The fashion industry is seeing how 3D printing technology has influenced designers such as Iris Van Herpen and Kimberly Ovitz. These designers have been heavily experimenting and developing 3D printed couture pieces. As the technology grows, the 3D printers will become more accessible to designers and eventually consumers, which could potentially shape the fashion industry entirely.
The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women and men's fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex. Art historians are therefore able to use fashion with confidence and precision to date images, often to within five years, particularly in the case of images from the 15th century. Initially, changes in fashion led to a fragmentation across the upper classes of Europe of what had previously been a very similar style of dressing and the subsequent development of distinctive national styles. These national styles remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, mostly originating from Ancien Régime France. Though the rich usually led fashion, the increasing affluence of early modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance, but still uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.
Additionally, there is a long history of fashion in West Africa. Cloth was used as a form of currency in trade with the Portuguese and Dutch as early as the 16th Century. Locally produced cloth and cheaper European imports were assembled into new styles to accommodate the growing elite class of West Africans and resident gold and slave traders. There was an especially strong tradition of cloth-weaving in Oyo and the areas inhabited by the Igbo people.
I am Angie Cox and I started YLF after 15 years in the fashion industry as a designer, retail buyer and consultant. These days I'm a fashion stylist to individual clients and I write daily about personal style. You can become a YLF member to join us in the forum or to collect finds, but you're equally welcome as an anonymous reader. Everyone, members and non-members alike, can subscribe to email updates and our monthly newsletter.
The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century, though they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century. The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger.