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Victorian fashion
Victorian fashion
Swinging London, 1969

Fashion is a term used interchangeably to describe the creation of clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, and jewellery of different cultural aesthetics and their mix and match into outfits that depict distinctive ways of dressing (styles and trends) as signifiers of social status, self-expression, and group belonging. As a multifaceted term, fashion describes an industry, styles, aesthetics, and trends.

The term 'fashion' originates from the Latin word 'Facere,' which means 'to make,' and describes the manufacturing, mixing, and wearing of outfits adorned with specific cultural aesthetics, patterns, motifs, shapes, and cuts, allowing people to showcase their group belonging, values, meanings, beliefs, and ways of life. Given the rise in mass production of commodities and clothing at lower prices and global reach, reducing fashion's environmental impact and improving sustainability has become an urgent issue among politicians, brands, and consumers. (Full article...)

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Women's traditional caribou skin outfit with amauti parka, trousers, mitts and long boots with side pouches. The back of the parka has an amaut or pouch for carrying a baby. From Baker Lake, Eskimo Point and Hikoligjuaq, west of Hudson Bay. Collected on 5th Thule Expedition, 1921–1924

Traditional Inuit clothing is a complex system of cold-weather garments historically made from animal hide and fur, worn by Inuit, a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic areas of Canada, Greenland, and the United States. The basic outfit consisted of a parka, pants, mittens, inner footwear, and outer boots. The most common sources of hide were caribou, seals, and seabirds, although other animals were used when available. The production of warm, durable clothing was an essential survival skill which was passed down from women to girls, and which could take years to master. Preparation of clothing was an intensive, weeks-long process that occurred on a yearly cycle following established hunting seasons. The creation and use of skin clothing was strongly intertwined with Inuit religious beliefs.

Despite the wide geographical distribution of Inuit across the Arctic, historically, these garments were consistent in both design and material due to the common need for protection against the extreme weather and the limited range of materials suitable for the purpose. The appearance of individual garments varied according to gender roles and seasonal needs, as well as the specific dress customs of each tribe or group. The Inuit decorated their clothing with fringes, pendants, and insets of contrasting colours, and later adopted techniques such as beadwork when trade made new materials available. (Full article...)
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Ball gown, 1864
A ball gown, ballgown or gown is a type of evening gown worn to a ball or a formal event. Most versions are cut off the shoulder with a low décolletage, exposed arms, and long bouffant styled skirts. Such gowns are typically worn with an opera-length white gloves, vintage jewelry or couture, and a stole (a formal shawl in expensive fabric), cape, or cloak in lieu of a coat. Where "state decorations" are to be worn, they are on a bow pinned to the chest, and married women wear a tiara if they have one. Although synthetic fabrics are now sometimes used, the most common fabrics are satin, silk, taffeta and velvet with trimmings of lace, pearls, sequins, embroidery, ruffles, ribbons, rosettes and ruching. (Full article...)

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Lotus shoes
Lotus shoes
Credit: Daniel Schwen

A pair of lotus shoes, which are shoes that were worn by women in China who had bound feet. They were delicately constructed from cotton or silk, and small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They are cone or sheath-shaped, intended to resemble a lotus bud. Though foot binding is no longer practiced, many lotus shoes survive as artifacts in museums or private collections.

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Marilyn Monroe in her white dress

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Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.

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