Definition and evolution of our concept of Fashion

In the life of every day the term utilized by fashion in our speeches and each of us can see how this concept is able to permeate in a more or less conscious of our existence.
The fashion is in fact a phenomenon not only psychological and cultural, but also historical, economic and social, as it covers all individuals in the moment in which, since ancient times, they manifest the need to cover their bodies to present to the the outside world and live in society.
Several witnesses in the course of history show how the evolution of fashion in clothing is closely linked to the history of mankind: just think of the fundamental function that clothing assumed in conveying the message of belonging to a particular social status.
The term fashion, defined as current fashion in clothing, such as collective way of dressing, is a direct translation of the French fashions, a word appeared for the first time, according to scholars transalpine Bailleux-Remaury in 1482 instead of manière and façon, for indicate a specific type of clothing.
Although we can not affirm the existence of an unambiguous definition of the term, however, tied to subjective interpretation, two definitions commonly accepted in the Italian language are provided respectively by the Great Dictionary Garzanti, according to whom fashion is “the practice more or less changeable, becoming prevailing taste, stands in customs, ways of living, in the forms of dress “and DizionarioDevoto-oils, which defines fashion” a universal principle, one of the elements of civilization and social customs, which affects not only the body but also all the means of expression available to man. ”
It follows from all of these meanings can be deduced that the taste, although the expression of an individual orientation, it has to deal with a system of social regulation that defines what at any time and place can be considered “fashionable”.
A etymological level should therefore not surprising that there is an overlap between the terms and modern fashion, to emphasize the evolutionary and institutional dimension of taste.

Today the term fashion, having enriched meanings over time, can be understood on three different levels, but complementary:
Fashion as an industry and the clothing trade, and industry as production and distribution;
Fashion as a collective consciousness, as a taste of the community, that is, as a social mechanism transitional fixing of fees and obligations, through the subjectivity of public opinion and policy;
Fashion as restlessness, as an expression of dynamism, as an element of variability and change that intrinsically binds to the concept of change.
In summary, fashion has in itself a kind of apparent contradiction, as it is
“Customary but not tradition, but the rule does not regulate, but do not follow a pattern
choose “- Gerardo Ragone, F.Forte. , “The phenomenon of fashion and its impact on business operations” (1988).

What seems to get everyone to agree is that fashion is an element that allows areas considered ripe to find new dynamism and profitability as the stimulus that provides continuous enlargement and renewal of the application.
In common parlance, a phenomenon, be it product, service or social behavior, is considered fashionable if when he speaks achieved widespread recognition by a specific audience and in a specific geographical circumstances or socio-cultural .
It ‘clear that everything that is related to emotions may be influenced by fashion and that is why purchases by consumers are more and more emotional and less aware, promoted by a hype that is able to affect the choices of the latter in an almost unconscious.
Until now, however, in no other field of human activity the exercise of systemic change in the product has been institutionalized as in the clothing, accessories and footwear, reflecting the fact that the dress reproduces the expression of cultural evolution in customs, in the social context and life styles.

In the past, the concept of fashion was associated only to clothing, although in recent decades has spread to consumer segments more and more wide, affecting the world of leather and footwear, cosmetics such as that of the furniture, even coming to understand extensions related to tourism (think of the resort) or adoption of pets.

Initially, the birth of fashion dates back to the reign of Louis XIV of France, with the establishment of the textile market: a privileged place of competition and seduction, the royal court will be for a long time the main center of the birth and spread of new models, up at the time of the French Revolution.
During this period, the emerging fashion industry experienced an interruption in his rise and then resume boost thanks to the work of a well-known English tailor, Charles Frederick Worth, who moved to Paris from 1894 was called “the ‘inventor of haute couture. ”
The proposed Worth was definitely upset the old and new schemes, in that he showed up for the first time a collection of clothing that was worn by models in the flesh for exposure to customers: it was the first fashion show.
With this insight, Worth had understood how the idea or concept that is the basis of fashion was something extremely important: through the parade will not sell the dress, but a “dream come true” evoked by the model wearing it with a ‘ elegance and poise that become a suggestive for the customer.
So it was that the “father of French fashion” in a short time gained a reputation internationally and contributed in an increasingly decisive to revolutionize the habits of dress introducing professional specialization in the field of fashion.
Proposing models already made by him, Worth ended up guiding the choices of customers, arriving to give rhythm to the cycle of fads and even creating the concept of seasonality.

