When the dressmaker and client relationship changed
English designer Charles Frederick Worth seems to be the first fashion designer that used models. From the mid-1860s, the house was hiring young women.
This development changed the relationship between the dressmaker and the client. Instead of the designer coming to the customer, the designer gave a simple presentation to clients.
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In 1901, Lady Duff Gordon presented her 'Gowns of Emotion' using models on a stage with scenery, lighting and music, while their entrances were choreographed with poses. This innovation introduced the idea of showing fashion to a larger audience.
The traditional catwalk took place in department stores where large spaces were available. These presentations for middle-class shoppers were vital in validating the fashionable styles set by designers.
With social media being the better platform, many designers embraced the creative challenge this presented. They showcase their collections via fashion films or shoots and find other inventive ways to draw audiences.
The designers who had the most success on social media were those who scaled back the least. The pandemic has allowed time to reflect on the sustainability and role of the fashion industry.
In the 1960s, fashion designers started to break away from hosting a catwalk show in department stores and salons. Balmain presented a 1965 collection in a wine cellar, and Piere Cardin held a show outdoors next to the Seine in Paris.
Once we headed into the nineties, the fashion show got bigger and cost millions to stage. But the visual spectacle didn't really add to the basic concept of the fashion show. The shows were mostly happening behind closed doors for fashion editors, buyers, celebrities and private clients.
Fashion shows have always been about creating visibility and exposure for a designer's collection with the end goal of selling clothes. Technology placed fashion weeks within reach of everyone and changed it into a pop-culture phenomenon. As the fashion influencer emerged, the street style followed.
The rise of social media also led to brands choosing to livestream their shows to all. The change has expanded over the last year, causing designers to embrace a digital format over gatherings.
Celebrities are the biggest driving force in trend creation.
Companies often turn to celebrities to be spokespeople for their brands and products because celebrities are highly influential. They have a huge fan base and consequently a bigger reach than the latest fashion magazine.
TikTok is a breakthrough social media platform with millions of mostly young users worldwide, who share short videos and funny clips with matching music.
Lately, its popularity has skyrocketed, with artists like Khloe Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Britney Spears taking on to the platform. The Chinese App reached 1.5 billion downloads late last year and has caught the attention of brands around the world.
While people always want to have new looks, they are becoming aware of the impact of their choices on the environment. Vintage is back and possibly for good. The popularity of vintage is a response to fast fashion.
A recent report from the second-hand clothes sales platform TredUp expects the total resale market to double in value by 2023 (from $24bn to $51bn).
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