The Wave of Fashion Weeks: 1903-2021
The year 2021 has brought along a great deal of curiosity for people all across the globe, with the health advancements and vaccine updates for COVID-19. People are hoping to have a peaceful time this year with minimum adversities, especially fashion enthusiasts since the news of New York Fashion Week is winding around.
One of the four most awaited fashion weeks in the World, The New York Fashion Week concluded in February 2021 and as expected it was a low key affair due to COVID. Usually, Fashion weeks are one of the best opportunities for designers to showcase their work and talent to the World. As rightly said by Lauren Hutton, “Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers and style is what you choose.” Let’s take a tour into the history of fashion weeks – how they came to be in early 20th century and the ensuing wave of fashion weeks.
The concept of fashion show was first witnessed in 1903, when Ehrich Brothers, a shop in New York city thought of luring middle-class women into their store through a parade of women walking in their clothing. As the years passed, retailers and clothing brands realised that it was a great idea for marketing clothes among common people. By 1920, the term “défilés de mode”, which means “fashion parades” was modified to fashion shows and almost every store in New York was organizing it.
A turning point came in the fashion industry during World War II, when designers initiated the concept of “fashion week”, in order to provide an alternative to designers who were not able to provide their work to fashion buyers due to travelling restrictions. In 1943, the first ever fashion week known by the name of, “New York Fashion Week” was organized.
Later, the popularity grew so fast that by 1950, people had to get license issued to organize such shows and have live models. The scale at which these fashion shows were organized varied from a crowd of 100-200 people at a department store during lunchtime to a large crowd of thousands at a well-organized venue. Each fashion show had a different theme and purpose associated with it, according to which, the clothes and commentary were prepared.
Soon, the fashion wave started hitting other parts of World with time. In 1958, the Italian Chamber of Commerce had founded the Milan Fashion Week. In 1973, the first Paris Fashion Week was organized under the French Fashion Federation and in 1984, the London Fashion Week was organized by the British Fashion Council. The “Big Four” were soon known to all and the trend had started.
Fashion weeks and shows are now a common happening in the fashion industry as almost each country has its own version of it, to promote their designers at a larger level.