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Fashion Goes Round in Circles Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 10th, 2019

Mostly used in accessories, footwear, and clothing, fashion is a term used to refer to a current popular trend or style. Fashion is the current trend of a person and it mostly concentrates on the outside appearance of people. Most people express their personality through fashion while others use it to hide a fact concerning a certain aspect of their lives.

Different people give a hidden message in fashion through makeup, clothes, shoes, accessories, and of late, phones. Designers are the key players in fashion matters and they are able to direct and influence fashion in many ways. Celebrities, opinion leaders, and store buyers work together with designers to influence direction of fashion.

Fashion across the world has its major centers at places where designers and manufactures of clothes and accessories work. The major centers include in Milan, Paris, and New York among others. Fashion applies to the current situation and it usually changes with time as people and circumstances change. Environmental situations and seasons are among the reasons that lead to changes in fashion.

A certain style or trend is usually popular for a given period, after which designers come up with other new trends. Fashions may change as many times as possible, but it goes round and round in circles because only a few things change in fashion. After a couple of years, fashion goes back to where it started.

Clothes fashion history

The first fashion designer lived between 1826 and 1895 and he found corking success in the field, although he was not a dressmaker. During this time, customers did not have an option, but they used what was available in fashion.

With the success of the first designer, many designers came up and consulted artists to sketch designs. With the help of artists, designers put their designs on paper and interested customers ordered for the designed clothes.

Sketching thus became one of the most important things in clothing design. Most financially stable people preferred to make orders rather than buy complete ready-made garments. Paris and London were the prime places where fashion shows took place. Such places always had new designs thus designers from other countries visited Paris and London fashion shows for new styles and ideas.

In the 1900s, the fashionable women wore Belle Époque dresses, which were almost similar to the ones worn in the 1850s. In 1910s, the fashionable dress had a few changes, which made it a little different in that, the waist was not as tight as Belle was. The dress was more soft, fluid, and lithe, and it was later styled in a simple way.

The former design required a woman to look for help, because it was hard to wear it and remove without help. The similarities in the dresses showed that the fashion was the same, apart from some few additions, giving evidence that fashion goes round in circles. During this time, the new fashion replaced the headgears with simple turbans, which were simple to use.

Fashion did not dictate on women clothes in 1940s at the time of war. Instead of coming up with new fashions, manufactured clothes for women were prescribed by necessity because many women did not have time for social events. They spent most of their time working, moaning, and visiting the wounded. The fashion that followed was the fashionable skirts worn by women. The skirts reached above the ankle and many young women wore them.

As years passed, bell-bottomed jeans were on fashion in the 1970s, and they gained great popularity with tie and dye being the popular garment of the decade. In the late twentieth century, the commonly used materials were Viscose, Spandex, and Lycra and their popularity spread in the whole world.

For two decades, designers had concentrated on the future until 1980s when they decided to turn back to the past for more ideas and inspirations.

By the turn of the 1990s, designers seemed to have run short of ideas and they started going back to older designs where they borrowed blueprints and ideas. Turning to the past for inspiration showed that designers were going back to the original ideas used by the former designers and they wanted to improve on the old fashions (North 2008, p.518).

The turning back for inspiration in the twentieth century was not the pioneer exercise; no, it only confirmed that fashion was going round in circles. In the 2000s, the generation involved in arts and fashion looked back to the past decades for greater inspiration, and it was able to keep new fashions.

Turning back to the past decades in the year 2000 onwards proves that the more fashion changes from time to time, the more it remains the same. It goes round in circles and that is why there is borrowing of ideas from one generation to another. Fashion has never gone out of style; only a few things are modified in fashion quarters.

Shoes fashion history

In 1920s, women wore shoes that were wide and high heeled. The same women wore flat leather or ballet shoes in different occasions. In 1930s, people continued to wear high-heeled shoes and other flat-laced shoes for leisure.

Individuals who went out for trips or outdoor activities wore flat leather shoes. World War II started in 1940s and women became more conservative and started wearing flat shoes made with a cork and wooden soles.

The aim of the flat shoes was to provide comfort during the hard labor that women had to do. After World War II, many people in America started wearing sports shoes that were so popular that designers from other countries including Europe asked for ideas on the sports shoes from the Americans.

Wearing of sports shoes changed in the 1960s where both men and women turned to wearing sandals. In 1980s, designers turned back to the past for inspirations and they designed high-healed shoes similar to the ones worn in the 1920s.

The main difference between the high-healed shoes in the 1920s and the ones in 1980s was the thickness and physical appearance. The new shoes had thinner heals and they became a hit. Change in fashion takes place after a given season and most of the ideas in the contemporary times are a repetition of the 1920s.

