Designer Clothes


Figure 1.--.

The 1970s were the era of the designer. Teenagers no longer wanted just jeans, they demanded designer jeans. The 70s were also a time of intense fashion experimentation, coming at a point when the largest growth in the number of people buying fashions occurred and manufacturers tried desperately to capture the one-third of the Americanm buying public that was spending two-thirds of the fashion money. Toward the end of the decade, after years of following the tightly fitted clothing styles of Milan and Paris, there was a dramatic turnaround as a number of European designers and manufacturers began biting off pieces of the American style of dress. Brooks Brothers’ baggy garments and button-down shirts, both indigenously American, began to be produced in European versions, for Europeans had suddenly become attracted to the looser, more comfortable style of dress and were eschewing the tight-fitting silhouette they had embraced in the past.

Chronology

The 1970s were the era of the designer. The 70s were also a time of intense fashion experimentation, coming at a point when the largest growth in the number of people buying fashions occurred and manufacturers tried desperately to capture the one-third of the Americanm buying public that was spending two-thirds of the fashion money.

Jeans

Teenagers no longer wanted just jeans, they demanded designer jeans.

Baggy Styling

Toward the end of the 1970s, after years of following the tightly fitted clothing styles of Milan and Paris, there was a dramatic turnaround as a number of European designers and manufacturers began biting off pieces of the American style of dress. Brooks Brothers’ baggy garments and button-down shirts, both indigenously American, began to be produced in European versions, for Europeans had suddenly become attracted to the looser, more comfortable style of dress and were eschewing the tight-fitting silhouette they had embraced in the past.

Changing Attitudes

A HBC reader writes, "When I was a kid, we wouldn't have cared about designers. Instead, kids then might beg for something like a Peanuts sweatshirt or for their parents to buy them the inscribed T-shirt or cap of a youth group like the YMCA. I think that the first step toward having designer labels for children was when Addidas sneakers became popular in the early 1970s, followed by other brands of sneakers. (I remember as a teenager hearing people in the early 1970s talking about how embarassing it would be to be seen in the kind of sneakers with solid-color canvas tops which had been practically the only choice a few years earlier.) Before the 1970s, Keds was one of the only name-brands of sneakers, but it had no special prestige for a child, and the Keds brand was so widespread that people used "keds" as a generic term for sneakers. (A child in the 1960s might also have owned Levi brand jeans and called bluejeans "levis" but wouldn't have attached prestige to the brand name.) I remember reading an article in Time or Newsweek in the late 1970s called "Kiddie Couture" about how leading designers had begun making clothing for children. A lot of people then were appalled by the idea of designer labels for children. Before the 1970s, children seemed to be more concerned about name brands when it came to things like toys or sports equipment. Now one of the arguments for dress codes or school uniforms is that kids won't feel obligated to buy expensive designer clothing. In contrast, when many schools got rid of dress codes in the early 1970s, some people may have wanted to get rid of dress codes so they could wear cheaper clothing than what met the dress code."







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Created: 11:54 PM 10/27/2005
Last updated: 11:54 PM 10/27/2005