a time of self-expression and rebellion with a very strong nod to DIY garments. Safety pins and zips adorned custom made jackets, shirts and torn leather trousers, all fused together to create this popular fashion set. Now it’s nigh on impossible to talk about punk without including the great Vivienne Westwood herself, famed for dressing the likes of The Sex Pistols, she helped angst ridden youths express their love of the devoted punk revolution. Stores such as ‘At Worlds End’ became the ultimate hang out spot and even to this day, she still harbours her original concepts and style details in her work. The culture was all about rejecting association with the mainstream, which is quite the opposite of today’s artists: Miley taken note! This youthful rebellion can be summed up in just a few words: Leather jackets/Offensive t-shirts/Spikes/Studs and Bondage Detailing such as straps
Teddy Boys began to surface in the late 50’s and can be classically typified by young men wearing clothes, partly influenced by the styles worn by dandies, in the Edwardian period. Gaining a cult status due to its connection to rock and roll, it soon rocketed in the 50’s inspiring men to go back to a finer way of dressing. Tailors on the infamous Saville row took a great amount of style influence for the cut of garments, as a direct result of this shift in sub-cultures. Teddy boys were very much a driving force behind impressionable teen marketing, as they were the first youth group to identify themselves as teenagers. This can be seen in today’s society when so much hones is put on teens to look their best and tips on how to get that ‘look’. Some Teddy boys formed gangs and were documented as being very instrumental in a lot of pre-meditated attacks. This cannot however generalise the whole movement, as there was a very strong style aesthetic to the time and the element of gangs was limited to a minority of some advocates. The term teddy boys was originally titled as Cosh Boys, but soon became a branded movement when the Daily Express penned this now infamous phrase, when reporting on the style of the times. Modern day Teddy boys are men who like lux and tailoring: English gents with an air of style and class. Tapered, ankle cut trousers, fitted suit jackets and pencil thin ties are all reminiscent of this trend’s style founding’s.
Whether you shift away from vintage fashion and adorn yourself with only ‘current’ clothing, look closely at the design details and you may just see more of a historical influence than you think.