Designers revisit the old ideas and make changes to come up with new fashion because a fashion may change from time to time, but it does not go out of style. The shoes worn in the early twentieth century are still fashionable with only slight changes here and there. Most of the shoes have details added and some are the same with only few additions and modifications in design.

Vintage in fashion

Clothes made during the 1920s and before are antique clothing. Between 1920 and 1980, many people used vintage clothes. Vintage fashions are new types of clothes made using older designs. In vintage style, fashion changes, but the style does not change because designers imitate styles used in the past (Bartholomew 1977, p.2064).

The difference between modern clothing and Vintage clothes is that, modern clothes are recently produced clothes and vintage clothes are clothes worn in the past. Such clothes only contain a small percentage of new materials that make them slightly different. The use of vintage clothes shows that fashion does not get out of style; it only goes round in circles from time to time.

Actually, most of the designers, manufactures, and retailers remain with dead stock after dealing with a given fashion for sometime. Manufacturers keep the warehouse stock and after several years, they add some pieces and sell the clothes under a new fashion.

Different people developed interest on vintage clothes because of celebrities and opinion leaders who wore the clothes. The need of environmental sustainability also led to the use of vintage clothes, which shows that people prefer the past fashions.

According to Bartholomew (1977), people are more interested in repairing, recycling, and reusing of the old clothes rather than throwing them away (p.2064). This has made fashion to go round in circles and one is sure to get a similar fashion after several years.

Currently, garment, in a certain way, resemble fashion designs worn in history. Most of the fashion designers rely on history and that is why manufactured clothes resemble the original clothes made in the early twentieth century.

An example of vintage reproductions is the clothes worn in 1990s (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst 2010, p.171). Popular undergarments clothes worn in 1990s aped undergarments made in 1930s, which shows that fashion goes round in circles and that the style does not change.

The advantage of vantage clothing is that it avoids wastage and contributes to conservation of environment; moreover, vintage clothing is available in many colors and sizes. There is availability of vintage clothes in different fabrics, which make it easier for the customers to choose the fabric, colors, and sizes that fit them.

Vintage clothes are available in most places such as second hand clothing shops, estate sales, vintage shops, textile fairs, auctions, antique markets, and other places depending on different locations.

People who need vintage clothes can get them from the old relatives and friends who are able to keep their clothes for a long period. Modern people who love vintage clothing have an opening where they are able to get the clothes they need because of the larger market created by the use of internet.

Online auctions increase the possibility of getting the desired vintage clothing and people no longer rely on modern fashions (Stenger 2006, p.38). Other people, who are lovers of vintage clothing, turn to dressmakers for patterns or fabrics inspired from the historical fashions.

Designers who are able to design vintage garments are fashionable; nevertheless, in real sense their inspirations come from historical fashions. They act as representatives of the old era designers who came up with the original designs.

Change in style does not necessarily mean that there must be change in fashion. Fashions and styles are different and influence people differently. Style contains attitudes and values and people choose to follow a certain style because they agree with the attitudes and values expressed in the style.

Moreover, style differentiates a group and gives it identity. On the other hand, fashion underscores the outside appearance and it represents the outside look. Innovations in most cases drive fashion and designers of new fashion copy their ideas from other people.

In the modern fashion, there is no originality because new fashions come from the old fashions. A fashion cannot be a new fashion if all details in the old ideas are the same. That is why the designers take some ideas and ignore others depending on the designer and customers’ taste.


Fashion goes round in circles because it has neither beginning nor end. This argument is evident because fashion changes from time to time and there is a repeat of the same ideas. New fashions are created through the same actions and ideas used in the past. Designers have the ability to create a new thing that has a slight difference compared to the original.

Almost every year, there is a new fashion of clothing but the ideas in the fashion are always old ideas. Those able to keep their clothes can attest that, new fashions come from old fashions that existed sometimes in history and the only difference is the addition of some few details.

The added details fade and become outdated after a certain period and another fashion comes up. Therefore, it suffices to conclude that fashion goes round in circles because it always goes back to where it begun after several years.


Bartholomew, M., 1977. How to Recycle Old Clothes into New Fashions/Oldies but Goodies (Book Review). Library Journal, 102, 17, pp. 2062-66.

Bhardwaj, V., & Fairhurst, A., 2010. Fast fashion: response to changes in the fashion industry. International Review of Retail, Distribution & Consumer Research, 20(1), pp.165-173.

North, S., 2008. Fashion and Fabric: New Histories of Clothes Marketing in Modern Britain.” Fashion for the People: A History of Clothing at Marks & Spencer – By Rachel Worth The National Fabric: Fashion, Britishness, and Globalization. Historian, 70(3), pp.518-20.

Stenger, J., 2006. The Clothes Make the Fan: Fashion and Online Fandom when Buffy the Vampire Slayer Goes to eBay. Cinema Journal, 45(4), pp.26-44.

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