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History of American Fashion Summary & Analysis

The Long Road to the Closet

Fashion doesn’t simply consist of the clothes we pick out of our closets in the morning. That daily decision only constitutes the last step of a much larger process, one that involves federal trade agreements, foreign sweatshops, multi-billion-dollar businesses, celebrities on red carpets, and sophisticated advertising campaigns. 

Fashion emerges out of pattern-making Americans Outfits and design, the cultivation and production of raw materials, the manufacturing process, and the distribution of the finished product. Along the way, fashion generates a publicity blitz that inundates men and women of all ages, constantly conveying cultural standards of beauty and generating new trends—or old trends re-worked and recycled to become new again—that become the popularly coveted “look” of a decade or a generation.

So, how did all of this begin? 

Apparel manufacturing and trendsetting long predated the European colonization of North America. When English settlers came to American shores, they brought their fashions with them, and continued to import halloween jacket manufactured textiles for several generations.

Once the clothes were made, they needed to be cleaned. So, Black women in the South and Chinese families in the West laundered clothes for a living. In urban centers like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago, immigrants toiled through 12-hour days in sweatshops, or sewed piecework at home in crowded tenements. 

Manufacturers transported the finished products to department stores, which revolutionized the American retail scene in the late 19th century. These stores hired attractive white sales clerks to stand at immaculate glass display cases to help sell their products to customers. For those Americans who didn’t live in or near cities, the stores devised mail-order catalogs as a means of showcasing their wares to customers and facilitating the purchasing process. Women’s fashion magazines published the latest dress patterns and styles from Europe, and began to create a niche for themselves by marketing cosmetics and accessories that claimed to offer subscribers allure, sophistication, and youthfulness.

Radio, print, and billboard advertisements Halloween party jacket showcased the newest fashion trends and textile innovations to customers during the roaring 1920s. By that time, for the first time, most Americans lived in cities, exposing them to an ever-widening array of marketing schemes and public displays of fashion in crowded urban streets. 

Meanwhile, underlying racial tensions in American life manifested themselves in the rebellious fashions of minority groups like the zoot-suited Black and Latino men of Harlem and Los Angeles. Other minorities asserted their identity as American citizens and patriots by donning military uniforms and fighting for their country.

Cold War Consumerism

After the war, veterans retained their medals and insignias as records of their service, but most American men quickly exchanged their khaki uniforms for either the white-collar suits of the middle class or the blue-collar uniforms of the working class. 

Ahsan Khan
Ahsan Khan
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