The fashion finally found its own momentum as tailors, designers, collections, fashion shows, exhibitions, showrooms had become key points for its development and couture was preparing for the advent of haute couture.
In the space of a century, the French fashion was able to impose their own models in the world, with prominent ambassadors such as Paul Poiret, Jeanne Lanvin, Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet. Thanks to their efforts, the tailor becomes an “artist of the newspaper.”
Meanwhile, since 1700 in northern Europe, in Switzerland and in England, the development of the textile industry, and especially the cotton industry, began to take advantage of the emergence of new means of production: mechanical machines such as the spinner, the frame knitting, jacquard loom and the first printing revolutionized within a few decades the traditional ways of working: it can be said that in some way the Industrial Revolution paved the way for the modern fashion.
The production and trade of clothing then they divided into four main areas: clothing manufacturers and tailors for the realization of above; staplers for biancheriaintima; milliners, or fashion mongers, for the trade and the accessory package and seals.
The Revolution, the fashion also making accessible to the middle class, contributed significantly to extend that offer that, for so long, had been at the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.
This marked the beginning of the democratization of fashion: by replacing manual labor with that of the tailor sewing machine, the packaging process was more streamlined and now produces more heads at the same time.
With the advent of the sewing machine it was necessary to also support the modeling of paper to pack the dress, the work of Ellen and William Demorest (Philadelphia, 1850): the sewing machine industrial application marked the birth of the Prêt à – Porter.

Meanwhile, spread to new ways of distributing clothing: in the galleries (think of the Palais Royal in Paris) appeared for the first time in the 1780s the first clothing stores, department stores then. In addition, the first printing of the sector (“Le journal of September Dame des Modes”, 1797) allowed a rapid and better dissemination of models launched by the ladies of high society, which were then taken up by the tailors of the province and abroad.

However, the high fashion between 1800 and 1900 remained the exclusive preserve of the wealthy and the middle class would dress custom tailors that reproduced using models in Paris.

The first significant steps of the Prêt-à-Porter rislagono to 1863, when Ebezener Butterick, founder of Butterick Pattern Company, established the system to produce models in series and in different sizes: it is no coincidence that at this time the French couturiers aligned and united trade union to form the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to defend themselves from massive misconduct in terms of imitation product.

It seems evident that the fashion in this historical phase and starting from there, appears inextricably linked to industry: by maintaining characterizations tailoring it came slowly to mass production, robotization, computerization.
Since the 50’s prêt-à-porter seems to be intended to be inserted in the circuit of the product offer an authoritarian fashion and then to dictate the new rules reducing the power of couture.

After the Second World War there was the breaking of that system based on the dualism between high fashion, intended to wealthy class, and ready fashion, affordable, mass-produced, for the middle class – the bourgeoisie.
Even today the term prêt-à-porter, also called ready-to-wear, you define the collections produced industrially, but distinct from simple packages for the creativity of their forms and the signature that makes it a product of high image.

The ’50s were the golden age, in which large prestigious brands of high fashion coexist with the beginnings of the so-called new look.
Technological innovations, improvement of the sewing machine, automation, computer use, sewing laser revolutionize the production of the tailoring of the measure for mass production.

Since the sixties, the designers began to offer to the market models that could be produced in series and at acceptable prices and at the same time to turn to a younger audience that up to that time, for purely economic reasons, had been excluded from ‘ high fashion, in addition, the press got in a communication system so as to ensure its success.
The high fashion became so democratic thanks to the licensing system that allowed you to use the signature of costume jewelery, accessories, socks and shoes.
From this period the prêt-à-porter begins to develop on two fronts, both of great importance: the designer of the designers (Dior, Armani, etc.) And the one produced on an industrial scale with corporate brands: the various, Max Mara, Fiorucci and Benetton.
Subsequent generations have enriched the game of fashion without changing substantially the rules.

In the seventies there appeared the “fashion designers” as Kenzo, who wanted to defend a strong creativity, without concessions, produced and distributed thanks to the technologies of prêt-à-porter.

The Eighties is a strong market globalization, consumption and products.

In recent years we have witnessed the affirmation of brands with well-defined products, as in the case of Benetton, and the emergence of a second generation of designers and creators of high fashion that has come to juxtapose the first: in Italy Armani, Versace , Trussardi, Missoni, Krizia, etc.., in France Dior, Cardin, Lacroix, Lagerfeld, etc.; U.S. Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, etc..; Japan Kenzo Takada, Issey Myake, etc..

Today, like yesterday, ever new signatures are affirmed every year in the run up to the creation of new models and even some cities vie for the distinction of “fashion capitals” Paris for the haute couture, Milano prêt-à-porter, Florence to men’s fashion, streetwear for London, New York for sportswear and casual.Rinnovandosi incessantly, fashion is enriched by cross-references: an elegant dress with a sporty fabric, a men’s suit fabric with a female (for example, silk satin dresses for men), a footwear made with luxury materials or a particular technology in an evening dress.

The fashion is then to play with lines and lengths, colors and new forms and contents.
Because of the speed with which trends follow each other at an ever tighter, being fashionable is a concept that loses value because it is located in front of the coexistence of a variety of fashions: mode “institutional” and mode ” street “chase each other and enrich
each other, so that inspired this diverse set of proposals, images and patterns, today every individual can be free to compose and manipulate your image identification, within a much larger system that regulates the collective way of dressing.

