History of Fashion Design

History of Fashion Design

History of Fashion Designing 

The history of fashion designing dates back to 1826. The first fashion designer in history is Charles Frederick Worth, who set a fashion house in Paris. He started the tradition of fashion houses and telling customers what they should wear when they go out to parties. He was one of those fashion designers, who suggested to customers what would suit them better, and developed patterns for garments.

A number of other designer houses came into being during this time. They presented different patterns to the client and asked them if they liked those patterns and would like to order them. Prior to presenting clients with different patterns, designers only used to show the customer the finished products. This is why the concept of fashion design was so unique for customers.

Even though fashion designing started in Paris, it spread to other parts of the world at the beginning of the 20th century. New design clothes were developed in Paris, and they were sold in many parts of the world. This is why Paris was known as the fashion capital of the world during that time.

In the mid 20th century, fashion garments were produced in bulk, and people had more choices. At the end of the century, there was a lot of awareness among people about fashion designing, and they began to choose clothes for themselves. They started relying more on the trends that they saw in the market, and choose a style that would bring them style and comfort.

Paris became very popular because of fashion designing. Fashion magazines in London used to send their editors to the Paris fashion shows, to cover what was being showcased. Moreover, department stores in London used to send buyers to Paris so that they could purchase garments and cop them. Anyone could steal the trim details and style of another designer because there were no copyright or trademark laws. The modes of production at that time was not so competitive. Seamstresses moved freely into houses, where they made ready-made and made to measure clothes for their clients.

The first fashion show was organized in Paris, by a woman couturier, Jeanne Paquin. She was also the first couturier to open her store in Buenos Aires. There were many influential designers during this time, including Mariano Fortuny and Jaques Doucet.

When the First World War happened, the course of fashion designing changed. Women used to wear corsets and bouffant coiffures, and they stopped wearing them. They brought a complete change in their apparel and started wearing dresses, which lasted above the knee, along with a bob haircut. Some women even wore men’s clothes, and even though the designers were reluctant to accept this change, in the mid 20th century, they embraced this idea.

During the Great Depression, the fashion became less daring, and more about the feminine silhouette. The waistline was restored, and women started wearing ankle-length dresses. They even wore the slim-fit dress during the day and backless gown during the evening. As World War II ended, Paris didn’t remain the global centre of fashion, and the focus shifted to youth style. In the time between 1960 and 1969, the structure of fashion designing crumbled. As the 1960 s began, the consumers didn’t see one fashion, but several of them. There were a great variety of styles in each region of the world, influenced by people’s choices and taste.

What is fashion design?

Fashion designing is all about the art of creating apparel in a way that it seems fashionable and unique. It creates clothing and accessories, which defines a part of someone’s lifestyle. There is an ancient fashion designing and modern fashion designing. Fashion designing is divided into two categories; ready to wear and haute couture.

An haute couture collection is dedicated to privileged customers and is custom sized for those customers only. It means that special customers are shown designs, and when they place an order, the designer takes their measurements. It is highly unlikely that the designer makes the same design for someone else. The ready to wear collection comes in different styles and sizes. They are not custom made, which is why large orders are produced by them.

To become a fashion designer, one has to be passionate about the job, should be creative in this line, and must have an artistic personality. A large part of being a designer has good drawing skills. A designer should be able to combine different tones, shades, and colours. If a designer is highly successful and has a good visual imagination, then they are able to express their thoughts through dresses. Fashion designers have to be aware of what is trending in the fashion industry and then design apparel accordingly.

Fashion designers are always in the hunt for new inspirations, which is why they keep learning things. They read magazines and follow every piece of news regarding the fashion industry. One has to be interested in art, attending fashion shows and gallery exhibitions, because they can gain inspiration from just about everything.

Fashion In History

Fashion History of Ancient Egypt 

When people hear of Egyptians, the first thing that they think of is mummies. However, Egyptian fashion has a whole history, which people are interested in. This is because, whenever scholars dig deep into the history of the Egyptians, they find out things that are followed in the modern world as well. Perhaps, the Egyptians were ahead of their time, and it is not different in the fashion designing area as well.

When scholars studied ancient Egypt, they found out about their fashions from statues and wall paintings. There are examples of the kind of clothing that people used to wear, in tombs and houses. Tombs had make-up kits and perfume containers, which means that the Egyptians had a sense of fashion. There are caches of jewelry as well, which date back to the old times.

Most of the clothes that Egyptians wore were made of linen. Linen is a light material, and it is perfect for hot weather. White was the colour that Egyptians chose for most of their clothes, but they wore red, blue, and yellow colours as well. Clothes were usually draped over their body, and sewn in a few places. Other items were mostly made of wool, but their find is rare.

