Just like human civilization, fashion has its roots set in ancient history, that too with a mix of regional, cultural, and historical influences from across the globe. The fashion culture always repeats itself in a decade or two, further bringing twists in the latest fashion trends.
The world today is influenced by the fashion industry to such a level that it has become as essential as food and water. Fashion today is no more about adorning apparel, whereas it is about keeping up with the ever-evolving latest fashion trends.
Ever wondered how the fashion industry became so huge? How the Indian Textile Industry contributes approximately 5 percent to India’s gross domestic product (GDP)? What all led to this development in the industry and how do the latest fashion trends and fashion culture differ from ancient Indian fashion?
The blog is a one-in-all stop for all your fashion-related queries, read on to know specifications about the fashion evolution.
Fashion as an industry is a product of the modern age, but fashion has been ancient. The early documents and archaeological findings have revealed the clothes worn by people in various ancient civilizations.
According to the archaeological finds, it can be concluded that early men did not always prefer covering their bodies, researches depict they started adorning clothes well after they lost body hair.
Later with hairlessness, early men adorned animal skin, fur, plant leaves, and bark to cover up their bodies. They were least bothered about fashion, modesty, and adornment values of clothing. The only reason behind early men to clothe themselves was cold or hot climatic conditions and protecting their skin from chafing. At an early age, men and women initiated to create clothes using needles made out of bones. They even started utilizing bones to make decorative necklaces.
Later in the medieval age, evolution came in clothing, and the reason for adorning clothes rapidly moved from protection to concepts of ranking, decoration, occupational trade, tribal and group affiliation. In the medieval age, what one adorned depended on who they were during the period, to be the precise one dressed according to the ranking in the feudal system.
The archaeological evidence found in Egyptian tombs depicts that many men working in agriculture, wood, leather and tailoring adorned a loincloth, the cloth rapidly transformed and developed into a skirt piece, which was earlier more widely adored by men than women for a thousand of years. The period was all about functionality over fashion.
The early modern period changed the dynamics of fashion, in the English Renaissance clothing consisted of several elements of social status. The major difference was of the fabric, for the richest one of the society, there were desired expensive fabrics made out of gold threads. Women were seen wearing massive gowns, and the corsets were inseparable parts of their outfits. The period also showed how women embraced headdresses. Men’s wear was quite less complicated than women's, they were seen wearing high necked shirts, jerkins, wide-armed and knee-high coats. In the modern period, fashion became a sign of resistance and protest.
Fashion and freedom come hand in hand, from the Victorian age to the modern era, fashion has played an essential role in wars and freedom struggles. Fashion has successfully changed the dynamics of women’s role in society.
Women of the late 19th and early 20th century indulged in greater physical activity and started involving themselves in the outer work world. The "new woman" as she was referred, started adorning clothes that suited her more practical lifestyle. Women in Europe and the US initiated wearing pants even before it was socially acceptable. In countries like the US, England, and France women could be put behind prisons in the 18th and 19th centuries for wearing pants.
The fight to make it permissible for women in the US and Europe to wear pants was connected with the women’s rights movement. Through fashion, they battled for their rights.
Pants steadily moved beyond the realm of leisure in women’s life.
Clothing also played an essential part in the freedom struggle of India, Mahatma Gandhi took a momentous step to change his attire. The epoch-making decision made him opt for a simple dhoti and shawl, he took this decision as he wanted to work for and with the poor mass of India. He believed he won’t identify with them if he wears different clothes from them. Mahatma Gandhi initiated an act of boycotting which also included boycott of foreign goods and cloth. This further promoted self-reliance among Indians and led to mushrooming of Swadeshi textile mills. The boycott movement promoted the Indian fabric-Khadi on an international level.
The life cycle of fashion began from the production of fiber, the apparels that set the latest fashion trends are just from a small fiber.
For those who are not aware, the spinning wheel is an ancient invention utilized to transform various animal and plant fibers into thread or yarn which are later woven into a cloth. There is no particular date to when exactly the first spinning wheel was invented. Some historians claim its first appearance back in ancient Egypt, while others debate that it debuted in India between 500 and 1000A.D. Some even suggest that the spinning wheel migrated from China to Iran and later from Iran to India during the late middle ages.
Earlier there were handheld spindles and distaffs which were utilized to produce threads for the fabrics. Spinning by hand was time-consuming and lead to small-scale production. But the ever-increasing demand for high-quality textiles, led to an era of innovation and industrialization which further brought improved machinery. The evolution in the spinning wheel produced thread that was higher quality, much stronger and finer.
The invention of the spinning wheel in India gave fashion new heights. The earlier method of hand spinning was replaced by this new equipment.
With the rise of the spinning wheel came numerous range of options in the creation of textiles, leading to today’s latest fashion trends.
The possibility to produce yarn at a much higher speed brought the success of the fashion industry and fashion culture, further with the ability to create a variety of silks, linens and wools. This rapid development in crops and fiber spinning led to fashion becoming accessible to all.
Indian fashion is quite different from European, for European men, dressing up is a way of living. Whereas Indian customers have always firmly believed in the concept of sustainable fashion. If talked about the menswear market in particular, the Indian menswear market is widely different from the European market. Indians are open to accepting various forms of clothing, be it dhoti or suit, Indian men gracefully adorn both. Whereas European fashion is all about individualism.
