50,000 BCE The first prehistoric human, Cro-Magnon man, learned to survive in cold climates by fashioning clothing out of animal skins, tree bark, and foliage. Paleolithic cave paintings such as those found in Lascaux, France, indicate that early man had learned how to fashion body coverings and headgear.
26,000-20,000 BCE A male skeleton, discovered in Northern Russia wearing highly decorated beaded garments, suggests people of this era had a preoccupation with fashionable clothing and the skills to create bone tools used to sew ornaments and skins.
3500-27 BCE Mesopotamia, the birthplace of Western civilization, influenced dress as evidenced in found objects such as statues, wall carvings, wall paintings, and jewelry. Discoveries from ancient civilizations suggest that the Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian (3500-612 BCE), and Persian (550-330 BCE) peoples had a mastery in the weaving of linen and wool and used clothing to express status. During the same period, the ancient Egyptians (3200-1070 BCE) used linen, and later cotton from India, to create garments that were pleated and woven into stripes and plaids. Queens, pharaohs, religious leaders, soldiers, and laborers adhered to specific dress codes with regard to the wearing of sandals, wigs, jewelry, cosmetics, headgear, and certain types of clothing designs. The Cretans and Mycenaean (2800-1100 BCE) are most known for their mastery at dyeing fabrics and skill in creating fitted garments that will eventually become precursors to the cut-and-sew tradition as we know it today. The early Greeks (1200-146 BCE), on the other hand, perfected the art of draping fabric, that is, letting the body create the three-dimensional form of the garment. Their contribution to the fashion world was to take square and rectangular pieces of fabric, then strategically drape them over the body to create inventions such as the chiton, the himation, and the kolobus. These styles provided inspiration for designers throughout the ages. By forming the first known guilds, the Etruscans (750-200 BCE) contributed to the fashion industry with their expert craftsmanship and high-quality standards. They are especially known for their expertise in leather footwear and clothing and, although the early Romans (509-27 BCE) are credited with the invention of the toga, it was originally created by the Etruscans. The Chinese became masters of the wrap silhouette dating back to the Bronze Age with their highly skilled mastery of weaving, dyeing, and embroidery on hemp, cotton, and silk (worn by the upper class).
27 BCE-1204 CE During the first two centuries of the Roman Empire, peace prevailed and trade flourished. Emperor Constantine (305337 CE) ended the persecution of Christians and created two capitals for the Roman Empire: Rome was based in the west and the Greek city of Byzantium, renamed Constantinople, was in the east. The Byzantine Empire (330-1204 CE), with its proximity to the rich textiles of Asia via the Silk Route and links to Western Europe, prospered for the next twelve centuries and became a major cultural inspiration for the emergence of the Italian Renaissance. In Western Europe, during the period known as the Dark Ages (400-900 CE), royalty depended on fashion from Byzantium, while in China, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), Chinese elite were influenced by Western fashion. Once Genghis Ghan conquered China during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 CE), both China and Japan were heavily influenced by Mongolian dress.
1300s-1600s As the feudal system (in the eleventh and twelfth centuries) gave rise to status dressing in Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire continued to influence fashionable dress, spreading to Western European nobility, especially during the Middle Ages. As technological advances in weaving and textile processing took place and as guilds formed to preserve quality standards, the first evidence of fashion as a business emerged. Most historians agree that the origin of fashion trends started in the Middle Ages, a time when social and economic changes created a demand for fashionable goods. Later, when Marco Polo opened the trade route to the Far East in the 1300s, European royals established themselves as arbiters of fashion and they shifted away from the Gothic style of dressing to that of the Italian Renaissance. During the Renaissance (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), especially the first 60 years of the 1400s, Burgundy and Italy were considered major centers of fashion. Nobility in England, France, and Germany also set the tone for fashionable dress, as well as for etiquette and taste. Fashion trends moved from country to country either by marriage or by travel. Queens, namely Isabella of Spain (1474-1504), Catherine de Medici of France (1547-1559), and Elizabeth I of England (Elizabethan Period/1558-1603), were the fashionable role models of their time, as were the kings, including Francis I of France (1494-1547) and Henry VIII of England (1491-1547). Commoners worked to adapt and modify royal style into their own wardrobes. Beginning with the new Manchurian rulers of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Manchu dress was introduced to the Chinese and the rest of the world.
During the 1600s, governments tried to regulate who wore what—in fact, Charles I of England tried with his sumptuary law of 1643, which was later canceled after his execution in 1648. Other rulers tried to ban the wearing of another country's styles, as national pride was closely tied to national fashion in countries such as Spain, France, and the Netherlands.
