I have now come to the end of Critical and Contextual Studies in relation to Contour Fashion. Overall, I have found the experience of CCS rather interesting. Learning about several different topics in lectures has given me a deeper insight into fashion history. In particular, my favourite topic had to be about the Fashion Revival. I found it really interesting learning about historical fashions and how certain fashions come about, and although we may not realise it, many aspects of the older fashions are still incorporated into fashions of today. The topics we learnt about are topics I would not usually consider thinking about, but now I have some knowledge on the topics, I am sure that I will relate back to them in other aspects of my work, and all throughout my time at university.
The primary purpose of a corset is to create an hourglass figure in order to enhance a woman’s curves to make her appear more feminine. The corset as we know it today, is worn as an erotic piece of lingerie, which is worn to sexually attract men. It is seen as a luxury item due to being more expensive than other forms of lingerie.
However, centuries ago when the corset was first produced, it’s main function was not to be worn as a piece of lingerie; it was worn to create an exaggerated version of the female figure, making women appear more attractive to men. In Europe, the corset first became popular in the 16th Century and its’ popularity increased during the Victorian Era, although during these times it was known as a ‘stay’ and not a corset.
They were primarily designed for women who wanted to alter their body shape in some way and so have always been seen as a garment which is only suitable for women. However, as time went on it became for common for men to wear corsets. In the 19th Century it became very popular for cavalry in England, France and Germany to wear corsets under their uniform in order to promote proper posture whilst on horseback, and to prevent bruising of the kidneys as they were galloping along on the horses.
In today’s society, corsets are not as popular as they used to be due to the modern developments and advancements in shapewear, which are more practical and comfortable than wearing a corset. Modern corsets are also often worn as outerwear, compared to in earlier centuries when they were worn solely as underwear with a clear purpose of enhancing the female silhouette.
Nowadays, it is also very common for male cross-dressers to wear corsets nowadays so that they can exaggerate the female waist to make them appear more feminine.
This is all suggesting that over time, the corset has become more of an accessory for women in particular, suggesting they have become more gender specific as times have changed.
 – Agent Provocateur (2015) Corsets & Basques by Agent Provocateur – Stevie Corset. Available at: http://www.agentprovocateur.com/gb_en/stevie-corset-black (Accessed: 11 December 2015).
 – The Lingerie Addict (2014) Why do people wear Corsets?. Available at: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2014/05/people-wear-corsets.html (Accessed: 11 December 2015).
 – Marquise (no date) A Short History of The Corset. Available at: http://www.marquise.de/en/themes/korsett/korsett.shtml (Accessed: 11 December 2015).
 – Pintrest (2013) The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Corset. Available at: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/572590540095173070/ (Accessed: 11 December 2015).
 – C, S. (2014) A Brief History Of Men Wearing Corsets. Available at: https://timeless-trends.com/corset-blog/13_A-brief-history-of-men-wearing-corsets.html (Accessed: 15 December 2015).
 – Wikipedia (2015) ‘History of Corsets’, in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_corsets (Accessed: 11 December 2015).
In this blog post I’m going to attempt to find out where my jeans actually came from, before I found them hanging in my local Topshop.
These jeans were purchased from Topshop and are called ‘MOTO Sulphur Ripped Joni Jeans’ which cost me around £38.
I started off by looking at the care label inside them, which told me the jeans were made in Turkey and are made from 71% Cotton, 26% Polyester and 3% Elastane.
Therefore, as Cotton has the most fibre content in my jeans, I will start off by looking at where the Cotton originally comes from, as well as how it is produced.
After researching into Cotton production, I found that the leading Cotton-growing countries include China, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Turkey.
As Cotton is popularly grown in Turkey, as well as my jeans being made there, this could potentially mean that maybe most of the both the production and manufacture processes for my jeans occurred in Turkey; perhaps to save shipping and transportation costs.
This is backed up by a statement on the Arcadia Group website; the group which Topshop is owned by. They stated ‘We are all familiar with the concept of food miles; the distance ingredients have travelled from farmer to fork. Now we are extending this concept to clothes miles, removing unnecessary shipping of goods between source and point of sale.'
Therefore by both sourcing the materials and manufacturing the products in the same country; Turkey in this instance. Then the shipping is being reduced, therefore reducing the costs to both the company, and the environment in terms of pollution. The materials and the manufacturing process occurs in the same country, which then just leaves the transportation to the UK for them to appear in my local Topshop. This makes it even more likely that the Cotton used for my jeans was grown in Turkey, as well as the jeans being made in Turkey.
 – Topshop (2015) MOTO Sulphur Ripped Joni Jeans. Available at: http://www.topshop.com/en/tsuk/product/clothing-427/jeans-446/joni-super-high-waisted-jeans-1108/moto-sulphur-ripped-joni-jeans-4590607?bi=20&ps=20 (Accessed: 27 November 2015).
 – Label inside waistband of the jeans – image taken by myself.
 – Cotton Counts (no date) The Story of Cotton- where Cotton grows. Available at: https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm (Accessed: 27 November 2015).
