Author Topic: The fickle world of fashion  (Read 5620 times)

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
The fickle world of fashion
« on: March 28, 2016, 02:56:28 AM »
Yesterday I visited a friend to talk about helping him paint his (rather tiny) new appartement and I noticed he was wearing some unusual trousers. So I asked him where he'd got them and he said 'from Zara'. The reason I thought they were unusual is because the trend has been for skinny trousers that look like they've shrunk in the wash, but these had pleats and were more roomy, apart from tapering way too much and being too short.


I found the trousers and here's a pic from Zara's website:




They're described as 'darted' trousers, which obviously means pleated trousers. They have what looks like straight side-pockets like you usually find in the seam, but these are in an inch in front of the seam. And there appear to be more trousers like these among the pedal-pushers for men and mediaeval-hosiery-masquerading-as-trousers on offer. Like these:




Getting somewhat back to classic styles. Maybe very skinny trousers are finally on their way out, or if not that then there'll at least be something else in the fashionable shops to choose from for the men without an eating disorder.


Schneiderfrei

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 388
  • Resembles Human Being
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 11:17:14 AM »
Thank goodness for that, and along with them, those revolting undersized Jackets, please, supposed to show your "Gains" bursting through, ugh.  And the body shirts that should have gone away for good in the 70's.  At least they had the sense to use knits back then.

Ha ha  I reveal my prejudices.

Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 11:32:46 AM »
Clothes have different purposes in life. Fashions are for play. Suits are sort of a uniform. Sports coats have there use as blazers another. Then there are swim suits along with other sporting clothes.  Music; rock, country, jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, hymns, etc. If fashions are comparable to rock music....

Even rtw suits look terrible on some people. Why pick on fashions. In most cases fashions are for young people. Still, so many of the best tailors made to fashions. When you are working to make something look good on somebody you are working your mind getting better. No doubt some fashions don't work for everyone. But, why stomp on the ones that do. If tailors were against skinny pant legs why did they write directions for making skinny pant legs. 50 years ago many old tailors were clearly involved with fashions.

Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 11:40:56 AM »
People confuse classic with fashion. 10 15 years ago suit pants were being sold with two three "breaks" just above the shoes, and dimwits were calling that classic, when it was only fashion. Grown men confused what fashion is.

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 12:57:07 PM »
Clothes have different purposes in life. Fashions are for play. Suits are sort of a uniform. Sports coats have there use as blazers another. Then there are swim suits along with other sporting clothes.  Music; rock, country, jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, hymns, etc. If fashions are comparable to rock music....

Even rtw suits look terrible on some people. Why pick on fashions. In most cases fashions are for young people. Still, so many of the best tailors made to fashions. When you are working to make something look good on somebody you are working your mind getting better. No doubt some fashions don't work for everyone. But, why stomp on the ones that do. If tailors were against skinny pant legs why did they write directions for making skinny pant legs. 50 years ago many old tailors were clearly involved with fashions.

This seems to me completely misguided. Many of the best tailors don't make to the whims of fashion at all, it's a common idea that tailors move slowly retaining a moderate silhouette considering the years of service a suit is intended to provide.

There's a big difference between what tailors make and fashion churned out for sale to anonymous consumers. Skinny cotton trousers, wrinkled to death from the racks of H&M are not chosen because the wearer has considered fit in the way a customer of Huntsman might consider the fit of his trousers. It's nothing to do with tailoring. Nothing at all.

The skinny pants of 50 years ago weren't all that skinny were they? Thin trousers in 1966 were not like those in shops everywhere now. Cotton rubbish with chain-stitching all over the place, poor finishing, 5 or more inches too long and retailing for between 50-150 units of currency. The trousers of 1966 would have been hemmed properly, done at home if not by the shop. The hems meeting the shoes and only rising of the wearer was caught in a flood or paddling in the sea.

It's not the RTW industry I'm condemning, far from it, there are obviously skilled pattern designers in that sphere, managing to fit a multitude of people. This also has nothing to do with fashion whims. Watch men trying on jackets in shops, they no longer consider what could be done with the long sleeves, it's just accepted. If the shoulders are too big they just try a size smaller and accept that the coat hem is now higher than that on their girlfriend's jacket (which is, I'm sure, part of how this foolishness began in he first place). Tightness has replaced fitting because it gives a rudimentary semblance of fit without all the work of real fitting.