1600s European countries including England, France, and Italy took turns dominating the fashion scene; however, after Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492, Spanish fashion prevailed. When the Puritans arrived in America from England in 1620, they opted for less ornate styles than those of their European contemporaries. Even though keeping current with European trends was slower due to distance, British and French fashion still prospered among the more affluent families. As the number of cotton producing colonies increased in the New World, textile production made fabric more affordable. Trade between countries flourished, creating a demand for fashionable clothing. The fashion plate (a drawing of the latest fashions) and the use of life-size wax dolls and miniature dolls dressed in new styles were instrumental in circulating and promoting fashion concepts in the courts throughout Europe and to the masses. The first French fashion magazine, Mercure Galant, published in 1672, helped promote French fashion throughout Europe and the New World. While American fashion at the time was heavily influenced by Europe, adaptations emerged in response to lifestyle differences and cultural influences. In the 1600s, the United States initiated its first population census, which began the process of tracking socioeconomic trends as people immigrated from all parts of Europe and Africa.
1700s The eighteenth century, known as the time of the Enlightenment, experienced tremendous growth in the applied arts both in Europe and in the United States, especially in the last quarter. Many discoveries made in the areas of science, archaeology, and medicine paved the way for the industrial and commercial revolution. Due to patronage of kings and nobles, the applied arts flourished. Beginning with King Louis XIV and later King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette (1774-1792), the arts were especially instrumental in promoting French fashion and textiles. In England, the cottage industry took off as the growing population of merchant capitalists bought the textiles and clothing that were produced in the home. Guilds, located in the cities, produced luxury goods for the rich. British technological advances sped up production and changed the face of fashion production. With the invention of the flying shuttle for textile handlooms and the steam engine, and their application to numerous power machines, productivity increased. England's relationship with the United States and its rich resources placed it in a position of world power. By the end of this century, England became the leader for male fashion throughout Europe. The French continued their dominance in womenswear, although it was curtailed a bit at the end of the century, namely as a result of the political events in the later part including the French and American Revolutions.
James Hargreaves (British) invented the spinning jenny in England.
William Lee's (British) original knitting machine was adapted and improved and the first power knitting machines were created in Nottingham, England.
James Watts (British) patented his vastly improved steam engine, based on Thomas Newcomen's engine.
The Lady's Magazine published its first fashion edition in England. Publications such as this kept men and women current on new fashion trends.
1774 Marie Antoinette was crowned the Queen of France and together with her husband King Louis XVI, actively promoted French fashion and textiles. Rose Bertin (French), the first widely celebrated fashion designer, designed clothing for the queen and numerous other noble ladies.
1785 With the invention of the first steam engine came the first steam-driven power loom by James Watts. Thus, the weaving of yarn into fabric on automated looms allowed for an increase in textile production.
1793 Eli Whitney (American) invented the cotton gin, a machine that automates the processing of cotton.
1794-1803 Nicholaus von Heideloff (German) launched an exclusive fashion periodical called The Gallery of Fashion in London.
1800s In England, during the reign of King George IV (1820-1830), the impeccably dressed George Bryan (Beau) Brummell helped to establish England as the center for men's fashion. Publications and newspapers that communicated the latest in contemporary fashion included La Belle Assemblée and Godey S Lady S Book in the United States and Ackerman's Repository of the Arts in England.
1804 Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, and his wife, Empress Josephine, influenced contemporary French fashion during their ten-year reign. Joseph Marie Jacquard (French) invented a loom attachment (a textile-weaving attachment) that made it possible to weave complex patterns in cloth.
1810 The U.S. government expanded its census to include statistics on manufacturing, quantity, and value of products in addition to counting people.
1818 Brooks Brothers (American) produced handmade ready-to-wear men's suits for mass consumption.
1820 Joseph Courts (American) introduced a flexible method of determining body measurements—the tape measure.
1823 Charles Macintosh (Scotland) patented the first waterproof textile and named it India rubber cloth; the first raincoat made of this material was known as a Macintosh.
1825 The first all-female strike of seamstresses occurred in New York City; they protested wages and working conditions.
1830 Barthélemy Thimmonier (French) invented a chain-stitch sewing machine to make uniforms for the French army. It was later destroyed when French tailors feared losing work.
1837 Queen Victoria (British) took the throne and introduced the Victorian Era in fashion. The New York City garment center was born, producing $2.5 million worth of ready-to-wear clothing.
1846 Charles Frederick Worth (British) began to work at the dressmaking firm of Gagelin et Opigez in Paris. Elias Howe (American) patented the foot-peddle lockstitch sewing machine after perfecting ideas from various sources. This invention kept the hands free thereby streamlining production time.
The safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt (American). Levi Strauss (American) manufactured and sold pants made of a cotton fabric from France called serge de Nimes (later called denim) in his dry goods store in San Francisco, where he catered to thousands of men who traveled West during the Gold Rush. Harrods's of London began as a small grocery store but, by 1880, became Europe's largest department store.
A total of 4,278 clothing manufacturers existed in the United States.
Isaac Singer (American) perfected and patented his lockstitch sewing machine, originally invented by Walter Hunt. By 1853, Singer was embroiled in a patent infringement battle with Hunt and Elias Howe, resulting in the first patent pool. By 1869, Singer mass-producined these machines at a thousand machines per day.
