How fashion mirrors the social and political events of their time

Fashion, used to express ones individuality, must always originate from current social and political news.

This became more apparent for many in 2020, as fashion took an unpredicted turn into the priority of comfort, masks, and other effects of self isolation. But this pattern of the fashion industry always mirroring the current world environment has always existed.

Here are 4 forever infamous dresses of the past century that have been brought into existence from the power of society and political change.


The Chanel suit remains a classic Chanel piece to this day, but when it was gained it's popularity in the 30's, it changed societies perception of women in the world of work forever. Coco Chanel's clothing first received recognition when she created lightweight designs that allowed women to dress for their own comfort and move on from the heavy layered fabric of the Belle Epoque. The Chanel suit - a knee length skirt and a boxy suit, was feminized with contrast trim and gold buttons to create a powerful yet gentle appearance.


The beginning of the 20th century was full of new technological advancements and new scientific knowledge. Fashion reflected this in it's own way, inventing new construction techniques of the garments to show on runways. In 1909, Spanish designer Mariano Fortuni created the intricate silk pleating that allowed him to create the ancient greek inspired flowy dresses. The lightweight dresses allowed freedom of movement and an optimistic message of further radical changes to come in the following decades.


Still impacted by post-war in the 60's, the youth of London were eager for something new and bright. Mary Quant, inspired by Andre Courreges, took the newly popular short skirt and made it even shorter. The youthful style became instantly popular globally, and suggested a new and bright reform socially, to move on from the aftermath of the war.


The little black dress rose to fame when the Givenchy muse Audrey Hepburn first wore it in the iconic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Since then, the dress has been reinterpreted and designed hundreds of times, but the simplicity of the original high neck dress has remained in popularity to this day. This timeless dress is a fashion garment that has changed the industry forever, as it is known for it's versatility of ways to wear it, whether dressing it down for a brunch, or creating an elegant look to wear for a night out.

These are just a few of the hundreds of garments that have been influenced by their time, and changed their future within the fashion world. Although many famous outfits have been deemed iconic because of their frequent celebrity presence or their memorable looks, many times their origin has a deeper root that has nothing to do with fashion and more of the political situation of their time.

Because we have recently experienced a major change within society ourselves, in many ways fashion has shifted as well. An example of this would be an introduction to avant garde streetwear, impacted by people's growing creativity and confidence through protests for justice and the brutal fight for political change; or masks: a requirement due to COVID but recently made more and more into fashion.

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