Fashion design

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Finale of a fashion show, 2009
A catwalk (or fashion runway) is the popular place for showcasing fashion design, especially at fashion shows. Catwalk at Berlin Fashion Week for Michalsky's StyleNite.

Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories such as bracelets and necklace, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear falls within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions such as evening wear or party dresses.

Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture or bespoke tailoring. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Structure[edit]

Fashion designers can work in a number of many ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion as 'in-house designers' which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer's label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a 'name' as their brand such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Justice, or Juicy are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

Designing a garment[edit]

Fashion designers work in different ways. Some sketch their ideas on paper, while others drape fabric on a dress form. When a designer is completely satisfied with the fit of the toile (or muslin), he or she will consult a professional pattern maker who then makes the finished, working version of the pattern out of card or via a computerized system. The pattern maker's job is very precise and painstaking. The fit of the finished garment depends on their accuracy. Finally, a sample garment is made up and tested on a model to make sure it is an operational outfit.

History[edit]

The Chéruit salon on Place Vendôme in Paris, 1910
Fashion house poster from Budapest

Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth's success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 are considered as fashion design.

It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.

Types of fashion[edit]

The garments produced by clothing manufacturers fall into three main categories, although these may be split up into additional, more specific categories

Haute couture[edit]

Main article: Haute couture

Until the 1950s, fashion clothing was predominately designed and manufactured on a made-to-measure or haute couture basis (French for high-sewing), with each garment being created for a specific client. A couture garment is made to order for an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Look and fit take priority over the cost of materials and the time it takes to make.[1][2] Due to the high cost of each garment, haute couture makes little direct profit for the fashion houses, but is important for prestige and publicity.[3]

Ready-to-wear (pret-a-porter)[edit]

Main article: Ready-to-wear

Ready-to-wear clothes are a cross between haute couture and mass market. They are not made for individual customers, but great care is taken in the choice and cut of the fabric. Clothes are made in small quantities to guarantee exclusivity, so they are rather expensive. Ready-to-wear collections are usually presented by fashion houses each season during a period known as Fashion Week. This takes place on a city-wide basis and occurs twice a year. The main seasons of Fashion Week include, spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, swim, and bridal.

Mass market[edit]

Main article: Mass market

Currently the fashion industry relies more on mass market sales. The mass market caters for a wide range of customers, producing ready-to-wear garments using trends set by the famous names in fashion. They often wait around a season to make sure a style is going to catch on before producing their own versions of the original look. In order to save money and time, they use cheaper fabrics and simpler production techniques which can easily be done by machine. The end product can therefore be sold much more cheaply.[4][5][6]

There is a type of design called "kutch" design originated from the German word "kitschig" meaning "ugly" or "not aesthetically pleasing." Kitsch can also refer to "wearing or displaying something that is therefore no longer in fashion."[7] Often, high-waisted trousers, associated with the 1980s, are considered a "kitsch" fashion statement.[8]

Income[edit]

Median annual wages for salaried fashion designers were $61,160 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,150 and $87,120.[9] The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,780. Median annual earnings were $52,860 (£28,340) in apparel, piece goods, and notions - the industry employing the largest numbers of fashion designers.[10]

Fashion education[edit]

A classroom filled with sewing machines and Dressforms.
A student fashion show, 2007

There are a number of well known specialized art schools and design schools worldwide that offer degrees in fashion design and fashion design technology.[11] Some colleges also offer Masters of Fashion courses. Though it is not a requirement to have a Masters level degree, it is recommended by those already working in the industry to study at this level.

The most notable design schools in the world include:

Elsewhere in the world, Shih Chien University in Taiwan, RMIT University in Melbourne, Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan and the Asian University chain, Raffles College of Design and Commerce, all have reputable fashion design courses.

There are many universities that offer fashion design throughout the United States, usually within the context of a general liberal arts degree. The major concentration incorporating fashion design may have alternative names like Apparel and Textiles or Apparel and Textile Design, and may be housed in departments such as Art and Art History, or Family and Consumer Studies. Some schools, such as Parsons, offer a major in Fashion Management, combining fashion education with business courses.