I don't expect to be victorious against the tide of fashion by means of a tirade, but the claim that it's merely closed-minded failure to accept sartorial evolution, or whatever cod-philosophical claptrap is written on the menswear forums these days, does not convince me.

Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 04:31:15 PM »
http://www.moma.org/media/W1siZiIsIjE1MTQ1NyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDEyODB4MTI4MFx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg?sha=85085723973ee424

Bather with Beach Ball, Picasso

Was he on LSD when he painted this one? He must have enjoyed eating flounders because he painted a number of women looking like flat fish. Do they have halibut in the Atlantic? Was he a sole man?

Art can be goofy, ridiculous, absurd to name a few. Nobody says you have to like all of it. Two people who walk iinto a store and buy the same and yet one looks good and the other looks terrible. Why? Perhaps one understands the purpose and the other doesn't? If some rich kid comes to you asking would you turn him down? This is very different when somebody goes out of his way and will wait some days for a garment than somebody who buys a garment he doesn't care about.

The few tailors left most of them only want to make suits and that kind of stuff. Those tailors don't speak for the rest, which includes history. And then there is business strategy which zeros in on certain kinds of clothes and nothing else because the business is after certain type of customers. But, even these tailors sometimes are being asked by prized customers to make unusual clothes. Plenty of tailor publications advising not to send them somewhere else, but make the, sometimes, crazy garments. Business is business.

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 12:00:01 AM »
Picasso? This is not about whether the height of avant garde art fashion toasted at London fashion week is good or bad, it's about everyday clothes. There's an imbalance when the only kind of menswear available for mass consumption is shrunken, overly tight clothes. It's like the old complaint from women that a lot of fashionable clothes were for stick thin-thin models and young girls. Forget tailoring, it doesn't much apply to this issue.

'Business is business' is the cry of the person with no principles of their own, just rolling over to please whimsical tastes. Not the philosophy of Picasso's blue period at all. Unrelated to 'art' entirely.

jruley

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Human Being
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 01:06:59 PM »
http://www.moma.org/media/W1siZiIsIjE1MTQ1NyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDEyODB4MTI4MFx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg?sha=85085723973ee424

Was he on LSD when he painted this one?


From the looks of that thing, he was on something...

Reminds me of the Mark Twain quote about Wagnerian music: "It's better than it sounds."

And the same applies to "skinny suits" that look they were borrowed from one's younger siblings.  And for that matter, 1940's-50's "zoot suits" that were severely oversized.

There is a "reasonable range" that looks best on most people, probably owing to standard human proportions.  "Fashion" sometimes reaches the limits of this range.  Action causes reaction, and the pendulum goes the other way.


Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 04:59:06 PM »
I think of fashions as many things. It seems to me the cat walks is an attempt to achieve fashion. Those of the sagger fashion certainly are not paying attention to other fashions. Surprised it is still around. Schneiderfrei, you can still get in on that one. We don't even have to be slim and handsome. It doesn't discriminate, at least that way. Fashions can can be as small as two people. Small groups are not unusual. Sometimes they are limited to one school. Nobody owns fashions. People contribute to fashions. Look at the 60s through 70s fashions; youth and a bit older were changing there 501s into bell bottoms. Painting there pants. Tie dying tee shirts. No industry had control. Psychedelic was outside the control of big business. Who ruled it? Nobody. It had a life of its own. We picked our way through it. There were thousands of tailors in those days. Some tailors participated and some, of course, wouldn't. All the way thru history people contributed to fashions. In the past some tailors were very much involved. And, tailors had to be. No body else was making clothes. When you can not contribute, then it is a uniform, and not a fashion.

jruley

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Human Being
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 02:08:07 AM »
Quote
All the way thru history people contributed to fashions. In the past some tailors were very much involved. And, tailors had to be. No body else was making clothes.

Who do you mean by "tailors"?  You seem to have a romanticized view of the past as this ideal world where everyone could afford personally tailored clothing.  Maybe that was reality for your grandfather (in rural Sweden?) but certainly not elsewhere.