 – Arcadia Group (2015) Transport & Logistics / Arcadia Group. Available at: https://www.arcadiagroup.co.uk/fashionfootprint/our-environment/transport (Accessed: 27 November 2015).
H&M is a popular high-street store which provides consumers with fashionable garments at affordable prices. Within this particular blog post, I will be looking into the sustainability of H&M and their ethical practices.
“At H&M, we offer fashion at great value – but not at any price. We want to make conscious choices easy and accessible for everyone. That’s why we keep working hard every day to make our products and the entire fashion industry more sustainable – from the cotton eld to giving clothes that you no longer want or need a new life.”
H&M – Sustainability Report 2014 – 2014 http://sustainability.hm.com/content/dam/hm/about/documents/en/CSR/reports/Conscious%20Actions%20Highlights%202014_en.pdf
Therefore, H&M have set themselves seven commitments as a mission to help make their products more sustainable, both economically and environmentally. They include…
“OUR SEVEN COMMITMENTS;
1. Provide fashion for conscious customers 2. Choose and reward responsible partners 3. Be ethical
4. Be climate smart
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle
6. Use natural resources responsibly
7. Strengthen communities.”
H&M – Sustainability Report 2014 – 2014.
When considering commitment 2, H&M also have very high standards in relation to the working conditions of their suppliers. With their products being made in various different countries; such as India and Bangladesh, there is an increased risk of the workers’ human rights being violated. Therefore H&M put in place several measures in order to ensure they monitor this. These measures include conducting thousands of unannounced factory audits each year and educating the workers themselves about their own rights. It’s also known that H&M work with their suppliers in order to agree on pay structures which enable the workers to earn a decent living wage, and get paid fairly for any overtime, all which must be within legal limits. However, when looking at the wages of workers in Bangladesh, the pay they receive is still less than the wage which the trade union supported that workers must be paid.
Commitment 5 can clearly be seen in most stores of H&M through the use of the recycling boxes which are used to collect unwanted clothes. The clothes are then sorted and either recycled or reused. Most of the unwanted garments are used to produce recycled Cotton by grinding them into fibres, spinning them into new yarns and then weaving them into new fabrics to produce brand new products. In 2014, the first products were made using recycled Cotton, but only 20% of the entire fibre content was recycled Cotton. They achieved this by collecting over 7,600 tonnes of unwanted clothes; that is equivalent to the same amount of fabric used in more than 38 million t-shirts.
In relation to commitment 6, H&M introduced their ‘Conscious’ collection; a clothing range specifically for sustainable fashion and since this they have became very well known for their increasing use of organic Cotton, due to their aim that 100% of the Cotton used in their Conscious collection will be from more sustainably sourced by 2020. It takes a huge amount of water to grow cotton; approximately 8,500 litres for a single pair of jeans, and many pesticides are often used in order to improve their harvest. By sourcing their Cotton sustainably it means that H&M have to pay more for it, but it has a more positive impact on the environment as no chemical pesticides or fertilisers are used. This means they cannot enter into the waterways and pollute them, therefore helping to conserve waterways and allow people to have access to safe drinking water. Since the launch of the ‘Conscious’ collection and working towards increasing their use of organic Cotton, has led to them becoming one of the leading users of organic Cotton in the world.
 – H&M (2015) Working Conditions. Available at: http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/responsible-partners/working-conditions.html (Accessed: 16 November 2015).
 – Fashion United (2014) H&M’s struggle for ethical and sustainable fashion. Available at: https://fashionunited.uk/v1/fashion/hams-struggle-for-ethical-and-sustainable-fashion/2014041413340 (Accessed: 16 November 2015).
 – Persson, K.-J., Ceo, K.-J. and Persson (2015) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Available at: http://sustainability.hm.com/content/dam/hm/about/documents/en/CSR/reports/Conscious%20Actions%20Highlights%202014_en.pdf (Accessed: 16 November 2015).
 – H&M (2015) Cotton. Available at: http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/conscious-fashion/more-sustainable-materials/cotton.html (Accessed: 16 November 2015).
The outfit I chose to use to investigate into the origins of a trend was from the Balmain collection for H&M which I found in the November 2015 edition of Elle magazine. I chose this outfit mainly because the bright colours from the advertisement in the magazine really caught my attention, and attracted me to the page. I also chose it because it has multiple features which could be revivals from years ago, therefore being a very suitable outfit for this post.
One of the first features of the outfit which could have possibly been a fashion revival was the ruched, puffy sleeves. These could have been a revival from the style of Liberty Dresses which were around during the Mediaeval time, as these compromised of long sleeved, draped dresses with a large amount of hand embroidery. Therefore, suggesting that the Red skirt included on the outfit could also be a revival from the fashions and trends around at this time, as many of the dresses were draped dresses, and in the 1930’s Mediaeval drapery was very common. It could have also been a revival from the Silver Lamé of the 1970’s, as this was a simple wrap-around dress, similar to the style shown on the outfit from the Balmain collection.
