Fashion in Relation to Commodity Culture of Essay

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Fashion in Relation to Commodity Culture of 1980s


Fashion during 1980s seems to be glitzy and bold. Fashion trends were no longer dictated by teenagers; as the baby boom generation continued to become richer and older, they demanded more glamorous, upmarket fashion. Contrary to what inspired 1970s fashion, fashion of 1980s did not allow these non-materialist "hippie" values. Some of the nations such as Australia during the decade focused more on earning big money and spending it conspicuously. People could chose to wear fashion that were to promote materialist values as well as portrayed what they had in terms of wealth and social status. Based on reaction against the materialist values and the hippie values of the past decade, some fashion styles such as punk emerged.


Commodity is used by people to aid their living style but due to more demand of people and better living lifestyle, fashion came up and since then it has change how people view commodity for everyone now runs for the fashion so that they catch up with the living standards. Fashion has not just stated recently it existed even in 1980s. The argument of this paper is about what makes fashion to be more than just a commodity in regard to commodity culture of 1980s. Just like the 1980s century fashion, though in a more alarming rate, 21st century is a well adapting and transforming. It begins with an ordinary person who is in the street to the fashion designers responsible for the exhibition of clothes in different fashion events. As much as all individuals try to make a statement, they have severally never considered important where fashion indeed reflect identity of the individual.

Fashion has been largely associated with Paris as its place of birth. In the early 20th century Paris had categorized creative industry of fashion into two; the first category was world of couture. This fashion was a reality closed style belonging to the masses that was specifically meant to be used by elite on a custom-made basis. It was beyond the average peoples for they could not attain such luxury. The second category was off-the-peg clothes which were meant for mass production and purchase. Even before this century, fashion had offered an arena which could be used by people to express themselves within a society by using bodily image for self-determination. To some people they use it to represent the very social group that they represent for self-expression. Fashion override just a commodity, for instance our body can be categorized as consuming commodity, therefore because we are a competitive world, people usually do not encourage ordinary appearances, (Baker, M., 2011). Through advertisement we are always prompted to display bodily perfection based on the existing fashion, aiming at gaining prestige, significance, or for satisfaction value.

As time have been passing by fashion has continued to influence many of today's design, after finding its way in mass marketing, exposure, as well as in public relations, by just using appearance especially in terms of women's apparel. Industry of fashion is particularly based on visual or image that is facilitated through appearance for success. Nevertheless, clothing designers for mass marketing and publicity to some extend have watered down the world of haute couture. They have shortened the timelines of fashions thereby paving way for creation of cheaper designs called 'fast fashion'. Similarly to some of the 1980s' styles, some of the current fashion has been particularly designed with the aim of selling them in large quantities, hence labeling them mass commodities.

In the 980s, there was widespread of multitude and postmodernism styles, branding it a period of achievement and success, where various styles could be portrayed such as pirates-style, elite apparel, hip-hop, casual looks of sportswear and power-dressing; they could add fresh design and splash of color to society, (The Fashion Police, 2011). The period of 1980s has also been associated with a time of consumerist excess, which acted as a platform for economic as well as industrial boom; amount of wealth was portrayed by how one could purchase expensive commodities, particularly designer label fashions. The rich, elites and famous celebrities or associations of 1980s enjoyed popular brand-names such as UK Top Shop, H&M, Zara. Whatever prompted such status within the society were the recognized icons and models through displaying high standards clothes that in many occasion was short lived due to the high pricing, practicality, and quality prestige. The world's production and retail fashion tend to be analyzed using the word "trickle-down" that is to signify model of fashion trends, coming from the elite down to the majority; taking the place of the origins of fashion into polycentric, and diversity areas.

Some scholars have described past fashions as non-immortal, and 1980s saw its revival. Some of the movies of 18th century such as Amadeus and Dangerous Liaisons were of inspiration to designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and John Galliano. Moreover, Gaultier became motivated more by the tight vests and puff-sleeves that were traced from 16th century. This coexistence of the distinct styles has been seen as an important part of the 1980s fashion, after abandoning the idea of a definite style and trend. A range of styles reinforced, as well as relevant use reference in terms of artistic originality, where a person was clearly couched in different historic foils.

Fashion made designers across the world during 1980s gain recognition to the level of the then existing French designers. Using historical fashions, though in form of an entirely new quality, fashion became international and increasingly postmodern and playful. The decade experience a new kind of hybrid historicism, instead of having neomedieval fashion or new empire style, they sought suitable matches from everywhere putting a new and shaped to form something highly modern. Such fashion development resulted to coming up of different forms of styles. Women felt arrival of an opportunity where they could choose from numerous available an assortment as well as contrasting looks. There was a significant creed which aimed at women in displaying their bodies as ideal self. Women were to model themselves using variety of outfit in order to come up with a desired identity, concentrating more on physical workout, training, and dieting.

The 1980s most powerful and famous fashion costume was to be emphasized on broadening of shoulder as well as waist. Women were to make their legs, hip, and waist look slim using pants, or sometimes tight knee-length skirts, and highlighting their shoulder using bulky padding in jackets, that that is made up of a well-tailored look. Initially the style was specifically designed for women who were in business careers and it was referred as 'power dressing'. After a while shoulder pads were changed into casual wear, blouses and restrictedly evening dresses. This made women to identify satisfactory effect on having body proportions. According to scholars, women's career were always made more easier through implementing suitable clothing and they tend to conform to some men's clothes hence the sexual side of women were made invisible, therefore diverting the emphasis on equal competence revealing act of 'dressing for success' or 'power dressing'. Among the fashion designers was Giorgio Armani designing imbue practical principles into the garments but have not ever fallen into the form of ostentation. While referred as Armani style, the well tailored suits added a certain class of identity across the world, providing kind of power or authority to the female silhouette, as femininity continued to be asserted.

Another trend that became dominant trend in the 1980s that made fashion essential was Yuppie fashion that was signifying "Young Urban Professionals. The word "yuppie' was used to refer to a young person who is motivated career wise and worked for long hours spending their income not carefully with intention of showing others how it is easy and of prestige to achieve fashionable commodities. A female yuppie was to wear a power suit that has large shoulder pads with a skirt of straight knee-length, expensive brand-name bag, as well as a heavy looking jewelry, (Nobes, M., 2008). On the part of men, they were to wear the main business suits, just like style of today, together with a plain shirt or a stripped one plus a black suspender, while carrying a brick-sized phone, a large briefcase as well as slicked back hair portraying a professional business look. Many ways of influencing society with fashion came up, for example television series like Dallas and Dynasty impacting society more having 250 viewers of the show across the world, thereby establishing a media that could be used in this period to advertize fashion.

The success of fashion during 1980s was so elaborate as compared to what just a commodity could have achieved. It became highly honored as compared to celebrated actress. This resulted to transformation of the catwalk shows that have been organized by fashion houses and they became a more enhanced prestigious affairs, event, and performance, making major broadcastings to take higher priority in terms of social agenda, (Adorn London, 2009).…

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