An updated list of fashion design masters and PhD programs can be found at ITAA.org.[13]

Areas of Fashion Design[edit]

Area Brief Market
Women's Day wear Practical, comfortable, fashionable Haute couture, ready-to wear, mass market
Women's Evening wear Glamorous, sophisticated, suited for the occasion Haute couture, ready-to-wear, mass market
Women's Lingerie Glamorous, comfortable, washable Haute couture, ready-to-wear, mass market
Men's Day wear Casual, practical, comfortable Tailoring, ready-to-wear, mass market
Men's Evening wear Smart, elegant, formal, apt for the occasion Tailoring, ready-to-wear, mass market
Kids' wear Trendy or classy, practical, washable, functional Ready-to-wear, mass market
Girls' Wear Pretty, colorful, practical, washable, inexpensive Ready-to-wear, mass market
Teenager Girl Wear Colorful, comfortable, glamorous, pretty Ready-to-wear, mass market
Jeans wear Unisex, democratic, comfortable, practical, functional Ready-to-wear, mass market
Swimwear Trendy, stylish, practical, functional, colorful Haute couture, ready to-wear, mass market
Sports wear Comfortable, practical, well-ventilated, washable, functional Ready-to-wear, mass market
Knitwear Right weight and color for the season Ready-to-wear, mass market
Outerwear Stylish, warm, right weight and color for the season Ready-to-wear, mass market
Bridal wear Sumptuous, glamorous, classic Haute couture, ready-to-wear, mass market
Accessories Striking, fashionable Haute couture, ready to-wear, mass market
Performance wear Sporty, dependent on the sport Ready-to-wear, mass market

World fashion industry[edit]

Fashion today is a global industry, and most major countries have a fashion industry. China and Bangladesh are the biggest manufacturers of fashion industry. Other notable manufacturing countries are Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, and Brazil.

Seven countries have established an international reputation in fashion: France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Belgium.

American fashion design[edit]

The majority of American fashion houses are based in New York City, with a high concentration centered in the Garment District neighborhood. On the west coast, there are also a significant number of fashion houses in Los Angeles, where a substantial percentage of high fashion clothing manufactured in the United States is actually made. Beverly Hills, particularly on Rodeo Drive, is globally renowned for its fashion design and prestigious shopping. Burgeoning industries in Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and especially San Francisco have developed as well. A semi-annual event held every February and September, New York Fashion Week is one of four major fashion weeks held throughout the world. Parsons The New School for Design, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City, is considered as one of the top fashion schools in the world.

American fashion design is dominated by a clean-cut, urban, casual style; reflecting the athletic, health-conscious lifestyles of urban city-dwellers. A designer who helped to set the trend in the United States for sport-influenced day wear throughout the 1940s and 50s was Claire McCardell. Many of her designs have been revived in recent decades. Famous American brands and designers include Vera Wang, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Bob Mackie, Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Geoffrey Beene, Oleg Cassini, Perry Ellis, Kenneth Cole, James Galanos, Todd Oldham, Donna Karan, Liz Claiborne, and Nolan Miller.

Belgian Fashion design[edit]

In the late 80s and early 90s, Belgian fashion designers brought a new fashion image that mixed East and West, and brought a highly individualised, personal vision on fashion. Well known Belgian Designers are the Antwerp Six : Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck and Marina Yee, as well as Maison Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Tim Van Steenbergen, Peter Piloto, A.F. Vandevorst, Bruno Pieters, Angelo Figus, Christian Wijnants, and Bernhard Wilhelm.

British fashion design[edit]

London has long been the capital of the United Kingdom fashion industry and has a wide range of foreign designs which have integrated with modern British styles. Typical, British design is smart but innovative yet recently has become more and more unconventional, fusing traditional styles with modern techniques. Vintage styles play an important role in the British fashion and styling industry. Stylists regularly 'mix and match' the old with the new, which gives British style that unique, bohemian aesthetic that many of the other fashion capitals try to imitate. Irish fashion (both design and styling) is also heavily influenced by fashion trends from Britain. Famous British brands and designers include Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Mulberry, Stella McCartney, Thomas Pink, Jimmy Choo, Alfred Dunhill, Fred Perry, and Vivienne Westwood.[14]

Canadian fashion design[edit]

Toronto holds annual fashion shows to showcase what its fashion designers have to offer.

