Fashion History - A Quick Guide
So you’re into fashion history now? Very well. We have to commend you on your choice since this is not a subject of interest for many fashion amateurs. Then again, you might not be an amateur and you might be the next Armani. It is essential that you understand the basics of fashion and how it all came to be. It is actually a lot easier than most people expect it to be, but since this is a quick guide we advise you that you look into the subject a little bit deeper after you are done with us. What is fashion? The truth is that we could simply throw a definition here and that would be the easy way to answer the question. But, in fact, that would not solve the question at all. It would only deepen the confusion.
Fashion is a subject that can be looked upon from a great deal of perspectives: emotionally, philosophically and businesswise. Since we are talking about history, it is both funny and tragical to know that humanity did not change that much. The same principles that governed us thousands of years ago still govern us now. Why? Because of mentality. People think in the same way, they do the same things and they teach their ways to their children as well. We are going to be looking at fashion and its history from all the different perspectives that we have mentioned earlier. Every point of view has something else to add to the story, so if you decide to accept each and every one of them you will get very, very far. A word of caution: some things might seem weird in the beginning, but if you pay attention you will see that everything is extremely logical.
Fashion From an Emotional Point of View
If you want nothing but the truth, we will give it to you: fashion, just like any other thing in human history, is a mixture of greed and fear. We talked about this in our previous guides, but what does it mean exactly? We all know what fear and greed are, right? They both stem from the way we are educated. “Dress well because the boys won’t like you.” “You should wear this because you want to look better than the others.” They seem logical, but they are a product of emotions that have been dominating is for years. Ever since ancient times, women started adorning themselves with all sorts of stones, jewels, clothes, ornaments, anything that would demonstrate that they are above everyone else. This need to be above everyone else is greed. Why would you want to be above someone else? Social stratification is a necessary thing, but in the end we are all people and we should all learn to embrace the simplest of things. Of course, this is a modest mentality. This is not how everyone thinks and this is not how the world works. Fear is the other side of the coin. What do you fear? To be perceived as a lesser human being? To be left behind by the trend? To be unworthy? Yes, those are the types of thoughts that fear generate. People in Ancient Rome had the same fears. God forbid that they would attend the king’s party and be confused with a mere slave. Slavery has been abolished in word nowadays, but the fear still persists. You want to go to a party and be noticed for the good taste that you have. You want to walk on the street and have some heads turn around to glance at your beauty. Fear leads to pride, which leads to a false sense of power. In the end, emotions got the better of you and everything you did was nothing more than to spend some money on some objects.
The Philosophy of Fashion
Emotion leads to thought, doesn’t it? Some thoughts can be wrong, just like those that we have discussed before. But some thoughts can be aspirational and even uplifting. The reason people have been suing jewels for so long is not only to differentiate themselves from others, but to also give them a sense of pride and fulfillment. Whenever we say that you should feel confident and graceful about what you wear, you should also be aware of the fact that this is a mentality developed over the course of fashion history. You are beautiful for several reasons. There is inner beauty, which not many people can see. There is the beauty of choosing the right thing. And, of course, there is the beauty of taking everything off. They are all inciting, aren’t they? Let’s look at each one in turn. Inner beauty is the beauty that you only get to see with your mind. Ancient civilizations were aware of that and people are aware of it today as well. One of the main reasons why people wear jewels or clothes is because they reflect the values and passions that they have. This is some sort of trick as well. In the end, we are only playing with our body shapes and colors. Every color has its own significance. We might interpret the color in the right way or not, but it is rather important that the wearer knows why they are wearing what they are wearing. This is where confidence steps in. Confidence is knowledge, knowledge that you are wearing that specific jewel for a specific reason. It’s not something that is on you. It’s part of you. This is a very delicate feature that history teaches us. We sort of combined the beauty of choosing the right thing and inner beauty within the same idea didn’t we? The only difference between the two is that choosing the right thing can also be superficial. It does not need to be logical. It can be a pure coincidence. We don’t need to have history lessons on this subject. Remember all the cases in which you asked why someone was wearing something and they just said “I don’t know. I like it.” The beauty of taking something off is, obviously, erotic beauty. This one does not need an introduction either. We are just going to leave it here for you think about it…
Fashion As Business
Don’t you think that Coco Chanel and Armani were the only business people in fashion. Merchants got the taste shortly after kings did. They understood that people have this need to feel superior and above everyone else. So they profited as much as they could. Fashion is great business, a business that will never die. What’s it all about? It’s the need. That insatiable desire to look good, a desire that has been fed with the same lines from childhood, over and over again: “dress well or the boys won’t like you.” “Wear some jewels. Don’t be like that colleague of yours who has nothing.” Both funny and tragical, education is what creates the need, a need with which we are not born naturally, but which we are somewhat forced to live with. And so merchants sold. They sold and they still sell to this day because humanity did not change that much. Some call them evil and say that they should give the people some money back, but this would not help the people either. Because if they got their money back they would go and spend it again and again. It’s a vicious circle that never ends.
All the good designers that you have ever heard of, including the ones that we have mentioned above, are good business people. They understood the need, they knew people wanted more, but what they did was actually offer more. You don’t get trinkets from Coco Chanel, you only get high-quality goods from Gucci and you have the certainty that Armani is the best menswear shop in the world. History has paved this way for us. In fact, it is we who actually paved it. You now have a basic understanding of how it all happened, how it all began and, above everything else, you know why we are where we are today. Fashion can be both an enslaving mechanism as well as a liberating one. It only matters on what side of the barricade you decide to be. In previous guides we actually encouraged people to start their own handmade businesses. Now you know why. You should not perceive fashion as a bad thing. On the contrary, fashion history shows us that more diversity is better. What actually brought us here is consumerism. The desire to have more and more has turned some fashion enthusiasts into pure opportunists. But there are those whose intentions are pure. You see their names on everything you buy. There is another thing that history teaches us very well: if you want to make a fashion business you can do it. Everyone else before you made the best of their opportunities, so why can’t you? Go ahead. We want to see your name on a shop in 5 years.