Today fashion is therefore to deal with the increased awareness and independent judgment of the consumer, who increasingly tend to build their own style.

From fashion to style there is a real conceptual change: the personal style is the manifestation of an individual identity and as such can be transversal to the mode and can freely cross fashion proposals that different, each taking from what is used to define a result of all staff. This sense of style thus reflects the emotional and cultural needs not to passively fashion, but without sacrificing the opportunities that it offers.
Evidently, the style is strongly linked to an awareness of themselves, their values ​​and their way of being and communicating with others, of their specific socio-cultural cluster, if not even to tribes.
This development is also reflected in consumer fashion companies, which

more and more are turning to a specialization to target and style, in which they try to achieve a continuous evolution in key fashion.
Another aspect in this development in recent years has been highlighted by studies carried out by the Observatory of fashion, about the increasingly central role that the accessories and the shoes are taking the fashion scene: even the most prestigious fashion schools adapt this trend, offering courses that focus exclusively on the study and design of these important complements stile.Il project for the opening of new flagship stores of accessories and footwear for which I worked was born from the awareness that now this type Article has reached a maturity that can survive on their own within the fashion industry.
In addition, according to a report that analyzes and evaluates annually the data relating to economic and financial performance of companies in the fashion and end of the range listed on the main lists of the world shows that the value of the return on investment (ROI profitability index of invested capital or return on investment) for each cluster or group (in this case the group consists of Coach, Geox, Hermès, Samsonite, Timberland, Tod’s) is positive in the case of accessories.
That is to say that in this area there is simultaneously an index of profitability on sales (EBIT margin) and a turnover rate of capital (asset turnover) high, the product of which is precisely the ROI.

In particular, according to a recent global survey conducted by ACNielsen
on luxury fashion brands, the ranking of the top five most desired accessories today and in the future is divided into: shoes, sunglasses, wallets, purse women and men, and finally belts.
The designer accessories are taking a central role in clothing and all the international brands are expanding their range of accessories to build your own name and brand image at the new customers as consumer accessories are almost always the first purchase signed, and more accessible. The explanation lies in the fact that for example if the customer has just started working and want to add a pair of designer accessories to their wardrobe, perhaps initially can only afford a keychain or a pair of sunglasses. With the growth of their income, however, he will tend to buy more and more accessories and fashion items.
The houses and the designers of luxury fashion know that the first purchase of brand is often an accessory, so even if it comes to a key ring or a pair of sunglasses, if the consumer has purchased in the shared values ​​of the mark and if the brand maintains its image and its strength, these consumers will come back to buy other products.
In this regard, Frank Martell, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACNielsen Europe, commented: “While many consumers may not be able to afford luxury brands, or more practically do not have the physical models for wear, accessories provide the touch signed to their image […] It is clear from our survey that fashion accessories are certainly not the most absolute domination of women. The designers have already noticed and are rapidly expanding or entering man lines to meet the demands of this rapidly growing and profitable market […] Overall, the survey indicates a huge potential market for accessories designer, especially in emerging Meccas fashion such as Russia, UAE and Asia where the new rich are keen to show off brands and labels such as public statements of the new financial and social status. ”

This brief historical overview allows us to understand how today’s businesses operating in the fashion they are to compete in a changing environment, as they are changed political and geographical balance that led to new countries in competition and the opening of new markets, in addition, from a technological point of view we are witnessing a constant revolution on the one hand compresses the response times by companies to the client and requires a more educated and skilled labor, on the other facilitates and extends the communication network by Customers use the information to ACNielsen understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing campaigns and vendita.imprese.

In this complex scenario, the customer becomes the true ruler: more and more demanding, ready to buy elsewhere, focusing on the most innovative products and reliable and with a better quality / price ratio.

There is always a drastic reduction in the average life cycle of products and a continuing need by companies having to optimize as much as possible the exploitation of resources and innovate constantly in order to remain in the market.

From this description it appears that the ability to survival and growth of the enterprise is increasingly linked to the ability to know how to do their jobs better by implementing continuous improvements through:
• The creation of greater motivation and incentives for human resources, including through the growth and gratification of their professional skills;
• The setting of continuous improvement projects of individual activities, even by comparison with other similar activities within a single company or with external companies (benchmarking);
• The focus of attention on some strategic activities for the enterprise and the cost drivers, working primarily for the optimization of these;
• The highlight of the activities that do not create added value for the end customer to allow gradually the reduction or complete elimination.

Businesses, therefore, in this new context of globalization and change, need to focus on key variables such as the market, customers, competitors and technology, making appropriate analysis on this.
We can therefore understand how knowledge of the meaning of fashion, why and how you create, you are unable to spread and run out, represents a key aspect in the understanding of the strategies and processes of management of the companies competitive.