As a cultural expression, clothing reflects social status, individuality, and style. While clothing has been used for centuries to differentiate the rich from the poor, it was only in the mid-19th century that clothing became a mass market. Before that time, clothing was handmade by households. The evolution of ready-to-wear clothing eased this process. In addition, fashion magazines began to feature photographs, which helped customers make purchasing decisions.
From the 1920s when women wore flapper dresses, to Jean Paul Gaultier’s skirts for men in the 1980s, fashion has been a powerful communicative tool within the community. It has undergone many transformations throughout history as a response to the societal changes. Y2K and the Hippie generation are just a couple of examples of this. Fashion is constantly evolving, responding to changing societal trends and taking a turn.
The fashion industry is a global business, and as such, it reflects society in many ways. Not only does fashion create a sense of identity, but it also allows people to express their different moods and personalities. Whether one wears gaudy clothes or loud make-up, their appearance speaks volumes about their character and mood. Fashion reflects society and the values of the society. Even if it’s just a trend, it reflects the social atmosphere.
The 1930s brought about the onset of the Great Depression in the United States. Rationing forced people to adapt to the limited means available. Fashion was increasingly feminine and softer in style, and slinky, bias-cut dresses were popular. During the Depression, many Americans dreamed of being like the Hollywood celebrities, and the fashion community was a reflection of this dream. Ultimately, the 1930s saw fashion’s rise and fall in the country.