The Rise of the Clothes and Fashion Industry

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Clothing has been a need man has been providing for itself since times past. At the inception of the concept of clothing, early humans who existed during the Old and Middle stone Ages used the hides of animals as clothing. Their occupation then was mainly hunting and gathering, it then served as a symbol of bravery when they wear the skins of wild animals that meant danger in a field while hunting. The main purpose of the animal clothes at the time was to cover nakedness, hence little attention was paid to the designs and styles. Clothing has evolved today to include more clothing materials like cotton and nylon and whispers of the word "‘fashion’" can be heard on every person’'s lips. It has taken sacrifice and determination of those who lived before us to mold fashion and clothing to what it is presently (Astrum People). This paper seeks to explore the origins, some of the leading figures involved, and some of the impacts of the fashion industry.

History of Fashion and Fashion Industry

The history of fashion dates many years back to the 19th century when the concept of designing garments first emerged in France and, more specifically, the capital – Paris. The period saw the establishment of what could be compared to the modern fashion shop and the employment of many personnel (Vecchi and Chitra 187). With the workers’ input, there was witnessed an increased production of apparel that was available for sale. This was what marked the beginning of what would later become the lucrative fashion industry. The success of the pioneer industry is based on the fact that it could predict its customers’ demands and work towards supplying the requested items (Chen et al. 345). Formal wear was the main product of the industry, though the sales were not very good. This changed drastically in February 1853, when Napoleon III of France made a proclamation that all guests to be received in his court were to have formal wear. Residents of Paris, mainly the royal family and the accomplices, saw the essence of designer clothing and became regular customers (Barlett 428). Up to the 20th century, Paris and London were the leading producers of fashion clothing in Europe.

Ideologies on the designs spread to various parts of the world in two ways. First, the proprietors of different department stores sent their representatives to Paris to have a look at the designs and copy them. This move led to an increased production of garments after the original designs from Paris (Vecchi and Chitra 112). Secondly, the inclusion of photographs in the magazines in the 20th century gave the other designers the chance to have a glimpse at the fashion that existed in other parts of Europe, therefore, prompting emulation. That was possible through the efforts of talented illustrators such as Paul Iribe and Georges Lepape who drew colorful plates depicting the recent developments in fashion and beauty (Chen et al. 346). The autonomy of apparel and outfit production, therefore, slipped from the industries in France and England to other parts of Europe.

The 20th century saw the main transformation in the fashion industry. The initial design of clothing for ladies demanded the assistance of a maid during dressing. New designs were forged that made the items of clothing easier to put on without any help (Barlett 429). Moreover, the pioneer designers were male and it was only during that time that female designers made a leap into the industry. This move modified the taste of the designs produced, as the ladies’ needs were better met. The first fashion show was organized and held during that period, followed by the opening of foreign branches outside of Paris, which was at that time the mainstay of apparel production (Laura 9). During the world wars, necessity prevailed over style in the determination of designs within the fashion industry. The long dresses were no longer convenient for the new duties women had to take up. For example, women started working in the industries, as men went to war (Astrum People). Visiting the wounded soldiers and mourning for the dead shifted the market needs to fitting dresses that were black in color and sidelined the partying attire. Also, this period saw the growth of the industrial sector which produced wealthy merchants as well as immigrants who worked in the industries or acted as investors (Vecchi and Chitra 61). These people replaced the monarchs and the wealthy ruling class as market targets for the fashion industry.

Another significant event that changed the face of fashion was the inception of the film industry. With Hollywood as the leading film industry, it brought designers on board who came up with glamorous outfits for the actors and actresses focusing on their unique model of design aside from that identified with Paris (Laura 15). The movies and theater presentations had a wild following and a larger audience compared to the magazines and, therefore, played a significant role in speedily propagating the new models of fashion design used by the American film department. The creativity of the designers proved invaluable to the industry, as it was able to incorporate jewelry and other accessories that opened another chapter in fashion (Astrum People). The sportswear and jeans were among the first forms of casual wear that made their way into the film industry.

During the 21st century, the fashion industry has exhibited massive changes that have been fueled by the technological advances. There has been a drift from the use of human labor to measure and trim outfits to the use of computers to do the work (Chen et al. 346). Accuracy and specificity have been the result of these improvements. Additionally, marketing of fashion products has been eased and expanded through the use of online platforms (Vecchi and Chitra 56). Customers can place their orders and receive deliveries irrespective of the geographical distance. It has also become less important for the consumers to learn about the new trending outfits following the increased accessibility to internet services. The management of the companies dealing in apparel has also been smoothened making it possible to open retail and manufacturing branches beyond the former confines.