1853 Ellen Curtis founded Mme. Demorest, the first commercial pattern company.
Swiss chemist George Audemars created the fiber known as rayon.
Thomas Burberry (British), inventor of the trench coat, established a shop known as Burberry Outfitters in Basingstoke, England. Charles Frederick Worth opened the first haute couture house in Paris. He was considered the father of couture among his contemporaries, which included the Callot Sisters (French), Jacques Doucet (French), Jeanne Lanvin (French), and Jeanne Paquin (French). Paris remained the hub of international fashion for the next one hundred years.
Pantalets became the choice of dress in children's clothing. They later gave rise to traditional children's trousers as we know them today.
1858 Rowland H. Macy (American) opened R. H. Macy's dry goods store in New York City. By 1924, the Herald Square location was the largest store in the world and ten thousand people watched the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
1863 Butterick Pattern Co. (American) patented size specifications for women. Harper's Bazaar magazine (American) was first published in New York and Paris.
The Chambre Syndicale des Courturiers et des Confectionneurs, much like a traditional guild, was founded in Paris. Meanwhile, the rubber-soled shoe known today as the sneaker was born, becoming the preferred shoe of choice for aristocratic lawn games.
The German chemist Eugen Bauman created polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but it was patented in 1913 by Fredrich Heinrich August Klatte (German).
Aaron Montgomery Ward (American) created the first mailorder business selling home goods to people living in rural areas. His "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" policy proved to be the key to his success. Davinsin Jacob created the first pair ofjeans in Nevada. He and Levi Strauss joined to patent the first copper-riveted waist overalls garment.
Messrs. Bradley, Voorhees, and Day (American) of Chicago formed their men's and women's underwear company called BVD.
The May Company department store opened in Leadville, Colorado, by David May.
1880-1890 Designers and manufacturers created the concepts of standardized sizing and separates to satisfy the ever-increasing clothing needs of the Industrial Revolution's growing middle class. Also during this period, women became actively engaged in sports. The innovation of pants and sportswear was a departure from formality in women's dress and lead to a more casual trend in clothing design.
1881 Moses and Endel Phillips sold their handmade shirts to Pennsylvania coal miners from a pushcart until their son, Seymour, partnered with John M. Van Heusen in 1919. Together they formed the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH). By the twenty-first century, PVH had become one of the largest retailers and manufacturers in the world. Elsewhere, the Rational Dress Society was founded in London in protest of styles that deformed women's bodies. Its mission brought about dress reform.
The U.S. Congress established the U.S. Department of Labor, responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, reemployment services, and gathering economic statistics.
The first worker safety laws to protect "hatters" were passed, since these millinery workers used harmful chemicals in the making of hats.
Thomas Burberry patented his invention—gabardine fabric.
Isaac Merritt Singer invented the electric sewing machine.
This year marked the era known in France as La Belle Époque that lasted until the advent of World War I in 1914. It was also known as a time of luxury and beautiful dress.
Designer Jeanne Paquin and her husband, Isidore, opened the House of Paquin in Paris.
Vogue was founded in New York as a weekly fashion publication.
Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck (American) formed Sears, Roebuck and Company, a mail-order catalog business that, by 1895, included 507 pages of clothing and household goods.
1893 Galeries Lafayette was founded by Theopile Bader and Alphonse Kahn (French) as a haberdashery store in Paris.
1895 The Austrian David Swarovski patented his crystal-cutting machine and, together with his brother-in-law, founded the crystal company Swarovski. Elsewhere, Joseph William Foster (British) created a handmade running shoe that was the precursor to the formation of the sport shoe company Reebok.
1898 Madame Lemarie (French) opened Lemarie House, a supplier of feathers to haute couture houses such as Balenciaga, Yves Saint
Laurent, and Givenchy. Also, the American Section of the International Association of Testing & Materials was founded but later changed its name to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Sebastian S. Kresge (American) opened S. S. Kresge in Detroit, Michigan, the precursor to Kmart. John Barbey opened the Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania, which later became the VF Corporation, the largest American apparel company.
The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) was formed in the United States as a reaction to appalling working conditions in garment factories known as sweatshops.
John W. Nordstrom and Carl Wallin (American) founded a shoe store named Wallin & Nordstrom, which later became the department store Nordstrom.
Frenchmen Paul Poiret opened his own couture house in Paris.
Louis-François Cartier (French) invented the wristwatch.
The newly invented electric washing machine was offered for sale. Also, Herman Bergdorf (American) opened a retail establishment that was subsequently purchased by Edwin Goodman and called Berg-dorf Goodman.
James Cash Penney (American) bought out his partners in the Golden Rule Store and, in 1912, forms J. C. Penney's, selling lower-priced merchandise in areas other than big cities. By the 1920s, Penney had opened chain stores throughout the country. Meanwhile, Madeleine Vionnet became the designer for the house of Doucet. Inspired by American dancer Isadora Duncan and her braless, barefooted performance, Vionnet created a collection of déshabillé—lingerie-inspired dresses presented on braless, barefooted models—and was the first designer to liberate women from the corset.
