Fashion has been influenced by many different factors throughout history. Early fashions developed out of necessity, with people creating apparel appropriate for their climate from the most readily available materials. As time went by, clothing evolved from being much more than a basic necessity; fashion began to define culture, socioeconomic conditions and status, individual expression and visual appeal.
Fashion Eras and Influences
Learn about the widely varied influences on clothing choices and see how they have changed over time.
- Textile availability: Until international textile trade became common, textile availability by geographic region dictated fabric options and, by default, fashion.
- Ethnicity: Clothing choices tend to vary by ethnicity, as evidenced by Afrocentric fashion and the significant differences in fashion across areas within East Asia and Central Asia.
- Cultural traditions: Apparel plays an important role in cultural traditions, as evidenced by Japanese traditional dress and adornment and traditional carnival apparel in various regions.
- Art: There has long been a relationship between art and fashion, from the influence on art deco and art nouveau style on apparel to the concept of wearable art.
- Music: Fashion and music are also closely related, from dance costumes for cultural celebrations and performances to modern hip-hop, punk rock and grunge attire.
- Expression: People have long sought to express themselves through fashion, often pushing the boundaries toward dress reform to change norms and leading to attacks on fashion.
Whether you're a history buff or someone who wants to get an idea of where the fashion industry may be heading in the future, looking at the historical context through which fashion has evolved can be quite fascinating. LoveToKnow Fashion History is a rich resource of interesting information on this important topic.