Impact of Fashion Industry in the World Economy

The fashion industry has had great implications for the economy. Individuals, groups, and countries have accrued benefits and prestige from it. Employment, wealth, and social interactions are among the merits that accompany the establishment of the apparel industry. Since its inception, the industry has commanded a customer base from the upper social class while offering employment to the low social class (Barlett 429). A lot of things changed, but this was a notable achievement of the industry, as it bridged the gap between the poor and the rich. Besides, this field of business has been somewhat indiscriminate to those that chose to indulge. The only limiting factor to one’s prosperity is not capital, but creativity and talent with which they obtain their products (Astrum People). It is a deviation from the concept of another industry’s establishment where one’s capital base determines how far they can go in the world of business. Creation of the sector was a hallmark to exploiting a new economic niche that was ignored by investors.

With the rolling out of large scale production of clothing and other accessories, tailors and dressmakers secured employment which enabled them to cater to the needs of their families and expand their shops. Some of them later became the proprietors of manufacturing and retail companies within the fashion industry (Vecchi and Chitra 281). That offered a leeway for them to climb a notch higher up the economic ladder: from the low social class to the middle-class status. Furthermore, the people dealing with the raw materials required by the fashion industry, such as cotton and other forms of fabric, saw the demand for their products increase (Laura 20). The formerly jobless and the paupers found this industry accommodative, since it was not yet flocked and was in need of the skilled and non-skilled labor.

Talented sewers and designers have found their befitting reward in the apparel industry. Previously, when people used to make their clothing, it was not obvious what constituted an exemplary outfit and no one got paid for putting one on (Barlett 430). Instead, these individuals had to seek other forms of engagement to afford paying for their daily needs even when satisfaction was the last thing in the professions they took. This status quo was toppled with the coming of the fashion industry where people now paid to get the outfits of their choice done. Sewers and designers took the jobs with enthusiasm and contentment displaying their talent and skills in the incredible products (Vecchi and Chitra 70). Their services were not only sought for by wealthy merchants, but also the royal families. Queens and princesses ordered from the talented designers who were charged with the duty of coming up with the architecture of royal attire and supplying them.

The media and shipping services are greatly indebted to the apparel industry for the expansion of the job opportunities. At the inception of the industry, the outstanding designs of clothing were limited to the original cities of production, such as Paris and London (Laura 21). However, with the aim of spreading the ideologies on outfit styles across the world, the media services exploited the use of magazines and photography to inform the outside world of the advances they could be oblivious about. Better still, the celebrities in films that adorned themselves in the exemplary outfits as well the fashion and design icons provided adequate news to be aired by the journalists. Having gathered the information from the media, the shipping companies learned of the available market that was highly in demand of the goods newly molded and was bound to exploit these market needs at all cost (Vecchi and Chitra 300). Merchants dealing in finished clothes had the privilege of supplying their goods to the other parts of Europe, since the mass production of clothing had not been adopted across the world. It was an excellent boost to their businesses.

Today, the industry has expanded and utilizes the skills of different professionals to foster its advances. It requires the input of civil engineers to set up new outlet stores and build access roads should the projects be based in remote areas (Barlett 430). Additionally, the revolution of trade to incorporate the use of internet services to serve customers has offered an opportunity for the information technology (IT) specialists to set up a database for communication with the consumers and where they can place their orders and pay for them. This database is also used as an avenue for advertisement of the new products and a way to receive the consumers’ concerns on how service delivery can be improved (Vecchi and Chitra 278). With all the sophistication that has dominated the fashion world today, only well-trained personnel are up to the task in the modern industrial firms, and it is worth noting that the industry is one of the largest employers of different specialists.

The fashion industry has been a source of revenue to the governments under which their companies are established. Taxes paid by the owners of the fashion business add to the tally of the government income (Chen et al. 346). These could be in the form of excise duty and the purchase of trade permits and the acquisition of the license. The expansion of the fashion industry into some regions across the world has led to the discovery of the new potential investment destinations (Vecchi and Chitra 340). It has worked to the advantage of some governments that have received overwhelming numbers of foreign investors that have contributed to the growth of the economy of such countries.