The high-neck of the pink blouse on the outfit, could have been influenced by the Edwardian revival which also occurred in the 1970’s. Many of the outfits at this time consisted of high-neck designs, which may be where the inspiration for this design came from.
All of these design elements are suggesting that aspects from both the Mediaeval and Edwardian times are being revived in today’s current fashions, suggesting that once a certain style becomes outdated and unpopular, it is usually updated and revived many years later, to start the fashion off again but in a more modern and trendy way.
After further looking into the Balmain collection, the main colours consist of greens, pinks, reds, yellows, purples and monochromes, with a high amount of gold detailing.
This could therefore be suggesting that these colours are going to be popular on the high-street for the AW15/16 season. This is supported by WGSN colour trends, for both men and women, which show the colour palettes for the coming seasons.
I also noticed that many of the products that have been designed for the Balmain collection are highly decorative pieces. The decorative components include sequins, beading and printing, along with various patterns and textures. As well as this, many of the products have been styled with chunky accessories which stand out and make a statement, with them being mostly gold in colour. The chunky accessories and wide belts in particular could have been a revival from the 1950’s in which girls wore wide belts and styled them with the ‘New Look’ which was designed by Christian Dior. The ‘New Look’ consisted of a tight blouse with a full skirt. Wide belts were also a popular fashion accessory in the 1980’s and therefore could be another fashion revival which is making a come back in the A/W 15/16 season.
Many of the tailored products have also enhanced the shoulders, perhaps through the use of shoulder pads. The use of shoulder pads was very popular during the 1970’s and the 1980’s when ‘power dressing’ came around. Women started to become more powerful so wore shoulder pads in order to show this. Therefore, the use of shoulder pads in the Balmain collection could be a revival from the 80’s, and may have been used to symbolise the power and status of the collection designer, Olivier Rousteing.
Some outfits from the Balmain collection also consist of products in which the fabric has been pleated very finely.
Therefore the influence of Mariano Fortuny could have been included in the Balmain collection, through the use of the pleating. Fortuny’s silk dresses consisted of very fine permanent pleats that are very similar to the ones in the Balmain collection. They used to be weighted with murano glass beads in order to hold the pleats in place.
- Shauna Wyatt. (2015). Outfit from Balmain collection at H&M. ELLE Magazine. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
- Caroline Leaper. (2015).Everything You Need To Know About The Balmain x H&M Collaboration. Marie Claire Online. http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550623/balmain-x-h-m-the-balmain-h-and-m-collaboration-in-pictures.html#index=2. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
- WGSN. (2015). Colour A/W 15/16. http://www.wgsn.com/content/reports/#/Colour/w/A_W_15_16/19736. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
- Leaper, C. (2015). Marie Claire. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550623/balmain-x-h-m-the-balmain-h-and-m-collaboration-in-pictures.html#index=2&uiSynced=true
- Lesley Cresswell. (2001). Textiles at the Cutting Edge. 2nd Edition. Forbes Publications Ltd. Page 126.
- (2015). Grazia Daily. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from http://www.graziadaily.co.uk/fashion/trends/80s-autumn-winter-2015-trends-20150749464 .
- Lepore, M. (2014). Levo. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from http://www.levo.com/articles/fashion/power-suit-fashion-women
- Mower, S. (2015). Vogue. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from http://www.vogue.com/fashion-week-review/12037796/balmain-fall-2015-rtw/
- Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2001). Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2001.702a
Hello, I’m Shauna. I’m 18 years old, and am currently studying Contour Fashion at De Montfort University, Leicester. I was born in Leicester, and live in a small town called Lutterworth, which is about 13 miles away.
I have created this blog, as part of my CONF1100 Complete Contour Fashion Studies; Critical and Contextual Studies. I will use it to document the stages of my learning throughout my CCS project, including sources of my research and several important topics related to fashion (e.g. Origins of a trend, ethical issues, global fashion and gendered fashion across cultures.) I will also use it to reflect on my experiences of contextual studies and on how I think my CCS project has gone.
Before starting university, I studied my A-Levels at Lutterworth College, in which my chosen subjects were Textiles, Business Studies and Psychology.
Fashion has always been a subject which interests me, and specifically lingerie really inspires me, which is why I chose to study Contour Fashion at degree level. Throughout my time at university, I want to extend and deepen my knowledge as much as possible, and gain as much experience within the industry through participating in live projects, to maximise my chances of employment after I graduate. In 5 years’ time, I hope see myself in a full time job as a lingerie designer, and would also like to eventually set up my own lingerie brand in which I would sell my own designs.
Victoria’s Secret and La Perla in particular are both brands which really inspire me. The delicate lace fabrics, and intimate styles put forward by both brands really make them unique and stand out. Lace is one of my favourite fabrics, and I think this may be why I am interested in these brands especially.
One of my favourite lingerie designers is Damaris Evans. She also includes a lot of delicate fabrics in her designs, such as lace, and the styles of her products are quite unusual and decorative. This really inspires me to design products which differ from the standard lingerie available on the high-street, so that my products stand out, but are also seen as aesthetically pleasing whilst still meeting the requirements of the market and being practical for regular wear.