Marquis M. Converse (American) founded Converse, an athletic shoe company. Elsewhere, BVD created men's two-piece underwear known as the union suit.
Mariano Fortuny (Italian) registered a heat-pleating device to create unique dresses such as the Delphos. The newly formed International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) conducted a strike among twenty thousand shirtwaist makers in the United States known as the Big Strike.
French designer Paul Poiret created the tango skirt. The skirt itself, styled to accommodate the movement of the dance, became a legend. Interestingly, he is also credited with liberating women from the corset, even though designer Madeleine Vionnet had done so two years earlier. Coco Chanel (French) opened her millinery shop in Paris. The U.S. Census Bureau became a permanent institution by an act of Congress. Women's Wear Daily, the first fashion industry trade paper, was published. Fiber acetate was invented but only becomes commercially popular in 1924. Alexander MacRae opened a hosiery factory on Bondi Beach, Australia, which later became the company Speedo. A strike in the United States by sixty thousand cloak makers, known as the Great Revolt, ended in a settlement known as the Protocol of Peace. Workers were granted a fifty-hour workweek, double pay for overtime, and higher wages and the closed shop concept was established, whereby employers could hire only union employees.
Production began on the first waist overalls by Lee Mercantile (American). A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City killed 146 workers and led to the first workplace health and safety laws in the United States. Beginning in the seventeenth century, imports from China, Turkey, and India inspired designers and was known as Orientalism. The Chinese Revolution and the fall of the last imperial dynasty in 1911 had a major impact on dress not only in China but in the world at large.
The company L.L. Bean (American) was founded and it introduced the Maine Hunting Boot. Frenchwoman Madeleine Vionnet opened her own house on rue de Rivoli.
Italian designer Mario Prada opened his leather goods business—Prada. Coco Chanel showed her first clothing collection in Paris. Gideon Sunback, a Swedish-born Canadian immigrant, devised the concept of interlocking teeth called the "hookless fastener," later named the zipper.
1914 The men's garment workers union became the Amalgamated
Clothing Workers of America. Mary Jacobs (American) patented the first bra.
1916 Stanford Mail Order marketed the first rubber girdle.
U.S. Rubber introduced Keds sneakers.
The International Chamber of Commerce was formed in Paris to promote world business.
Coco Chanel opened her fashion house in Paris and created Chanel No. 5 fragrance.
The House of Lesage opened its embroidery business catering to Parisian couture houses.
L'Association pour la Défense des Arts Plastiques et Appliqués, an anticopyist society for haute couture, was founded in Paris.
Virginia Pope (American) became the first well-known fashion journalist for the New York Times.
Waldo S. Semon (American) discovered vinyl, a plasticized variation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Rene Lacoste (French) popularized the Lacoste shirt with its iconic alligator appliqué—which is technically a crocodile, Rene's nickname. France grants the United States most-favored-nation status whereby tariffs into France were eliminated in return for copyright protection for haute couture. However, this did not stop copyists from stalking French fashion houses.
American designer Elizabeth Hawes opened her business in New York and retailer Lord & Taylor promoted her as an American talent. The Société des Auteurs de la Mode, an anticopyist organization, was founded in Paris with subsidiaries in several European countries.
The American-born Main Rousseau Bocher (Mainbocher) opened his house in Paris.
A group of women founded the nonprofit organization Fashion Group International to increase awareness of American fashion and women's role in that industry.
A French organization known as the Protection Artistique des Industries Saisoniers (P.A.I.S.) was formed and headed by Armand Trouyet, a member of the fashion house Vionnet et Cie. B. S. Tanner founded Doncaster, a direct-sales clothing company, in the United States. Licensed children's wear apparel emerged as a design avenue to draw attention away from the poor quality of affordable fabrics. The men's fashion quarterly Apparel Arts first published and later becomes GQ magazine.
Dorothy Shaver (American), of Lord & Taylor, established a program known as the American Look to promote American fashion designers. Elsewhere, Vogue magazine launched Vogue Patterns, a paper pattern company.
Arnold Gingrich (American) established the men's fashion magazine Esquire.
Samuel T. Coopers patented the men's jockey short, eliminating the need for a jockstrap to be worn with underwear. The pantie girdle revolutionized the women's underwear market. Carmel White Snow was named editor-in-chief of Harper S Bazaar magazine.
Frenchwoman Pauline Trigère reopened her clothing business in New York. DuPont scientists Gerald Berchet and Wallace Caroth-ers (American) invented nylon, the first commercial petroleum-based synthetic fiber.
Designer Charles James (American) showed his collection in Paris, the first highly respected American to do so.
The Fair Labor Act was signed into law in the Unites States, which protected workers from low wages, overtime abuses, and unsafe working conditions.
Southern textile workers formed the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA). The commercial production of nylon stockings began.