The industrial revolution took place at a time when it was necessary to shift from autonomous agricultural production to the utilization of the farm products to make other finished products and manufacture other goods, as their demand was constantly on the rise. The development of the fashion and apparel industry was a milestone to the industrial growth (Chen et al. 347). Employees of firms required special attire to use in the course of their duty and these were provided by the fashion industry. Moreover, the fashion industry offered a ready market for the cotton and sisal processing industries, since it required fabric to facilitate its business. The mining sector that produced diamond, copper, and gold found a market for their products, as the apparel industry utilized these products in the manufacturing of jewelry and other accessories (Laura 23). Notably, with the spread of the fashion industry across the world, it was necessary to have the other industries expand in equal measure.

Entertainment took a different path with the establishment of the new designs and fashion. Sports and games, such as football, rugby, netball, and athletics, were given designated forms of attire that were more comfortable and convenient for the activity. This move shaped how the games were played and, subsequently, resulted in the satisfaction of the spectators (Chen et al. 347). The fashion industry utilized this opportunity also to display its artistic designs through branding of the exceptional players. Besides, the film industry made a significant improvement in the portrayal of the celebrities, since the designers were geared towards isolating the best outfit for every character and event that took place in the movie. The same saw a transformation from the dull scenes to more captivating ones, therefore, adding to the taste of the films produced and bloom of the industry.

Achievements and Failures of Some of the Key Contributors to Fashion

The milestones that have been realized in the fashion industry are the fruits of the efforts of the few individuals that were committed to dedicating their lives to the apparel industry (Vecchi and Chitra 74). They saw the need for the properly designed outfits and the mass production of clothing as a lingering market demand that was supposed to be satisfied. These figures include Charles Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, and Jeanne Lanvin. Their contributions shaped the industry into the well-organized and sophisticated companies we see today (Barlett 427). With each of them living in overlapping periods, every input was meant to build on the existing advancements or, better still, improve them.

Born on October 13, 1825, Charles Frederick Worth is regarded as a designer for the people that lived during the 19th century. He was born in England, in the city of Lincolnshire, where, as a young man, he secured a job with two merchants dealing in textile. Working with these businessmen as an apprentice and a clerk endowed him with knowledge that would later help him in coming up with exceptional designs (Laura 13). He also made visits to the National Gallery where he scrutinized the ancient portraits that gave him a glimpse of what would become his fields of specialization – dressmaking and masquerade attire. His inspiration and drive pushed him to venture into the business of clothes designing and not even in his native country, but in Paris, where he relocated to in 1845 when he was only 20 years old.

He braved the early hostilities of life in the foreign land and was able to secure a job as a salesman for Gagelin, a well-known firm that sold textile products. Through his hard work and determination, he soon rose to the position of the leading agent in the enterprise. He was later able to spearhead the creation of a dressmaking department within the firm for which he was appointed the professional dressmaker (Barlett 439). His efforts and auspicious designs saw the company earn a great reputation and led to him winning awards in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and in the Exposition Universelle of 1855 in Paris. That was enough proof for him that he could do more to the industry, but this time working independently and not as an employee. He, therefore, opened his dressmaking firm in 1858 with the help of another business partner (Laura 21). It was the onset of a new phase of success to the young Englishman in a foreign land.

The establishment of the second French Empire by Napoleon III in the 19th century occurred just in time to favor the success of Worth’s business. The emperor was at the forefront of remarkable changes that beefed up the economy of France and made Paris a masterpiece in Europe. The demand for fashionable clothing and other textile products soared and Worth was set to meet it. Additionally, the marriage of the emperor to Empress Eugenie was an invaluable event for Worth’s business (Barlett 432). She cherished style and ordered for the best of the designers to lead the transformation of dressing in the royal courts. Worth earned the title “father of haute couture” not because he was the first or only designer, but as a result of the relentless efforts he made to promote himself through exemplary work. Until his death in 1895, Worth was renowned for the production of clothing used on special occasions such as weddings, performance costumes in theater, and masquerades. His sons took over the ownership of his shops and had endeavored to maintain their father’s legacy.