Women, regardless of their class, used to wear ankle-length sheath types of dresses.  linen was used to make these dresses. Peasant women wore linen dresses, but they were mostly plain and had no embroidery on them. Some statutes even show servant girls wearing coloured dresses, with a checkered pattern. Their dresses were sewn and were different from the men. 

Fashion defined Classes, for example, elite class women used pleated with fringes. They covered their dresses with a piece of transparent fabric. The formal clothing that the ancient Egyptians wore was more elaborate and later on, was adopted by the Greeks and the Romans.

The men in ancient Egypt, specifically those who were poor, wore a loincloth. Upper-class men wore kilts, knee-length, and they were made of a rectangular linen piece. During cold weather, men were more likely to wear cloaks.

Categories of Fashion in Egypt 

In terms of the kingdom, the history of fashion can be divided into three parts. The first is the Old Kingdom, where the nobleman wore short kilts, pleated, and belted; men used to have shoulder-length hair, and they wore a necklace. As for a female servant, from the same kingdom, she wore a simple sheath dress, had long hair, her dress was unplated, and she wore some kind of jewellery.

In the middle kingdom, the fashion changed, as the officials started wearing a mid-calf kilt with a large apron, which was stiffened so that it can maintain its triangular shape. The men also wore an elaborate necklace. As for the female servant, she wore a simple sheath dress and had long and unplated hair.

Things changed in terms of fashion for the nobleman, in the New Kingdom. They wore elaborate, pleated garments, jewellery, and wigs. Their sandals were extended and curled. The noblewoman from this time wore an elaborate gown, jewellery, plated wig, hair ornaments, and a scented cone.

When the New Kingdom came into being, the people of Egypt came in contact with Syria and Canaan, and they adapted to dying clothes. It is apparent that most of the time, both sexes wore similar clothing, and most of them were simple.

Tunics -What is Tunics 

Men and women wore loose-fitting tunics, and their creation was influenced by Mesopotamian and Hyksos styles. When the New Kingdom arrived, women wore short or sometimes long tunics, which were with or without sleeves. They were made from linen and could be won over short skirts.

In Egyptian fashion, there is evidence of V-neck dresses, which was a famous style among women. This has been proved by the number of such dresses, which were found in their tombs. These V-neck dresses were also made with or without sleeves, and had a more complex design. A tubular skirt was joined to the yoke; in winters, even women wore cloaks.

Post Ancient Egypt

In post-Ancient Egypt, like in the 1500s, the citizens started to cover their body more and took inspiration from the fashion of Ottoman Turks. Their clothes were also inspired by Europeans and other Muslims countries, but they did keep some parts of traditional clothes like Bedouins and Nubians.

The traditional costume for men is more of a folk outfit. It consists of a long shirt called gallibaya, trousers (which are optional), and outer garments like headdress and shoes. The garment comes with wide sleeves, and such garments are even worn by Egyptian farmers. The traditional Egyptian trousers that people wear are called surreal, and they are worn under the gallibaya; however, they are optional.

Kaftan is the most worn garment in Egypt, and it is worn over a gallibaya. It is a long coat, with wide sleeves, and is open from the front. It comes with a belt and sash; the sash is called hizan. Kaftan is made using striped cloth like cotton, satin, and half silk. Kaftan is even worn in present times, but mostly by those who want to keep the tradition alive. When men wear Kaftan, they also wear several other outer garments over it, like binish. Binish is a dark fabric overcoat, it has wide sleeves and a simple cut. Another overcoat is djubbeh, but it has a very complicated design, as the overcoat is buttoned halfway down.

As part of Egyptian fashion, the men used to cover their heads using headdresses. Their headdress was fashionable but was also a way for them to protect their head from the Sun and other severe weather conditions.

Egyptian women also wore light and loose clothing. As most of the Egyptians are Muslims, they wanted to keep a connection with their religion, but also save themselves from the hot weather. Women covered their heads and the body and wore a long robe called gallebaya. They even wore baggy trousers and underwear, several layers of outerwear, and shoes. The gallebaya had long sleeves and were ankle length for women. In rural areas, women used this as the main garment, and the same was for poor women.

However, in the cities, women used to wear gallebaya as indoor clothing, and when they used to go out, they wore a different outer piece on top of it. For outdoor fashion, Egyptian women used to wear tob sebleh. These are full-length dresses, made from cotton.

Fashion Designing in Modern Countries- Fashion in London 

The fashion designing history of London is a bit different from Paris. In the medieval period, London was recognized as an innovative and exciting part of the world. This is because it became the central hub for trading and cultural exchange, even though the city was not able to meet the fashion standards set by both Paris and Rome.

