Why fashion changes every time?

Do you pick out the clothes you wear to school each day? When you’re deciding what to wear, what do you think about? What things are important to you?

If you look in your closet, you realize that you have a certain number of clothes to choose from. But how did those clothes get there? Did you help pick them out? Why did you or your parents choose the clothes you have?

Who decided that blue jeans and t-shirts are “cool” for kids to wear today? Who designs the clothes you see for sale in stores? All of these questions revolve around the world of fashion.

Fashion refers to the styles of dress that are currently popular. Fashion goes beyond just clothes, though. It can extend to shoes, jewelry and even how you style your hair.

For many people, fashion is a high priority. It’s important to some people to wear only the latest fashions and styles. For others, though, keeping up with the trends isn’t that important.

And keeping up is certainly something you have to do if fashion is important to you. The one thing that stays the same with fashion is this: it always changes!

Don’t believe us? Spend some time on the Internet looking at fashion over the ages. In the 1960s and 1970s, hippies made bell-bottomed blue jeans popular. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson made parachute pants all the rage. Now try to find these items in today’s clothing stores!

Why do fashions change? The answer is probably as simple as the fact that people change. Over time, the new replaces the old. People are influenced greatly by popular culture, including athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians, royalty, as well as popular films, television shows, books and music. We also are influenced by the fashion industry’s advertising.

The stars of popular culture don’t remain stars by doing the same things over and over again. Instead, they’re always searching for a new angle to maintain their popularity. Often these new angles come in the form of new clothing or hairstyles.

When people see these new styles, they often want to imitate their favorite stars. To do so, they seek out the latest fashions — clothes, shoes, jewelry and the like — to make themselves look like the people they want to imitate. In this way, fashions evolve and constantly change over time.

And it’s been happening for hundreds of years! Ever since clothes were invented, they’ve been used as a way to express something about yourself. As far back as the 1700s, the French were known to spend hours looking through fashion magazines to learn about the latest styles.

For years, clothes have been used to separate people into groups. Even today, brand-name clothing that is more expensive than other types of clothing can be used by some people to distinguish themselves from others.

Unfortunately, this can often have the effect of distancing certain groups from others. Don’t forget that it’s always OK to develop your own sense of style that is unique and separate from what the fashion world dictates! Stay true to yourself and let your personality — not your clothes — speak for who you are!

When Fashion Becomes Fast, Disposable And Cheap

When it comes to clothes these days, maybe you should ask: What’s your waste size?

You know you have those clothes sitting in your closet: That shirt you spent less than $10 on because it looked cool for a second, or that skirt you only wore once before it went out of fashion.

Fashion cycles are moving faster than ever. A Quartz article in December revealed how fashion brands like Zara, Gap and Adidas are churning out new styles more frequently, a trend dubbed “fast fashion” by many in the industry. The clothes that are mass-produced also become more affordable, thus attracting consumers to buy more.

“It used to be four seasons in a year; now it may be up to 11 or 15 or more,” says Tasha Lewis, a professor at Cornell University’s Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design.

The top fast fashion retailers grew 9.7 percent per year over the last five years, topping the 6.8 percent of growth of traditional apparel companies, according to financial holding company CIT.

Fashion is big business. Estimates vary, but one report puts the global industry at $1.2 trillion, with more than $250 billion spent in the U.S. alone. In 2014, the average household spent an average $1,786 on apparel and related services.

More styles mean more purchases — and that leads to more waste created. Journalist Elizabeth Cline writes in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion that disposable clothing is damaging to the environment and the economy. We are more likely to dispose of cheaper, mass-produced fashion garments than pricier ones.

“We don’t necessarily have the ability to handle the disposal,” Lewis says. “The rate of disposal is not keeping up with the availability of places to put everything that we’re getting rid of and that’s the problem.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded.

How To Deal With All This Textile Waste?

One way developed nations get rid of their excess clothing is by donating it to developing nations. According to the United Nations, the United States is the biggest exporter of used clothes, and the top importing countries of used clothing are India, Russia and Pakistan.