Another leading designer rose to prominence towards the end of the 19th century. This was Paul Poiret. He was a French national by birth and was nicknamed “Le Magnifique,” which means “the magnificent,” due to the new sense of touch he brought to the fashion industry. His exceptional abilities in the use and blending of colors paved the way for the innovation of lampshade tunic and harem trousers (Laura 24). He is acknowledged for coming up with the orientalist fantasies that shaped fashion into its modern form. His strongest points that made him brave and noticeable in the apparel industry were his innovative technical and marketing tactics. Zaza, a play in which Gabrielle Réjane took part in, was one of the theater platforms exploited by Poiret to market his products. While serving at Doucet, one of the textile firms, his exceptional qualities assisted him in rise to the position of the chief tailor.

After this he joined the House of Worth, a project that was run by Gaston Worth, Charles Worth’s son. He was assigned the duty of designing affluent evening and reception gowns which Gaston referred to as “fried potatoes.” He worked with the Gaston until 1903 and then left to open his own fashion shop. Years later, he began a cosmetic and perfume company and named it after his eldest daughter, Rosine, and a decorative arts company dealing in interior design, which he named after Martine, his second daughter (Barlett 440). Poiret continued to furnish the industry with designs that stood out due to the originality and unique touch. Styles used in modern dressmaking, such as draping, were his inventions. He continued the orientalist views in modifying the dress code of his customers until his death in 1944. He is remembered as the first fashion modernist.

In spite of the fact that the male figures dominated the fashion and design arena, Jeanne Lanvin’s entrance into the business changed this indigenous trend. Despite the significant accomplishments she made in the fashion industry, she was the least recognized during her time (Astrum People). This was because she held a low profile and detested a public image. She was born in January 1867 in France and trained as a dressmaker at Talbot, a French fashion house. She started off as a milliner and later opened her millinery shop before embarking on fashion design. Her designs were explicit, since she employed her skills of embroidery and delicate trimming factors which left her customers yearning for more (Laura 26). The embellishments and the ornamentation she used in her fashioned garments were the results of her advanced travels.

At first, Lanvin attended to the fashion demands of children which came as a consequence of the request by the wealthy class to have their daughters adorned in a similar fashion to Marguerite, her daughter. She expanded the volume of her products when she was later asked by consumers to incorporate adult versions in her production to furnish the girls’ and mothers’ lines (Barlett 440). Her aim was not to clothe slim women like her rivals, but women with a larger size of clothes. Through her determination coupled with the fact that she was a shrewd business lady, she was able to open the Lanvin fashion house. This development gave her an opportunity to reach a wider customer base even during the world wars. The house was inherited by her daughter upon Jeanne Lanvin’s death and many years later by her nephew (Laura 3). The Lanvin house is working even today and continues to serve its customers through the provision of explicit outfits, perfumes, and jewelry thanks to the efforts of its founder.

Coco Channel and the Fashion Industry

Coco Chanel is among the celebrities when it comes to the world of fashion. History documented her exceptional capabilities in fashion design work in which she showcased her talent and creativity. She was born in France in 1883 as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (Astrum People). She was the daughter of Albert Chanel, a street vendor, and Eugenie Jeanne Devolle, a laundrywoman. She faced many family difficulties in her early life. Some historians record that after the death of her mother due to bronchitis, her father gave up his responsibilities and she had to be brought up in an orphanage. It is said that it is during her stay at the orphanage that she learned the art of sewing. However, she denied this chronology of events in her early life and stated that upon the death of her mother, her father sailed to America and she moved in with her two strict and affluent aunts (Laura 6). The validity of this part of her story is shaky and holds little truth, since the aunts never existed. Analysts understand her strategy of changing her early life history as a way of masking her extramarital and humble background.

Due to her sewing skills which she had acquired, she secured a job as a seamstress. When off duty she would sing in a cabaret called “La Rotonde” which was the destination of many cavalry officers at that time. It was at that moment when she got the nickname “Coco” which was derived from the lyrics of her favorite song “Qui Qu’a Vu Coco?” (Astrum People). As she grew up to be in her twenties, Coco cherished money and believed that life revolved around it. When she finally met Etienne Balsan in 1905, she firmly held the grip on him, since he was wealthy and willing to spend money on her. She moved to his apartment where she pursued a lavish life without any work. She was convinced that Balsan was the man she wanted for her life although he had his doubts about her.

The spring of 1908 opened a new chapter in the life of Coco Chanel after she met Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel who was Balsan’s friend. He advised her to set up a hat vendor shop with the promise of giving her financial aid. Capel later became the life partner to Mademoiselle Chanel though she still maintained her allegiance to Balsan who initiated her into her career (Astrum People). He offered her his bachelor’s apartment in Malesherbes. While staying in Malesherbes, Coco started making and selling hats with Balsan’s former mistresses being the first customers and later their friends. Her business quickly grew to render the room she lived in small and prompting the acquisition of more space.