London plays an important role in international fashion, as it dominated the field of unfinished products like wool and silk, and their export. They even imported high-end luxury items, like fur. The rich were able to afford these items, but the poor couldn’t. In the 18thcentury, fashion in London began to change, as things like beautiful embroidery, knee-length coats for men, skirts, and full dress for women, and exaggerated wigs were introduced. Women liked to wear a fitted gown, along with silhouette enhancing ensembles, like the English royalty used to wear.

The reason why fashion designing gained more popularity during this time was due to the increase in theatre shows, balls, and court presentations. 19thcentury was when Victorian fashion clothes were modernized for both men and women. The tailcoats that men used to wear were shortened at the front, and trousers became a fashionable choice for them. Ladies, when they wore formal gowns, they wore corsets with them, with waistlines dropped. It revealed a more natural silhouette, and short puff sleeves became the rage. The clothing industry of the city rapidly expanded as well.

The 20th century saw a change in fashion designing in London. The shift in style that fashion saw was mainly due to the key events in history. In World War II, women became trousers, because of fabric rationing. When the war ended, women started to express themselves more through stylish fashion. This is the time when full skirts became a trending style, and every woman wore it.

In the late 20th century, the city saw rebellious fashion change. The fashion industry was highly influenced by the Mods of 1960s Carnaby Street, as well as the Punks of 1970s King’s Road. Such fashion trends were adopted by people from all over the world.

Top Famous Fashion Designers 

If we look at the famous fashion designers from the start of the fashion designing industry, there are many names that deserve some praise. These designers are unique because of their designs, how they started in the industry and their unique thought processes.

John Redfern 

John Redfern is an English designer and someone who is not well known, even though his contributions towards fashion have been immense. This English designer was an influential 19th-century designer and was one of the first to create a two-piece jacket and skirt ensemble. This was made in serge and jersey for the women of the late 1800s. These women watched and golfed and needed a fabric, which won’t tear easily. Redfern expanded his fashion designing in Paris in 1891. And running a successful business, which revolved around a catalogue-style business.

Jacques Doucet 

Jacques was a member of the elite society, and his main reason behind designing clothes was to fund his art collecting passion. He dressed actresses, members of the elite society, and even royalty. Jacques founded the House of Doucet, and it specialized in women’s lingerie and laces. When he inherited his family business, he expanded his label and created gowns and tailored suits.

Mariano Fortuny 

He was an avant-garde designer, known for dressing avant-garde women at the start of the 20th century. He is known for creating Delphos gown, and his garment collections evolved over time. The gown that he created was made of pleated silk and was weighed down with tiny glass beads. This was the time when the rigid s-curve corset was a unique trend for women, and only those who dared to show their body would wear Delphos gown in public.

There were many fashion designers who stood out in the past because of their unique tactics. Alexander McQueen was one of such designers, who even dressed Prince Charles. One of his most controversial creations were bumster trousers, which were pants cut very low, as they exposed backside cleavage. Apart from his designs, he is also known for catwalks, which were splattered with blood, and showed models as brutalized.

Christian Dior dominated the fashion industry after World War II ended. He created a lower hemline on dresses and came up with the idea of small shoulders. It was Dior who created fuller skirts, contrasting them to padded shoulders. He contributed towards Paris’ fashion scene and gave them the status they enjoyed before the war started.

Coco Chanel is a known name in the fashion industry. In 1954, Chanel shared her collection of casual clothes, which were styled in an elegant way. She created collarless cardigan jackets and bell-bottom pants, which are still worn today. She was also known for her fashion accessories, like quilter purses and perfumes. Chanel no.5 is a famous perfume of all day, and when people hear the name Coco Chanel, they immediately remember the little black dress she made famously.

Donatella Versace and Gianni Versace 

These two are known Italian designers, and there is even a mini-series that portray the events of Gianni Versace’s assassination. He is famous for introducing modern street culture, and he was a designer for famous public figures like Princess Diana. When Gianni was murdered, his sister took over and is still running the show.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is another important name in the fashion industry, mainly because of his approach to fashion. He made men dress in softer fabrics, particularly the ones that women wore. He designed a power suit for women, taking elements from men’s suits. He even added Armani perfumes, sportswear and couture dresses in his line of fashion.

The last name in this list is Ralph Lauren, who is very famous in the fashion industry. He was born in a poor family, and worked day and night; he even took business classes. He is mainly known for designing clothes for actors, like for the 1974 movie ‘The Great Gatsby’.

These designers have unique and special qualities. They are passionate about designing, and even if they are criticized by others in the same industry, they don’t give up. They don’t think of designing as their job, but as something, they can do with their eyes closed. Fashion designers come up with new and creative designs, but they need inspiration for such things. This is why the network meets people and gets to know what they want to wear.

Fashion designers, from past to present, believe in creating something that would feel elegant and comfortable at the same time. Celebrities wear clothes designed by fashion designers because they have faith that a fashion designer has a good eye, and knows what would suit them.


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