Indian consumers tend to follow the latest fashion trends, along with accepting modernity they never left the essence of their indigenous fashion. European consumers are little brand seekers when it comes to fashion. It is said that they like to flaunt brands through overt manifestations like logos whereas Indian consumers prefer subtlety.
Coming to fashion for women, till today, women embrace sarees of their great grand mother’s in India. Indians have always celebrated the concept of sustainable fashion, even today the clothes like saree in women wear and suits in menswear are passed on from generation to generation. This process is not just part of sustainable fashion, this small act is considered to be a traditional practice and token of love in the country.
The period of the 1980s-1990s was well celebrated by the expansion of fashion schools and colleges in India. This further led to an outbreak of alteration to fashion in Indian clothing, this also marked the appearance of women in the workplace at a huge pace. The ’80s were full of shimmery and glittery costumes, denim and leather biker jackets, and chiffon sarees in varied colors with a fusion of Indian and western clothing styles. The ’80s witnessed the active participation of women in the Indian Fashion Industry breaking all the stereotypes.
Later in 90’s the Indian fashion industry saw the arrival of full-sleeve salwar kameez, floral dresses, long skirts, denim, shades, and dungarees. By the 90s, the Indians adopted a more westernized concept in fashion making by opting for bold and stylish choices.
Later in 1986, the National Institute of fashion technology (NIFT) emerged and became one of the pioneering institutes of fashion education in the country.
From the 1980s-1990s, the way of dressing changed and evolved majorly. Fashion became more about the personality of a person.
The Indian fashion trends weren’t only influenced by the culture and religious beliefs of a place anymore. After the independence of the country, people began to create their own identities. The fashion trends began to transform, with the rising western influence, clothing evolved a lot. The Indian designers like Ritu Kumar, Bina Ramani, and others changed the perspective of fashion in India, they brought the fusion culture and fabrics like lycra in the country to promote comfort and grace at the same time. They fused Indian grace with the essence of modernity. The traditional sarees were now being infused with different modern styles. People began to move from traditional dresses to different indo western attires. This change was witnessed with the transformation in personalities, culture and thinking of people.
As long as humans have started adorning clothes, they have developed the desire to express their individuality through fashion. The fashion industry is one of the biggest industries globally with the global retail apparel market speculated worth $1.4 trillion.
Technology today is fundamentally transforming the fashion industry from the fashion companies manufacturing until the way their products are marketed and sold. Technology is transforming the fashion industry in every segment such as designing, manufacturing, logistics, marketing and sales.
It has successfully opened the doors for innovative ideas, further creating demand among consumers. The consumer's lookout for constant change in fashion and designs, along with following the latest fashion trends.
Fashion along with technology has created wonders today, in the world of fashion. The designers with their creations and fashion forecasting are successfully bringing the most innovative collections to the fashion market. To name of few-
1. Amit Aggarwal
Before designer Amit Aggarwal, nobody ever thought of restoring rich vintage Benarasi saris with three-dimensional hand embroideries or reinterpreting zari with art nouveau patterns and intricately embroidered recycled cord. The 39 years old Indian designer is well celebrated for making recycled plastics and industrial materials mainstream fashion conversation in India. Creating ensembles from amorphous forms are the designer's mainstay. His vision is not limited to just upcycling or the use of industrial materials.
The designer aptly promotes sustainable fashion, in 2008, he used upcycled bottle caps for fine and intricate handwork that were hidden between layers of fabric.
2. Akshat Bansal
The 28 years old, designer Akshat Bansal showcases sustainability through their creations. In his Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Spring/Summer 2018 collection, the creative director and founder of Bloni- Akshat Bansal, utilized only fabric made from marine plastic waste.
The designer is extremely innovative when it comes to his collection, a firm believer in equality, he was witnessed advocating androgyny in his lines. His collection, Neutrois, represented the discrimination faced by humans due to biological, cultural, and aesthetic differences.
According to a speculated data the fashion industry is responsible for 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015, along with that the industry alone produced almost 5% of manmade CO2 emissions in 2015 – more than aviation and shipping combined. The energy utilized in manufacturing, transporting, packaging and selling a garment all contributes to emissions footprint. But the climate impact doesn't stop at the shop – what happens during a garment's lifetime of use also contributes, to the pollution. But with innovation and technology, the designers have come up with different concepts to minimize the pollution caused by the fashion industry.
1. SUSTAINABILITY IN FASHION
Sustainable fashion is one of the most talked-about topics in the media and world of fashion. Today looking at the severity of conditions and spreading awareness among consumers more and more brands are moving towards the concept of sustainability. Sustainable fashion can be defined in two ways, one being environmentally friendly, while the other being secondhand/vintage or swapped, rented or borrowed clothes as opposed to purchasing newly produced clothes.
2. MERINO WOOL
The great wrinkle-resistant fabric brings style and performance together. The fabric includes qualities like quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant, washable, skin-friendly, durable, and is sustainable. Recent research by The Woolmark Company has stunned the audience by briefing them about merino wool's pros.
Fashion has been seen being a part of all ages, changing and shaping their way into globalization. From leaves to innovative plastic bottle attires, fashion has always molded itself to suit societal and environmental needs.
The fashion industry is ever-changing, with growing awareness among the consumers the fashion brands are moving towards eco-friendly methods of production.
As consumers are becoming aware of the harmful consequences posed by the fashion industry on the environment, more efficient methods are being developed. These techniques are studied further and developed for all types of fabrics so that the pressure on resources is lessened.
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