After 1910, Coco broke up with Balsan and moved in with Capel. She became a licensed hat maker and managed to establish a shop under the name Chanel Modes on 21 Rue Cambon Street in Paris and another one three years later in Deauville (Laura 10). The stores flocked with customers following the reputation she had earned for making exemplary hats. She had a dream of starting a women’s line in one of her boutiques, but feared that she could be sued for posting unfair competition in the market, since she did not have a license. To get around her problem, she hatched an extraordinary plan that would see her raise money and storm the fashion market in style. She started sewing dresses from jersey fabric; this was only used for making men’s underwear (Astrum People). With the help of her sister and aunt, she was able to advertise and market her products widely within France.

The establishment of the House of Chanel was a landmark achievement for Coco. She came up with unthinkable and unique clothing for the women such as the tracksuits and women’s pants. She had taken a different channel of fashion that not even the competitor designers had thought about (Laura 25). She adjusted her products to suit the needs of her consumers as was the case during the First World War when women needed comfortable clothing to take up roles in the industries and as soldiers in the battlefield. Coco’s influence was not limited to dressing, as it also spilled over to lifestyle. She was the first woman to trim her hair short, her reasons being that it was easier to keep (Astrum People). From that time, women began keeping their hair short – a culture that was thought to be a reservation for men. The saying that kept her going was, “to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Indeed, as with her creativity, she was irreplaceable. The death of Capel in 1919 in a car accident was a big blow to Chanel, since she lost the person who had introduced her to the world of fashion (Vecchi and Chitra 74). She was not allowed to publicly mourn for Capel, since the two were not formerly married. Nevertheless, she was determined to continue the pursuit of her dreams.

The admirable quality in Chanel was that she made use of every opportunity she got to better her fashion business. In 1920 when she met Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russian origin, she introduced Russian fashioned embroidery in clothes to her line. Moreover, the grand duke introduced her to Earnest Beaux, a dealer in perfume. Their interaction provided an avenue for trade in perfume which led to the birth of Chanel No.5 (Astrum People). This perfume is widely sold even in the current fashion shops. It was a product mainly meant for women and was different from the previous types of perfume, since it was a conglomeration of a variety of scents as opposed to that of a single flower. The invention that made her break the odds in fashion was the introduction of the little black dress which she brought as a scheme to fit in the then ensuing war against gender inequality (Laura 33). The little black dress was a decision that revealed the prowess and keen taste of the at that time 44-year-old designer.

It would be unfair to end the history of Coco Chanel and her list of friends without the mention of Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor who was the second Duke of Westminister. She had a love affair with him for 14 years; one of the longest relationships she ever had. The association led to her meeting world leaders, such as Winston Churchill, who described her as an independent, intelligent, determined, and strong woman (Barlett 442). He also linked these qualities to her success, as they helped her to get a place in the international realm of business. World War II brought Coco’s thriving business to a stalemate. She closed her shops and left Paris. At the end of World War in 1944, Chanel was arrested for having a love affair with Friedrich Schellenberg who was a German soldier commander (Astrum People). Although she was shortly released after that, she left France for Switzerland where she sought asylum for ten years.

When she made a comeback into the fashion industry upon arriving in Paris, she was met with lots of changes that made the market a bit different. First, the number of designers had significantly increased after the Second World War and this brought upon competition (Laura 34). Secondly, there was mounting pressure from the public to produce a new design. Nonetheless, she wittily met these challenges and marketed the products that had failed in Paris abroad, especially in America, and the response was remarkable. The little black dress attracted a broader customer base than ever before. She went ahead to introduce the Pink Chanel Suit that was worn by the wife to President John F. Kennedy on the day of his assassination (Astrum People). Mrs. Kennedy branded the dress a symbol to commemorate her husband’s death and as an iconic design of fashion. Coco Chanel continued to serve the needs of the fashion industry with precision and creativity until her death on January 10, 1971, in a hotel room opposite the House of Channel. She is remembered as the woman who changed the perception of fashion through her innovations which she never waited to implement.