As I understand it, throughout history personally tailored clothing was a luxury reserved for those who could afford it.  For the rest, second-hand clothing was big business, and the lower and rural classes made their own.

This began to change with the rise of the ready-made clothing industry, starting in the 18th century.  You might enjoy reading "Ready-Made Democracy:  A History of Men's Dress in the American Republic, 1760-1860" by Michael Zakim.  Three trends:  Steam propulsion to enable goods to move in any direction, abundant cheap immigrant labor, and systematic cutting, resulted in most American men dressing in ready-made clothing by 1860.  And it wasn't "homespun" or unfashionable.  Fashion plates and associated cutting diagrams came west across the Atlantic and were swiftly adopted, resulting in the inhabitants of New York and Boston (and for that matter, St Louis and San Francisco) looking just like Londoners and Parisians.  With a time lag of a few weeks to months.

Most tailors worked in deplorable conditions in those days, much like Third World garment workers today.  Cloth and trimming "bundles" came into the workroom (or were picked up in the case of independent "outworkers"), were made up into garments and went back out.  These tailors never even saw the clients.  Neither did many cutters; the advent of mass production meant they were working to standard sizes.

Sure, small towns had tailors, but their work was alterations, the hard to fit and the less-than-one percent who could afford what passed for "bespoke".

I haven't studied later periods closely, but I only see these trends increasing through the rest of the 19th century and throughout the 20th.  The notion of the "little village bespoke tailor" belongs in storybooks, not serious history.

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2016, 02:23:09 AM »
^ Where's the like button when you need it?

Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2016, 06:03:37 AM »
Jim, if you were rich would you want an apprentice working on your $5,000 coat?

There is no law saying that tailors can only work on luxurious clothing.

"Most tailors worked in deplorable conditions in those days, much like Third World garment workers today."
This puts them in the non-luxury category. Apprentices were pushed to do better where the pay is better.

In sixth grade one of my peers wanted a simple jacket. He went to several stores to compare the style he wanted. He went to a tailor to see what he had to offer. I've met tailors that would have thrown him out. They discussed the details, talked about different kinds of pockets and methods of making. This boy was lower middle-class or the higher end of poor. Far from being wealthy.

Some tailors say that coats are the only garments that have any tailoring in them. So, why are tailors making trousers and vest?

Some tailors are very narrow minded and picky in what they make. While others love variety.

jruley

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Human Being
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 06:30:11 AM »
Jim, if you were rich would you want an apprentice working on your $5,000 coat?

What makes you think apprentices don't work on wealthy customer's clothing?  Not the delicate finish work that shows prominently, but more basic stuff?  As long as the master thinks they're ready for it.  Must be a sign of confidence, the first time you're allowed to sew on a button for Mr Big.

Quote
"Most tailors worked in deplorable conditions in those days, much like Third World garment workers today."
This puts them in the non-luxury category. Apprentices were pushed to do better where the pay is better.

Then as now, RTW actually made all levels of quality.  Unions were being formed even in those days, with a fee schedule for piecework.  The number of "book hours" you got paid for a jacket depended on the complexity of the garment, not the quality of the cloth.

The way out was not the higher-class trade, but to develop more skills and move up to being a cutter.  Then get enough money to sell clothing as well as manufacture it for others, becoming a clothier.  Some of those men made a killing, but most working tailors lived and died as poor men.  Maybe we are using the word to mean different things.

Quote
In sixth grade one of my peers wanted a simple jacket. He went to several stores to compare the style he wanted. He went to a tailor to see what he had to offer. I've met tailors that would have thrown him out. They discussed the details, talked about different kinds of pockets and methods of making. This boy was lower middle-class or the higher end of poor. Far from being wealthy.

Well, I wanted a nice camera at age fourteen, so I saved my money and bought one.  Your friend had the dough, so he could have a jacket made.  That doesn't make him a typical customer.

Quote
Some tailors are very narrow minded and picky in what they make. While others love variety.

Most tailors (using the word as I do)  work for other people, and make what they are told to.  They are influenced by fashion, but have little if any influence on it.
If Donald Trump asked you for a purple jacket and pink pants, would you turn him down?  If your job depended on it, could you afford to?

spookietoo

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 58
  • Home Sewist - Focusing on Tailoring TN - U.S.A.
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 11:03:24 AM »
I will say that the baggy, "too short" pants are a definite improvement over the recent trend of "meggings" - (man leggings)Too tight AND too short.

