Garment design has always been a popular sector for creative designers who want to put their skills and ideas into the real world.
When done well, garments can be things of beauty as well as practical items that people actually want to wear. The trade is big business – by 2012 it had grown to a global market worth more than $250 billion – and is constantly evolving as creative minds compete to come up with fresh looks that will appeal to changing consumer needs.
Tens of thousands of designers are employed around the world, from small one-woman operations to large design teams working for global fashion chains.
As well as clothes, they create textiles for homeware, carpets, furnishings and more unusual items such as umbrellas and even aircraft.
As a designer, you don’t necessarily need to go down the traditional high street route of working for a fashion label or retailer. As technology advances, so does the internet and digital marketing, opening up lots of new opportunities to earn money from home selling your own designs online.
For example, did you know that sites like Etsy.com allow you to sell your designs online without the need for any investment in stock or production facilities?
You simply find an on-demand manufacturer who will make each item to order and ship it direct to the customer.
The garment industry may be huge today but it wasn’t always so; in fact, the whole concept of dressing up in clothes is a recent one. So you will also get apparel design ideas from Apparelinclick.
For thousands of years, people survived happily with just the animal skins on their backs for protection from the elements.
In many parts of the world that’s still true today and even in more advanced societies where you’re reading this article, there have been massive changes over time to what we wear.
Fashion has always been an important element of dressing, with people modifying the style of their clothes to reflect changes in mood or society for example, but there have also been fundamental changes to how we produce garments and what these finished items look like too.
In this article you’re going to learn about 10 historical styles that have had a marked influence on modern day design and where to find more information about each one.
Neoclassical fashion emerged in the early 1920s when designers began to look back at styles from classical antiquity for inspiration, combining them with Art Deco and the less structured fashions of the time.
One of the most famous wearers of neoclassical designs was King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was discovered in 1922 sparking an interest in ancient Egyptian styles. It had a huge influence on catwalk design throughout the 1920s and 1930s and continued to be popular into the 1950s.
The Art Deco era was considered as a reaction against the overly elaborate and embellished fashions of the late 1920s, which looked back to styles from 19th century France. It said goodbye to frills and ruffles and embraced clean lines and geometric shapes.
One of its most famous wearers was Hollywood star Audrey Hepburn, who was often seen in Art Deco-inspired designs from the 1950s to 1970s. The style also enjoyed a revival in the 1980s when Hollywood set designers drew heavily on Art Deco looks for inspiration.
In contrast to the feminine styles of the early to mid-1950s, Avant garde fashions were inspired by androgynous looks from the 1930s. They also reflected futuristic designs for home furnishings featured in interiors magazines of the time.
One of the most famous wearers of these styles was French fashion icon Jean Shrimpton, who led the way with daring clothes that looked like they had come from outer space. The styles were also popular with male musicians including David Bowie and Mick Jagger, who both often wore Avant garde designs in their stage outfits.
The Space Age began after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I on 4th October 1957, adding to growing concerns about the Cold War and nuclear proliferation. Designers responded with clothes that had a hi-tech feel along with lots of plastic trims and silver lamé, reflecting futuristic designs for cars and furniture of the time.
One of the most famous wearers of these styles was Twiggy, who modelled them on numerous occasions for her personal appearances in the 1960s. The styles also had a huge impact on Japanese fashion, which began to embrace their own version of Space Age trends at the same time.
In contrast to the minimalism that was popular in many Western societies from the early 1980s onwards, designers also experimented with optical illusions and vibrating lines that had more in common with the art world.
One of the most famous wearers of these styles was Diana, Princess of Wales, who was often seen wearing geometric-style dresses with contrasting sleeves and waistlines. The styles were also popular with male musicians including David Bowie, whose distinctive stage outfits often included lots of Op Art designs.
The Romantic period first emerged as a reaction against Neoclassicism and other austere styles that had dominated fashion in the early 19th century. It was characterised by rich fabrics and dark colours, as well as lots of trimmings such as lace and embroidery.
One of its most famous wearers was Queen Victoria, who helped to popularise Romantic-style gowns throughout the 1840s and 1850s. The designs also enjoyed a revival in the early 20th century during Edwardian times, when they were often seen at formal state occasions.
From the 1860s onwards, rich fabrics and intricate trimmings were in fashion again, often inspired by the styles worn in Napoleon III’s France during the mid-1800s.
One of its most famous wearers was Lillie Langtry, who modelled many Second Empire designs throughout the 1870s and 1880s. The designs also enjoyed a revival in 1920s Paris when they became known as the ‘frock coat’ and were often worn with matching accessories.
In contrast to the slim styles favoured by most people in Western societies from the early 1700s onwards, Baroque fashions began as a reaction against these austere looks and created an image of excess and extravagance.
One of its most famous wearers was Madame de Pompadour, who was Louis XV’s mistress and helped to popularise Baroque styles throughout the mid-1700s. The designs also enjoyed a revival in 1960s London when they became known as ‘Opulence’ and were often seen on celebrities such as Twiggy, Marianne Faithful and beehived hairdressers.
The era of ready to wear began in the mid-19th century when a number of couturiers including Charles Worth began selling pre-made clothes directly to wealthy clients, rather than making them up at home.
One of its most famous wearers was Sarah Bernhardt, who helped to popularise it when she wore a copy of an evening gown from Charles Worth’s salon in 1879. The styles were also worn by celebrities including Edith Piaf and Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s, who both modelled them with thin ties.
In contrast to the tight-fitting clothes that dominated most Western societies from the 1940s onwards, designers created a return towards more generous clothing with lots of curves and fullness in the 1950s.
One of its most famous wearers was Marilyn Monroe, who often wore soft knee-length skirts and high heels when she wasn’t filming. The styles were also worn by Princess Diana, who helped to revive them when she wore a more modest version during the 1980s.
Fashion continually changes with its context, but the style trends listed here probably won’t ever fall out of fashion. Some are more exclusive than others, though most are accessible for people to wear in real life.
From the wide silhouettes of Romantic fashions to the slim designs of Second Empire clothing, this is a history that will be relevant for any designers to know about.