Claire McCardell (American), known as the innovator of casual American sportswear, designed a denim wrap dress called the popover. Meanwhile, the new nylon stockings on the market replaced silk stockings in popularity.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) issued body-sizing standards. Polyester was invented by two British chemists, John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson. However, it was only introduced as a miracle fabric in the United States a decade later, in 1951.
The Cooperativa de Alta Costura was founded in Barcelona.
Jules Leotard (French) pioneered the one-piece garment known as the leotard.
American Dorothy Shaver was named president of the Lord & Taylor department store. Elle, a French weekly fashion publication, was founded in Paris. Dr. Klaus Maertens (German) creates the Dr. Martens boot in Germany. Fairchild Publications launched Footwear News, a weekly newspaper dedicated to the shoe trade. Sam Walton (American) opened his department store, later to become Wal-Mart.
Louis Reard (French) designed the bikini bathing suit in Paris.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed. Christian Dior (French) showed his first collection and pioneered the New Look. American Eugenia Sheppard was named the New York Herald Tribune's fashion editor and created journalistic fashion history in her time.
The Communist Revolution ended the wearing of the traditional qipao for Chinese women. The Mao suit for men replaced the cheon-gsam (a long dress with Mandarin collar), which is the male equivalent of the qipao.
The Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo introduced stiletto heels. The Italian designer Emilio Pucci opened his store on the island of Capri.
BVD revolutionized the sale of underwear by packaging them in polybags. The Italian Couture Collective was formed in Rome.
Designer Pierre Cardin (French) showed his first collection in Paris. Men's polyester suits entered the market. The French designer Sonia Rykiel began designing maternity wear for her husband's shop in Paris.
The Association of Canadian Couturiers was formed.
Mary Quant (British), her husband, and their accountant, Alexander Plunket Greene, opened a hip, mod shop on Kings Road called Bazaar.
Sparked by the Hollywood film, Baby Doll, pajamas became the staple of the lingerie market. New machinery helped to press, fold, and package soft goods in one operation.
Cristobal Balenciaga introduced the sack based on Norman Norell's (American) chemise. Yves Saint Laurent (French) was named the successor to the house of Dior upon the death of Christian Dior.
Yves Saint Laurent created the dress shape known as the trapeze silhouette.
Dior focused on designing nuns' outfits in France; the New York department store Bergdorf Goodman carried the line of habits. Designer Mary Quant trademarked the miniskirt.
Frenchman Yves Saint Laurent opened his couture house in Paris.
Some of America's foremost fashion and accessories designers founded the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a nonprofit trade organization. Its most notable founding members included Bill Blass, Rudi Gernreich, Norman Norell, Arnold Scaasi, and Pauline Trigere. S.S. Kresge Company opened the first Kmart store in a Detroit suburb. The first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas, by Sam Walton. The Hood Shoe Company (American) created the sneaker known as the PF Flyer. American designer Arnold Scaasi opened his couture collection. The Dayton Corporation entered the discount merchandising business with its first Target store in Minneapolis.
François Pinault (French) founded a timber trading company known as the Pinault Group. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, namely with French department store Au Printemps SA and mail-order house La Redoute, it later became a leading luxury goods conglomerate known as Pinault Printemps-Redoute. American designer Geoffrey Beene opened his company in New York. Diana Vreeland (American) was named editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.
Rudi Gernreich introduced the topless bathing suit, named the monokini.
Designer Norman Norell became the first president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
André Courrèges (French) introduced the high white boot that became the inspiration for the go-go boot craze.
Ralph Lauren (American) designed ties and established the Polo brand of neckwear.
Halston (American) presented his first collection under his own label in New York. Also in New York, Calvin Klein (American) opened his business with Barry Schwartz. Joseph Gerber (American) invented the first automated cutting machine, which revolutionized the apparel industry worldwide. He later went on to create one of the largest garment technology companies that provided product lifecycle management (PLM), computer-aided design (CAD), and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) solutions to manufacturers and retailers in the sewn and flexible goods industries.
Tommy Hilfiger (American) opened his first retail store in Elmira, New York.
Kenzo was the first Japanese ready-to-wear designer to establish himself in Paris. Cotton Incorporated was formed. American designer Bill Blass opened his eponymous company in New York. Also this year, the midi-skirt is introduced. The length ranged anywhere between the knee and the ankle. Roy Raymond (American) established his lingerie shop, Victoria's Secret, in San Francisco.
British designer Vivienne Westwood began designing for Malcolm McClaren's punk shop Let It Rock, in London. Grace Mirabella (American) became editor of American Vogue magazine. Fairchild Publications published W magazine, a monthly offshoot of WWD. Yves Saint Laurent created the peasant dress, a gypsy-inspired soft dress with gathering and loose fit. Pantsuit mania began in the United States.
Hanes introduced their L'eggs stockings.
Manolo Blahnik (Spanish) entered the shoe business and, by 1978, was designing his own footwear collection. The Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode was formed in France. Issey Miyake was the first Japanese designer to be asked to show his collection at the prêt-à-porter in Paris. Diane Von Furstenberg created her famous wrap dress. French engineers Jean and Bernard Etcheparre founded the company Lectra and, in 1976, they launched their first apparel patternmaking and grading system.