French fashion design[edit]

Main article: French fashion

Most French fashion houses are in Paris, which is the capital of French fashion. Traditionally, French fashion is chic and stylish, defined by its sophistication, cut, and smart accessories. French fashion is internationally acclaimed.

German fashion design[edit]

Main article: German fashion

Berlin is the center of young and creative fashion in Germany (prominently displayed at Berlin Fashion Week), while Düsseldorf helds Europe's largest fashion trade fairs with Igedo. Other important centers of the scene are Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. German fashion is famed for its elegant lines as well as unconventional young designs and the great variety of styles.

Globally renowned fashion designers from Germany are Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss, Wolfgang Joop, Jil Sander, Michael Michalsky, Etienne Aigner, Rudolph Moshammer, Torsten Amft, Willy Bogner, Rudolf, and Adi Dassler.

Famous fashion brands include BOSS, adidas, PUMA, Escada, JOOP!, MCM, Bruno Banani, Sander, Triumph, Talbot Runhof, Kaviar Gauche, Schiesser, Closed, Reusch, Valisere, Jack Wolfskin, Ulla Popken, Buffalo, Rohde, Zalando, Dr. Martens, P&C, Marc O'Polo, Tom Tailor, s.Oliver, Esprit, and Wunderkind.

There also is a range of fashion models from Germany that made it to international fame, such as Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum, Diane Kruger, Eva Padberg, Toni Garrn, Julia Stegner, Kirsten Dunst, Tatjana Patitz, Manon von Gerkan, Nico, Uschi Obermaier, Lena Gercke, Sara Nuru, Barbara Meier, Nadja Auermann, Claudia Ciesla, Aslı Bayram, Shermine Shahrivar, Evelyn Sharma, and Nico Schwanz.

Italian fashion design[edit]

Main article: Italian fashion

Milan is Italy's fashion capital. Most of the older Italian couturiers are in Rome. However, Milan and Florence are the Italian fashion capitals, and it is the exhibition venue for their collections. Italian fashion features casual elegance.

Japanese fashion design[edit]

Most Japanese fashion houses are in Tokyo. The Japanese look is loose and unstructured (often resulting from complicated cutting), colours tend to the sombre and subtle, and richly textured fabrics. Famous Japanese designers are Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo, Issey Miyake (masterful drape and cut), and Comme des Garçons's Rei Kawakubo, who developed a new way of cutting (comparable to Madeleine Vionnet's innovation in the 1930s).

Soviet fashion design[edit]

Fashion in the Soviet Union largely followed general trends of the Western world. However, the state’s socialist ideology consistently moderated and influenced these trends. In addition, shortages of consumer goods meant that the general public did not have ready access to pre-made fashion.

Swiss fashion design[edit]

Most of the Swiss fashion houses are in Zürich.[15] The Swiss look is casual elegant and luxurious with a slight touch of quirkiness. Additionally, it has been greatly influenced by the dance club scene.

Fashion design terms[edit]