For decades fashion drove sales within the RTW industry. After 2-3 years, fashion trends would rotate in and out never to be seen again in modern times. As late as the 80's, new trends would trickle in causing virtually everyone to completely replace their wardrobes every 5 years or so, while maintaining only a few basic pieces. By the 90's, it had all been done. Nothing was new. The oversized, over padded styles of the 80's had been paired down to silhouettes that were more classic even though they may have contained minute distinctions. The only thing about that decade that truly stands out to me was the feminine flowy styles of womens' clothing worn with clunky, clodhopper shoes more appropriate for a horse than a woman. An entire generation of young women came of age incapable of walking in heels. Men could only distinguish themselves with the color of their shirts and the print of their ties. The "need" to wear recognizable designers or manufacturers began to wain as brands such as Cole Haan moved their factories from Italy to Brasil.Another 10 years later and those factories are in China.....along with virtually all other aspects of the RTW industry.

While the area I live in is by no means a fashion Mecca, with a major University and a higher than normal disposible income (our housing, food and utilities are cheap compared to other parts of the country, 35 years ago students and young professionals sported all of the latest trends. My BIL, whose current position can be referred to as the great lord god of engineering for the Eastern U.S., was wearing red parachute pants (remember those?!?) the night he met my sister. Their children, an architect and a freshman engineering student with massive social skills and popularity, have never followed fashion trends. My niece, the architect, thinks nothing of shopping second hand thrift stores for clothing- preferring to have money for her next trip to Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, etc.  I try to impress upon her the value of a decent suit and a pair of heels on her tiny 5'1" frame, and she doesn't care. Instead, an above the knee red, flippy skirt thrown on haphazardly over green tights in order to attend a major industry event in the very large metropolitan city in which she lives, resulted in virtually everyone in her industry knowing she was the new intern at her firm that won the most coveted door prize,  desired by all attendees- a custom built ergonomic desk chair - and she is remembered as "The Elf".  If she had worn the finest of bespoke suits - no one would know who she is.

My nephew wants and is getting a brand new, fully furnished one bedroom apartment all to himself next year.  He and his friends come from families that comprise the top 5% of earners in this country - when they aren't living in Great Britain and Australia, etc.  Over the last 15 years, I have never seen any of their friends show up to anything in a fashion forward garment.  Clothing has little importance. Their knowledge of quality in clothing is strictly limited to whether or not something shrank or faded in the wash.  I can't remember ever seeing a pressed garment, not once - not ever. And these are good, very popular kids. (My nephew's current roomate - valedictorian of their STEM academy, keeps the door to their room revolving as he buys his condoms by the gross - {there truly are some things I would prefer not to know - but neither my sister nor I can understand that revelation - perhaps the TV show "Big Bang Theory" has actually elevated geeks to a new level of desired sexuality.}) I can only assure you clothing has NOTHING to do with it.

And neither my nephew nor his friends would be caught dead in a pair of meggings and I would be shocked if a pair of the baggy- high-waters shows up.  Perhaps the friend returning from England - I'll let you know if that happens.

All of the attempts at "something different" in the fashion industry really do not seem to be having a noticable mainstream effect. I truly believe a return to quality will be the next "big thing". I can see an appreciation for finer things coming to the surface amongst my nephew's peer group. What their living quarters look like matters. Vehicles - not so much at this point. I expect that to change after graduation. Then clothes. So an uptick in quality clothing within 5-6 years.

Afterall, the miserable mountains of polyester goopy clothing will have completely run their cycle by then.  Even those with absolutely no fashion sense and no appreciation of quality are realizing they are purchasing clothing that is meant to be disposed of with the change of each season. Those educated enough to value the concept of green living will begin to see the waste hanging in their closets.

Other than 3-D printed clothing, what else is there to rejuvenate the fashion industry other than quality?

Greger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
  • Experienced Professional
Re: The fickle world of fashion
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2016, 06:52:00 AM »


The light colored look like sand pants. What I mean, for walking on the beach. The hems could actually be higher to keep the sand and water away.