But with the strong dollar and availability of cheap clothing from Asia, some are worried that demand for exports of secondhand clothing will decline — thus forcing developed nations to find new ways to deal with post-consumer textile waste.

Fast fashion and the disposable culture also hurt sorting companies that export second-hand clothing.

Adam Baruchowitz, founder of Wearable Collections in New York City, collects second-hand clothing and sells it to sorting companies. The companies then sort through the clothes, separating those that will be made into other low-grade fiber products and those that will be exported.

Baruchowitz says the most valuable part of a sorting company’s business is in selling reusable second-hand clothing. But if the quality is questionable, more of the garments collected might have to head to the shredding bin rather than the second-hand clothes market.

“It’s very damaging to the environment, this fast fashion culture, and it also affects the secondhand market because these clothes aren’t meant to be used for so long,” he says. “I can’t say for sure, but the secondhand H&Ms would probably be in less demand than a garment that was produced with more quality. I’m getting all this stuff from fast fashion and I’m hearing from clients that it’s hurting them.”

Do Retailers’ Recycling Programs Encourage Consumerism?

Several clothing retailers have announced take-back programs that collect used garments from customers to be recycled, sold or remade into other clothing. H&M, for example, has allowed customers to bring unwanted garments — which will be transformed to recycled textile fibers for new products — since 2013. The company aims to have “zero garments going to landfill.” Patagonia also recycles and sells used Patagonia products in its stores.

It plays into the concept of extended producer responsibility, which means the manufacturer has to take into consideration the product’s afterlife.

But does it actually encourage more consumerism? For many stores, customers can get store credit and vouchers for sending in used clothing.

“If you bring it back to the store and you see something new and you’re going to give me a discount, I’m having a buying moment I may not have had before because you’re having me back at your store. It’s very smart in terms of business,” Lewis says.

The concept, however, might encourage a different type of thinking: If manufacturers have to think about how they’re going to get the most out of the product after it has been worn, Lewis says, it might spur them to start designing products that can be taken apart easily, have better quality, or might be biodegradable, for example.

H&M introduced new garments made of recycled textile fibers two year ago.

Clothing of 1830s

Clothing the family of the 1830s was an important task, and most of the work was the responsibility of the women.

Every stitch of the sewing had to be done by hand; Elias Howe didn’t even invent the sewing machine until 1846, and Isaac Singer’s version didn’t come about until 1850.

Of course, ordinary people didn’t have the large wardrobes we expect today. They made do with one outfit for every day, one for Sunday best, and perhaps one other, or parts of another, for seasonal change. Even wealthy people didn’t necessarily have lots of clothes, although their money allowed them to purchase ready-made items from the storekeeper, or to hire custom sewing done outside the household, or by a temporary live-in seamstress.

Where a family lived determined to a great extent where and how they obtained their clothing. City and town dwellers usually purchased the fabrics, if not the entire garments, from specialty or general stores. People in rural or remote areas were more likely to undertake the whole process themselves. Still, it was possible for nearly anyone to order nearly anything to be sent to them from a merchant in the next town, or even from a merchant oceans away. It just took a very long time to arrive.

There was a great variety of fabrics available for making clothes in the 1830s. They were all “natural” fabrics; wool and linen were most common, with cotton and silk were scarcer and more expensive. Hundreds of weaves and patterns were available.

A rich selection of colors existed even before synthetic dyes were developed in the late 1850s. These early colors were made from plant parts-leaves, stems and blossoms of woods and meadow flowers; roots, barks, nut hulls and tree galls; berries, fruits, pits and skins; mosses, lichens, and fungi and non-plants, such as insects and shellfish.

Many dye sources were imported from tropical areas, and were sold in general stores. They were widely available to both home dyers and professional dyers. The professional dyers sometimes supplied services even to home spinners and weavers. Really, every combination of home and outside professional endeavor went into the providing of fibers, fabrics, and garments in the 1830s.