The role of apparel in history: Exhibition
The proposed exhibit will be concentrated on the counterculture fashion and the role of patches in the counterculture. We may think that we are innovative and there has never been anything more exciting than our ideas, but we would be ultimately wrong thinking so. The counterculture has always been there, and I want to tell people about its fascinating past. I will limit my exhibition to two decades – the 1960s and 1970s. The main purpose of the exhibit is to show how historical events impacted fashion and approaches to apparel design.
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At “Fashioning a Collection: 50 Years, 50 Objects,” I was most impressed by the “Embroidered and Patched Denim Jeans” (“Fashioning a Collection”). This garment attracted me by its bright patches and colorful embroidery. The patches represented the most fashionable fads in the 1960s-1970s. Patched clothes took inspiration from the culture of hippies which appeared in the US in the 1960s (Blanco 156). Among other clothes, the hippie style included jeans with patches or other adornments (Blanco 156). If in earlier decades patches were used for practical purposes, in the 1960s, they started to be a symbol of rebellion, freedom, and support of anti-war movement (“A Brief Fashion History”). In the 1970s, punk music became popular and brought some alterations to the fashion industry (Burgan 26). Patches were replaced by zippers, and instead of blouses and shirts, young people started to wear leather jackets. Patches, as well as other popular trends of the 1960s-1970s, were an outcome of the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement (McKay 5-6). The movement was very popular a few centuries ago and is still appreciated by the youngsters who want to emphasize their originality. DIY movement helps people to demonstrate their self-expression and freedom (Shan). While popular media are trying to caricature the counterculture, patches, as well as the movements which gave birth to them, are still extremely popular (Shan).
Patches were usual companions of the 1960s and 1970s jeans. While in the 1960s denim jeans were of simpler fashion and had embroidery and patches as the adornment, in the 1970s, jeans adopted various fashions and styles (“Fashion Timeline”). However, patches remained among the most favorite ways of decoration.
Just like in the 1960s-1970s, today’s counterculture allows youth to express their rebellious nature (McKenzie). Nowadays, hipsters represent the counterculture in fashion. Their “I just rolled out of bed” look represents arrogance and unwillingness to be in the company of other people (McKenzie). However, they are also dynamic and active and not so rude as it may seem at first sight (McKenzie).
The fashion industry has always been a reflection of people’s likes and interests. The role of apparel in history cannot be overestimated: it helps us see how people’s attitudes to society were reflected and how they expressed their ideas through style. Therefore, as a justification of my exhibit theme choice, I can say that a few trends in modern fashion come from the hippie movement and some other popular movements of the 1960s-1970s. It is necessary to remember our past, and it is exciting to get to know about the origin of some of our favorite design tendencies. What started as a symbol of rebellion and freedom later became a fashion. I want people to be able to trace this development. That is why I would like to organize an exhibition covering some of the most exciting decades in the country’s history. I am convinced that the exhibit will have tremendous success among the visitors as it will give them a chance to get a new look at what they have always considered familiar.
“A Brief Fashion History: The Role of Clothing Patches in Counterculture.” Asilda Store, 2017, Web.
“Fashion Timeline: 1970s to 1980s.” Vintage Fashion Guild, 17 Mar. 2014, Web.
“Fashioning a Collection: 50 Years, 50 Objects.” The State Historical Society Museum, 2017, shsmo.org/art/exhibits/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2017.
McKay, George, editor. DiY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain. Verso, 1998.
McKenzie. “Hipsters – A Sub and Counter Culture.” Popular Culture, 30 Oct. 2011, Web.
Shan Tan, Yi. “Patched Up: Bricolage and Postmodernism in Punk Culture.” Art Practical, 2015, Web.