Coco Chanel: A Motivation for Working in Fashion Industry

Looking at this incredible success story, one may be tempted to believe that she had a smooth ride in the fashion industry. A closer look at her sentiments and the comments by those who interacted with her reveals more than meets the eye. Like every other young person, Coco Chanel had dreams for her life and the only difference was that she stopped at nothing to achieve those (Astrum People). Despite her humble background, she believed that she could lead a life of opulence. Her move to start off a hat making business carried her to the wealthy class. With determination, originality, and hard work she stayed achieved remarkable heights (Laura 23). I am inspired by her story and acknowledge the vitality of focus and purpose in the realization of my dreams. Currently working in the fashion industry, I am convinced that peculiarity will keep me above my competitors just like it did for Coco Channel.

Another admirable trait in Coco was her spirit of resilience. She was disappointed on several occasions, but still had the strength to bounce back. The death of her mother from bronchitis and the fleeing of her father from responsibility was enough to make her ply the route of despair (Astrum People). Instead, she used the opportunity to learn sewing, an art that would later open the world to her. Capel’s death shook her to the point of almost giving up her designing work. However, through it emerged the idea of black dresses which translated to the mastermind of the little black dress, a product sold widely beyond the confines of France or even Europe. After the Second World War when the market weather was getting unbearable and her products were less demanded on the local level, she took a leap to the international platform. This move saw her Little Black Dress and the Pink Chanel Suit hold iconic design positions in world fashion (Barlett 441). Learning from her, I have been able to brave the seasons within the fashion industry when it vividly seems that the returns are not worth the try.

Coco was opportunistic. She grabbed every chance she got to enhance her fashion designs. When Capel floated to her the idea of hat making, she did not stop to think of the pros and cons of engaging in the business. Instead, she implemented it and the results were impressive (Astrum People). Her meeting with Ernest Beaux saw the encroachment of perfume into her package and the branding of Chanel No.5. It also led to the inclusion of the Russian designs in the line of her dresses as well as securing a new market. Finally, her interaction with world leaders like Winston Churchill and Richard Arthur enlarged her sphere of business and influence connections to the international status. She enthusiastically learned the tastes of American and English people and incorporated the findings into her designs (Laura 27). Indeed, every opportunity counts, but only to those that identify them and make meaningful use of them. That is part of what I appreciate about Coco Chanel and this lesson has proved handy in the course of my business tours and when interacting with customers. I am always on the lookout for every single opportunity.

Creativity takes center stage in the achievements made by Coco Chanel. It was this quality that facilitated the showcase of her exceptional abilities in design. She became the first dressmaker to use jersey fabric in making her clothes (Astrum People). It was through this that she made a breakthrough into the dressmaking business despite not having a license. She was also the first lady to keep short hair a trend that was later taken up by many women who lived during her time. The Little Black Dress and Chanel No.5 were outstanding innovations that kept her one step in front of her competitors. During her career, she daily addressed the needs of her customers uniquely. That was the reason behind the tracksuits and female pants that were unthinkable at that time (Laura 12). Her long-surviving fame was pegged on the intricate prowess with which she handled the design matters. I can attest to the fact that peculiarity is a virtue that keeps the business going in the fashion industry. My objective is to always provide products extraordinarily.

In spite of the myriad of achievements made by Coco Chanel, she also had some weaknesses that prompted some of her failures. She dated several men, but did not settle down with any of them to create a family (Astrum People). This trend continued until she started a relationship with Friedrich Schellenberg, a German soldier, during World War II. Unfortunately for her, this was interpreted as a form of betrayal as it constituted an alliance with the enemy. She was arrested and jailed though released only a few hours later. This episode tainted the reputation she had spent many years on building. Also, she lost the trust of the French government and the residents of Paris, a situation that instigated her relocation to Switzerland. During her prime age, she confessed to having been leading a lonely life filled with boredom (Laura 33). Otherwise, Coco Chanel remains the mastermind of fashion design and is one of the celebrity women I am most inspired by.

Modern Day Fashion Industry

Nowadays, the fashion industry has registered significant changes that have seen it transform from a domain of a few in cities like Paris to a business enterprise for every merchant that cherishes fashion. Multiple events such as migration and the world wars led to the population distribution of immigrants streaming in with new ideas that shifted the design norms in America, Europe, and other parts of the world (Barlett 429). The central concept behind fashion design has been and still is “satisfying the desires of the consumers.” In a bid to ensure that the market demands are met at the minimum costs, the manufacturing industries have adopted wholesale and retail roles for their products (Vecchi and Chitra 262). Similarly, designers have also ventured into manufacturing their clothing. Notably, this has been the reason behind the blooming of several fashion stores with various commodities with entirely peculiar fashion styles and prices.