  • A fashion designer conceives garment combinations of line, proportion, color, and texture. While sewing and pattern-making skills are beneficial, they are not a pre-requisite of successful fashion design. Most fashion designers are formally trained or apprenticed.
  • A technical designer works with the design team and the factories overseas to ensure correct garment construction, appropriate fabric choices and a good fit. The technical designer fits the garment samples on a fit model, and decides which fit and construction changes to make before mass-producing the garment.
  • A pattern maker (or pattern cutter) drafts the shapes and sizes of a garment's pieces. This may be done manually with paper and measuring tools or by using a CAD computer software program. Another method is to drape fabric directly onto a dress form. The resulting pattern pieces can be constructed to produce the intended design of the garment and required size. Formal training is usually required for working as a pattern marker.
  • A tailor makes custom designed garments made to the client's measure; especially suits (coat and trousers, jacket and skirt, et cetera). Tailors usually undergo an apprenticeship or other formal training.
  • A textile designer designs fabric weaves and prints for clothes and furnishings. Most textile designers are formally trained as apprentices and in school.
  • A stylist co-ordinates the clothes, jewelry, and accessories used in fashion photography and catwalk presentations. A stylist may also work with an individual client to design a coordinated wardrobe of garments. Many stylists are trained in fashion design, the history of fashion, and historical costume, and have a high level of expertise in the current fashion market and future market trends. However, some simply have a strong aesthetic sense for pulling great looks together.
  • A fashion buyer selects and buys the mix of clothing available in retail shops, department stores, and chain stores. Most fashion buyers are trained in business and/or fashion studies.
  • A seamstress sews ready-to-wear or mass-produced clothing by hand or with a sewing machine, either in a garment shop or as a sewing machine operator in a factory. She (or he) may not have the skills to make (design and cut) the garments, or to fit them on a model.
  • A teacher of fashion design teaches the art and craft of fashion design in art or fashion school.
  • A custom clothier makes custom-made garments to order, for a given customer.
  • A dressmaker specializes in custom-made women's clothes: day, cocktail, and evening dresses, business clothes and suits, trousseaus, sports clothes, and lingerie.
  • An illustrator draws and paints clothing designs for commercial use.
  • A fashion forecaster predicts what colours, styles and shapes will be popular ("on-trend") before the garments are on sale in stores.
  • A model wears and displays clothes at fashion shows and in photographs.
  • A fit model aids the fashion designer by wearing and commenting on the fit of clothes during their design and pre-manufacture. Fit models need to be a particular size for this purpose.
  • A fashion journalist writes fashion articles describing the garments presented or fashion trends, for magazines or newspapers.
  • An alterations specialist (alterationist) adjusts the fit of completed garments, usually ready-to-wear, and sometimes re-styles them. NOTE: despite tailors altering garments to fit the client, not all alterationists are tailors.
  • An Image Consultant, wardrobe consultant or fashion advisor recommends styles and colors that are flattering to the client.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Breward, Christopher, The culture of fashion: a new history of fashionable dress, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-7190-4125-9
  • Hollander, Anne, Seeing through clothes, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993, ISBN 978-0-520-08231-1
  • Hollander, Anne, Sex and suits: the evolution of modern dress, New York: Knopf, 1994, ISBN 978-0-679-43096-4
  • Hollander, Anne, Feeding the eye: essays, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999, ISBN 978-0-374-28201-1
  • Hollander, Anne, Fabric of vision: dress and drapery in painting, London: National Gallery, 2002, ISBN 978-0-300-09419-0
  • Kawamura, Yuniya, Fashion-ology: an introduction to Fashion Studies, Oxford and New York: Berg, 2005, ISBN 1-85973-814-1
  • Lipovetsky, Gilles (translated by Catherine Porter), The empire of fashion: dressing modern democracy, Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-691-10262-7
  • McDermott, Kathleen, Style for all: why fashion, invented by kings, now belongs to all of us (An illustrated history), 2010, ISBN 978-0-557-51917-0 — Many hand-drawn color illustrations, extensive annotated bibliography and reading guide
  • Perrot, Philippe (translated by Richard Bienvenu), Fashioning the bourgeoisie: a history of clothing in the nineteenth century, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0-691-00081-7
  • Steele, Valerie, Paris fashion: a cultural history, (2. ed., rev. and updated), Oxford: Berg, 1998, ISBN 978-1-85973-973-0
  • Steele, Valerie, Fifty years of fashion: new look to now, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-300-08738-3
  • Steele, Valerie, Encyclopedia of clothing and fashion, Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Pauline Weston Thomas. "Haute Couture Fashion History" (Article). Fashion-Era.com. Fashion-Era.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  3. ^ http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG7883236/Haute-couture-Making-a-loss-is-the-height-of-fashion.html
  4. ^ Catherine Valenti (1 May 2012). "Designers Flock to Mass-Market Retailers" (Article). ABC News. ABC News. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Sameer Reddy (31 October 2008). "Out from Underground" (Article). The Daily Beast. Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Stephania Lara (22 June 2010). "Mass market broached by high-end fashion" (Article). The Prospector. College Media Network. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Bethan Cole (2 May 2012). "Kitsch pickings" (Article). Financial Times Online: Style. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Fashion Designers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos291.htm (visited March 09, 2010).
  9. ^ "Fashion Designers". Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-25-best-design-schools-2012-11?op=1
  12. ^ Design Academy Schwerin & Leipzig
  13. ^ "Resources: fashion graduate programs". ITAA. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  14. ^ "British fashion designers". Visit Britain. Visit Britain. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Zurich labels". Zurich labels: Media Information. Zurich Tourism. January 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.