Italian jewelry designer Elsa Peretti partnered with Tiffany & Co.
Mary McFadden (American) patented a unique silk pleating technique, Mari, and opened her own clothing company the following year. Ron Chereskin (American) received recognition as a designer of disco wear. Designer Karl Lagerfeld (German) formed his own company in Paris.
Fruit of the Loom Ltd. bought underwear brand BVD; this year also marked the beginning of high-leg cut bathing suits by Norma Kamali (American) and Calvin Klein. The U.S. fashion giant Liz Claiborne Company was launched. Geoffrey Beene was the first American designer to show his collection in Milan. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) and the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) merged to form the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). The American designer Willi Smith, one of the first African American designers, opened WilliWear Ltd. Meanwhile, Diego Della Valle (Italian) created his iconic Driving Shoe for Tod's S.p.A.
Gianni Versace (Italian) opened his own company, Versace Atelier Collection. American actress Diane Keaton inspired the Annie Hall look from the movie of the same name.
The American businessman Paul Fireman negotiated the license for Reebok sport shoes and turned the company into a million-dollar business. Sara Lee Branded Apparel bought Hanes. Gloria Vanderbilt (American) lended her name to a line of jeans for Murjani.
The first regional home-shopping cable television show, The Home Shopping Club, was created by Lowell "Bud" Paxon and Roy Speer in Tampa, Florida, and went national in 1986 as the Home Shopping Network. The Guess Company launched its jeans line in New York. The Tailored Clothing Technology Corporation, a bodyscanning technology firm known as [TC]2, was founded out of a concept generated by John T. Dunlop and Fred Abernathy of Harvard University.
Legwarmers were a thriving fashion statement this year. Inspired by dancers and their need to keep their leg muscles warm, women everywhere sported these knitted cylinder-shaped leg covers that went from the thigh down to the ankle or arch of the foot. Meanwhile, Cyber-ware created a 3-D bodyscanning device in the United States.
Karl Lagerfeld took charge of design responsibilities at Chanel. The Swatch Watch became a popular fashion accessory. Calvin Klein revolutionized the women's underwear market with gender benders. Sam Walton opened the first Sam's Club in Oklahoma. The British Fashion Council (BFC) was formed.
Designer Donna Karan (American) opened her own company in New York.
The vector-based illustration software Adobe Illustrator was invented. The Home Shopping Network show began to air nationwide.
QVC was founded by Joseph Segal (American) as a home-shopping network; QVC is an acronym for Quality, Value, Convenience. Marc Jacobs (American) presented his first collection in New York. Nicole Miller (American) opened her first store in New York City. A group of Belgian designers showed their collection in London and were known as the Antwerp Six.
The French fashion luxury goods conglomerate Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton (LVMH) was formed between the Louis Vuitton SA holding company and the Moët Hennessey Christian Dior Group.
Nike rolled out its Just Do It ad campaign to promote the brand. Anna Wintour (British/American) was named editor of Vogue magazine. The CAD/CAM computer software brand known as PAD System was founded. Bicycle attire including caps, shorts, and messenger pouches (later named fanny pacs) entered the market.
Donna Karan opened her bridge sportswear collection, DKNY. Gianni Versace launched his company in Italy.
1990s This decade was most known for fashion minimalism and the age of the supermodel. The mass marketing of mass-produced clothing, together with the logo craze, catapulted fashion into a commodity business. Belgian designers Ann Demuelemeister and Dries Van Noten made an impact on fashion with their inventive and innovative clothing and the Wonderbra became a staple of women's undergarments.
1990 Vera Wang (American) opened her bridal boutique on Madison Avenue. Steve Madden (American) opened his trendy shoe store in New York's SoHo neighborhood. Dayton Hudson Corporation opened the first Target Greatland store in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Bonwit Teller department store closed, which indicated change for the retail community. The American Tom Ford was hired as creative director at Gucci. Thomas and John Knoll invented Photoshop, the graphics-editing software published by Adobe Systems.
A new public company, Federated Department Stores, was formed, consisting of 220 department stores in 26 states. Stan Herman (American) was named president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). American rap mogul Russell Simmons launched Phat Farm, a young men's, hip-hop clothing line.
Lacoste and Izod ended their affiliation and Lacoste marketed itself in the United States. American designer Kate Spade and her husband, Andy, opened a handbag company, Kate Spade, in New York. Richard Tyler (American) was hired to design the Anne Klein collection. Designer Oscar de la Renta took over as designer at the house of Balmain. The Treaty of European Union (Maastricht Treaty) was ratified, which created the EU confederation of nations. David Chu (American) opened his menswear company, Nautica, in New York. Chanel purchased Lemarie House, supplier of fine feathers to couture houses.
