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.
Runway show is a reflection of fashion trend and a designer's thought. For designer like Vivienne Westwood, runway shows are a platform for her voice on politics and current events. For her AW15 menswear show, according to Water, "where models with severely bruised faces channeled eco-warriors on a mission to save the planet." Another recent example is a staged feminist protest march for Chanel's SS15 show, rioting models chanting words of empowerment with signs like "Feminist but feminine" and "Ladies first." According to Water, "The show tapped into Chanel's long history of championing female independence: founder Coco Chanel was a trailblazer for liberating the female body in the post-WWI era, introducing silhouettes that countered the restrictive corsets then in favour."
Modern Westerners have a wide number of choices available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect his or her personality or interests. When people who have high cultural status start to wear new or different clothes, a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect these people become influenced by their personal style and begin wearing similarly styled clothes. Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography and may also vary over time. If an older person dresses according to the fashion young people use, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms fashionista and fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows current fashions.
Internet technology such as online retailers and social media platforms have given way for trends to be identified, marketed and sold immediately. Styles and trends are easily conveyed online to attract the trendsetters. Posts on Instagram or Facebook can easily increase awareness about new trends in fashion, which subsequently may create high demand for specific items or brands, new "buy now button" technology can link these styles with direct sales.
In the mid to end of the 1900s, African American style changed and developed with the times. Around the 1950s is really when the black community was able to create their own distinct styles. The term “Sunday attire” was coined, communities emphasized "Correct" dress, it was especially important when "stepping out" for social occasions with community members, a habit that continues in the early 2000s. Hair-dos and hairstyles also became a fashion statement, for example the "conk" which is hair that is slightly flattened and waved. Afros also emerged and they were often used to symbolize the rejection of white beauty standards at the time. Around the 1970s is when flashy costumes began to appear and black artists really started to define their presences through fashion. Around this time is also when movements started using fashion as one of their outlets.
^ Wright, M. (2011). How premium fashion brands are maximising their social media ROI. Mashable. Retrieved from www.mashable.com/2011/02/11/fashion-brands-social-media-roi/ in Cassidy, L. & Fitch, K. (2013) Beyond the Catwalk: Fashion Public Relations and Social Media in Australia, Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, vol. 14, No. 1 & 2, Murdoch University.
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