A remarkable move by the modern fashion industry is the segregation of their stores to offer specific products. With a narrow range of goods to deal with, the industry has worked to ensure quality remains to be the priority. The work of coming up with the designs, sketching them, sewing them into shape, and adding some embroidery has been cut out for different segments of the manufacturing chain contrary to the previous norm where an individual was to do the entire work (Vecchi and Chitra 73). Propelled by the need for further specialization, the industry has developed various companies and stores that deal in particular products, for example, dresses only, suits only, or even children wear. Having a refined purpose has helped ensure the variety and catering for every consumer’s need.

Management is a core aspect of any company or institution that determines how long it will stand. The companies dealing in a fashion, such as Nordstrom, Bloomberg, and Calvin Klein among others, have established an organizational model of management (Vecchi and Chitra 200). The scheme has brought business professionals on board who, in spite of not having skills in design, have rolled out programs that have boosted the sales of the companies. Some of the programs undertaken by these fashion and apparel companies include the opening of outlet stores and manufacturing plants in areas with less expensive labor and those having a myriad of resources in terms or raw material and infrastructure for exploitation (Laura 28). Moreover, one must notice that because of these professionals, the proprietors of the companies have also stayed informed of the market dynamics and the necessary adjustments to brave the same.

With more workers joining the fashion industry, it is important to have their welfare taken care of. A large number of employees get absorbed annually into the fashion industry. Salaries, offs, working conditions, and compensations should always be fair in an ideal and mutually-beneficial working environment (Vecchi and Chitra 355). In pursuit of this agendum, unions such as the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, the Union of Needletrades, the Industrial and Textile Employees, and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union have emerged and registered the workers. These organizations apart from leveling complaints about the working conditions on behalf of their members also see into the investment programs that can benefit the workers. Members of these unions have been significantly more motivated and have taken up their duties with a lot of enthusiasm. On the other hand, the employers have been kept in check and are out to ensure their employees receive the best kind of treatment while at work.

Another milestone in the modern fashion industry is the introduction of the use of information technology. Advertisements, sales, and communication with the consumers are now done online. This is a fact that has increased the scope of the market for these industries by defying the geographical barriers (Barlett 442). The multiple social media platforms have provided an easy way to interact with the customers and get to know their feedback and even incorporate some of their suggestions as a move towards improving service provision. Information technology has also enhanced the designing process due to its accuracy in the cutting of material and the inscription of shapes, hence, the production of more refined products. Data keeping and follow-up have been stepped up through the computer systems, therefore, making operations in the industry more transparent (Vecchi and Chitra 264). Evidently, the modern industry has embraced changes that have indeed transformed the face of fashion.

Behind the Scenes of Fashion Shows

A fashion show can be described as an event during which collections of the newest models of fashion and design are brought on display before an audience. Models dressed in the auspicious designs catwalk the stage of the showroom leaving the retailers with nothing less than an ardent desire to carry the beautiful products home (Chen et al. 345). These seasonal events are organized by designers as a showcase for their prowess and creativity in design and style. People travel thousands of miles just to attend these occasions. There is more to these shows than meets the eye. Why would the designers go to the extent of spending a lot of money to organize something that is more of an entertainment event instead of a business oriented one? Why would people travel all the way to attend such events? Answering these questions needs an exploration of what happens behind the scenes during such shows.

To the designers, the events play a significant role in the advertisement of the new trends they have for the fashion market. That is contrary to the other means of advertisement that do not involve getting in touch with the consumers, talking to them, and promoting the product to the best of one’s ability (Vecchi and Chitra 650). Journalists and the media also add to the tune of advertisement through the inclusion of enticing pieces of information. For every design seen on stage, there is always a variety of the same at the backstage. Fortunately for these products, there is always bargaining. Due to the large numbers of people that attend these events, there are many interested wealthy merchants and industrialists and the products displayed receive recognition and admiration across all borders. Additionally, the show is put on for pride reasons and identification with the event, as the rich are always willing to pay anything just to have the new designs sold to them (Chen et al. 346). All those in attendance need to book their tickets in advance and the money collected always finds it way to the organizing designer’s account. Unfortunately, the designs do not fit everyone as they do the models. This is a tactic of the designers, as they carefully pick every aspect of the clothes to bring out the best in the products.