The E-commerce mode of shopping was born with websites launched by Amazon and J. C. Penney's. The Wonderbra Push Up Bra was sold in the United States. Mark Simpson (American) coined the word metrosexual. The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was formed as the successor to GATT. Stella McCartney (British) landed a design position at Chloé upon graduating from fashion school. The designer John Galliano (British) was hired to design at Givenchy. UNITE, a fashion industry trade union, was formed out of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), and the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA). The Dayton Hudson Corporation opens the first Target Superstore in Omaha, Nebraska.
Emanuel Ungaro sold his company to Salvatore Ferragamo Italia SpA. John Galliano (British) was hired as creative director at the house of Dior.
Gianni Versace was murdered and his sister Donatella took over as creative director. Jean Paul Gaultier (French) made his haute couture debut in Paris. Ilona Foyer (American) started her custom-made dress-form company called Shapely Shadows, Inc., using 3-D bodyscanning technology. The North American Industry Classification System (NA-ICS) replaced the Standard Industrial Classification System (SICS). Diane Von Furstenberg reopened her clothing company.
Marc Jacobs became artistic director at Louis Vuitton. Patricia Field (American) was hired as the costume designer for the TV series Sex and the City. After having been in development for more than a decade, the first commercial bodyscanning system was introduced by [TC]2. Rapper Sean Puffy Combs (American) launched his hip-hop urban clothing line called Sean John.
Issey Miyake created A-POC (A Piece of Cloth), a concept whereby clothes are made out of a single piece of cloth. The Council of Latin American Designers was formed. Yves Saint Laurent's ready-to-wear company was sold to Frenchman François Pinault. Peter Som (American), one of the new Asian wave of designers, presented his first collection in New York.
Innovations in textiles inspired fashion design. Mass consolidation of stores and labels, coupled with mergers and buyouts, changed the face of fashion. Megabrands were created with music and sports icons posing as designers. Designers became concerned with brand image and licensed their names to many different products. Robert Hal-loway (American) founded Archetype and patented mass-customization software. The Dayton Hudson Corporation changed its name to Target and hired well-known architect Peter Graves to design a line of home products. The Gucci Group acquired the Yves Saint Laurent brand and appointed Tom Ford as creative director.
Billionaire Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., bought Fruit of the Loom. Stella McCartney launched her own label under the Gucci Group. Cynthia Steffe (American) was acquired by Leslie Fay Brands. Designer Julien McDonald (British) succeeded Alexander McQueen (British) as the creative director at Givenchy. AlvaProducts/ Alvanon was founded by Dr. Michael Wang and the first dress forms, created using 3-D laser bodyscanning technology, were sold. Donna
Karan Company was acquired by French conglomerate Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Designer Yohji Yamamoto signed an agreement with footwear company Adidas to design a line of sportswear and sports shoes under the Y-3 label. [TC]2 was selected for the SizeUK study, an anthropometric research study using 3-D bodyscanning technology. Zac Posen (American) launched his first collection in New York. The Gucci Group acquired the house of Balenciaga.
Intellifit Corporation licensed a patented radio-wave technology from the U.S. Department of Energy and created a bodyscanning unit that scanned the body while fully clothed. [TC]2 was selected for the SizeUSA study, an anthropometrics research study using 3D bodyscanning technology. U.S. President George W. Bush proposed the CAFTA Agreement, a free-trade agreement between the United States and five Central American Nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Designer Yves Saint Laurent closed his couture house in France.
The World Trade Organization met in Doha, Qatar, and announced the Dohar Agreement, which lasted until 2006. Isaac Mizrahi became the first popular designer to design clothes for Target. Recording artist Gwen Stefani (American) started her clothing company called L.A.M.B. [TC]2 released SizeUK anthropometric research study data.
Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole (Italian) left the Gucci Group. Adidas launched the first thinking sneaker. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union merged to form the trade union UNITE HERE. Karl Lagerfeld was the first popular designer to design a limited-edition clothing line for specialty store chain H&M. SizeUSA, the anthropometrics research study that used [TC]2 body-scanning technology, revealed important information about the changing shape of Americans. Sean Puffy Combs provided financial backing to designer Zac Posen (American). All quotas, import licenses, or other special requirements relating to importing and exporting were lifted. Sears, Roebuck & Co. merged with retail giant Kmart. Jones New York acquired Barney's New York.
Federated Department Stores, Inc., merged with the May Company to create the largest department store conglomerate in the United
States. Reebok was sold to Adidas for a reported $3.8 billion. Tommy Hilfiger acquired the Karl Lagerfeld trademark portfolio and produces the reality TV show called The Cut. Counterfeiting reaches $600 billion in lost revenue. Isaac Mizrahi launched a collection of made-to-measure clothes (semi-couture) in partnership with Bergdorf Goodman and debuted Isaac, a talk show on cable television. Cotton Incorporated opened its state-of-the-art research and development facility.