It is worth noting that the fashion shows can be categorized as “haute couture” and “ready to wear” shows. Haute couture shows constitute the epitome of fashion and trends brought forth by the designers way ahead of what is likely to be in the market. In most cases, the designs on display are an imagination of an artist who is trying to preempt the future of fashion (Chen et al. 345). Paris is given tribute for hosting such shows, it being the seat of the meticulous designers. The show pieces could take up to five years to reach the consumer. These shows play the role of sparking the curiosity and throwing the audience into a limbo of anticipation which is part of the objectives of this type of entertainment. On the other hand, the ready to wear shows have products that are already in the stores (Vecchi and Chitra 198). They give the audience a chance to know what to expect from the designers and see them worn by a few individuals. These constitute the most famous shows today.

Apart from the show business, some retailers attend the occasions to buy the clothes for their shops. Subsequently, businesspeople tend to visit the designer’s shop after the show to order the newly available products. It is an added advantage to the new designers who have not yet received recognition in the world of fashion (Chen et al. 348). These shows do not only have an impact on those who attends them, but also those seated in the comfort of their homes watching. Moved by the appealing designs and styles of clothing, cosmetics, sunglasses, and other accessories, people will find their way to the market to obtain a piece. Though fashion shows may seem expensive, they are in the long run cheaper to the designers who organize them because they play the crucial role in setting up a market for the goods in waiting.


Fashion is an original idea and its pursuit has been relentless during the larger part of its existance. Beginning from the 19th century, the phrase “how do I look?” has been making a lot of sense. With the aim of giving the best to fashion designs and styles, prolific men and women who gave fashion a new face emerged. These included Charles Friedrich Worth, Jeanne Lanvin, Paul Poiret, and Coco Chanel. Together they made the 20th century the golden age in the history of fashion and Paris the epicenter of lavish design and style. Fashion houses with their names and new trends emerged. Just to mention a few: Worth is dubbed the father of fashion, since he was the first to open a house that officially took part in the mass production of garments. Lanvin, the reserved creative and artistic designer, changed the wardrobes of women and children of her time and also pioneered the Paris fashion shows, and Poiret came up with the orientalist ideology and is deemed the author of modern fashion. Coco Chanel happens to be the most outstanding of them all. With the uniqueness of her needle and peculiarity of her imaginations, she took fashion to the edge of bliss. She created the little black dress and Chanel No.5, products which are people’s favorites even today, so many years after her demise. Her determination, hard work, and resilience are a form of inspiration to the aspiring designers in the field of fashion.

The fashion industry has also had a remarkable impact on the world’s economy making it an important area to look at in forecasting the global economic trends. It was significant in the growth of industries by acting as a market for their textile products and as the producer of worker garments. Today, international fashion companies have served as channels through which other investors have identified prospective destinations bringing a smile to the face of the hosting governments. Furthermore, a wide range of professionals has been able to secure sustainable employment in the fashion industry. Considering these factors, the apparel and fashion industry is a force to reckon with when it comes to analyzing the world’s economic status.

In the modern era of fashion, an advertisement via the print and the media is not just adequate for the industry. The rolling out of fashion shows has rejuvenated the final sales of designers and other retailers. The shows have been exploited by the designers to offer a route map for fashion to indicate the next level to be conquered by the industry. Despite the shows looking expensive, the designers always stand to gain more than they put into the exercise. Everybody loves to look gorgeous and this is the undying endeavor of the fashion industry – to meet the needs of the consumers at their level and comfort. Though the people have changed, the aim of the fashion industry has remained providing the best products available at the time.

Works Cited

“Coco Chanel Biography: The Woman Who Changed the World of Fashion.” Astrum People 19 Feb. 2017,

Barlett, Djurdja. “Glitz and Restraint – Paris Haute Couture on Display.” Fashion Theory, vol. 18, no. 4, 2014, pp. 427-446.

Chen, Xiao Mei, Bo Lin Wu, and Yun Mur. “Research on Particularly of Stage Art Design in the Fashion Show.” Advanced Materials Research, vol. 1048, pp. 345-348.

M, Laura. Biography of Coco Chanel. San Francisco, Calif.: Hyperlink, 2012.

Vecchi, Alessandra, and Chitra, Buckley. Handbook of Research on Global Fashion Management and Merchandising. Hershey: Business Science Reference, 2016.

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