Target signed British designer Luella Bartley to design a limited-edition collection. Liz Claiborne began distribution of a select number of its brands to the Middle East. Designer Christopher Decarnin brought new life to the house of Balmain. Nine West collaborated with designers Thakoon Panichgul, Sophia Kokosalaki, and Vivienne Westwood to produce a limited-edition ready-to-wear collection. Italy's La Rina-scente department store bought the Printemps department store chain from French luxury conglomerate Pinault-Printemps Redoute (PPR). Tommy Hilfiger Corp. was sold to Apax Partners for $1.6 billion. Lord & Taylor was bought by NRDC Equity Partners for $1.2 billion. Diane von Furstenberg became president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Karl Lagerfeld showed his collection in New York for the first time. Tod's S.p.A. launched a limited-edition women's ready-to-wear collection.
The Internet continues to transform the fashion industry. Fashion websites—including brick-and-mortar retail store sites, manufacturer sites, and some two million fashion blogs—and upstart fashion companies and fashion social-networking companies bring the industry into the twenty-first century. Shoutfit, a social-networking site, offered fashion-trend advice based on polls of people sharing their own personal style. Shopstyle, a high-style search engine, was launched to offer easy access to thirty other websites from Dillards to Barney's. Fashion conglomerates continued to seek acquisition opportunities which delivered growth to their shareholders and updated their image in new consumer markets. Fashion merger and acquisitions (M&A) moved into the non-giant world as brands and brand identity became increasingly important and were key to survival. The 1980s strategy of brand globalization was replaced with a trend to relocalize brands. Another major shift in online fashion marketing brought fashion into a new realm. Customers had the opportunity to interact with brands on websites like Craigslist and
Second Life, where more than 60 brands including Adidas, American Apparel, and Sears were marketed. A furor over the use of underweight models brought anorexia and other eating disorders to the fashion industry's attention. In 2006, 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died from complications due to anorexia; the Spanish fashion industry banned underweight and underage models from the runway. In early 2007, the major fashion capitals of France, New York, and Milan, along with their respective fashion organizations, took a stand on the issue. Italy and the United States created guidelines while France opposed regulation. Magazines and model agencies reacted to the controversy and many blamed Hollywood for promoting "skinny" actors who were believed to act as role models, especially for young girls.
The history of clothing begins with the origin of man. While scientists believe that human beings began evolving in North Africa millions of years ago, clothing originated when Cro-Magnon man, the first homi-nid to look like today's human being, learned how to tan animal skins, roughly 50,000 years ago. As these modern hominids began to migrate to more northern and therefore colder climates in search of food, they learned how to soften and manipulate skins with oils. They also learned how to use other materials, such as tree bark and foliage, to create longer-lasting clothing and accessories. Later, they invented bone needles to sew their crude garments and accessories together.
Fashionable dress can be traced as far back as 25,000 years ago. Recent scientific explorations have uncovered graves in northern Russia with skeletons covered in beads made of mammoth ivory that once adorned clothing made of animal skin. Early man's desire for artistic expression has also been documented by prehistoric European cave paintings depicting men in ornamented robes and headdresses. Early superstitions and religious beliefs contributed to the prehistoric art of making clothing. Statues in ancient Mesopotamia were painted with the ceremonial religious costumes probably worn by people at the time. While animal skins were the medium of choice in prehistoric times, by 3000 BCE clothing made from woven cloth became more common, as evidenced by carved wall images found in several localities in the New World.
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans each made major contributions to fashion's legacy with their textile innovations, unique clothing designs, and early use of accessories, cosmetics, and jewelry. These civilizations understood that fashion requires organizational and manufacturing skills and thus formed guilds as early as the Etruscans (750-200 BCE), continuing throughout the Middle Ages. Guilds were the precursors of today's trade unions and industry organizations.
The late Roman Empire had two capitals, one in the East, Constantinople (also Byzantium), and the other in the West—Rome. These two centers of civilization did much to foster fashion as a business. Byzantium was the crossroads that linked Asia—a major supplier of raw materials for apparel-making including rare silk textiles—with Rome and its large, wealthy population of consumers interested in buying unique clothes.
During the Middle Ages, as trade and commerce thrived, a merchant class emerged among the common people who could afford to emulate the fashions worn by royals. This led to the beginning of what might be called fashion trends, that is, clothing styles which spread quickly between countries and whose popularity waxed and waned over time.
Historical events were major factors in the growth of the fashion industry. For example, after the Crusades in the twelfth century, many soldiers returned to Europe with exotic Middle Eastern textiles and treasures, thus creating a demand for these products. Marco Polo's opening of the silk route in the fourteenth century encouraged commerce with the Far East. Even the Italian Renaissance and Christopher Columbus's arrival to America in the late fifteenth century spawned new trends and new markets promoting fashion. These events, together with an increasing demand for fashionable clothing, inspired inventors to create faster and cheaper ways to produce clothing and textiles, setting the stage for the spectacular growth of the apparel manufacturing industry during the Industrial Revolution a few centuries later. It is widely believed that fashion really became an industry during the industrial and commercial revolution during the latter part of the eighteenth century. Since then, the industry has grown exponentially and continues to grow as world population increases.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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