Nowadays, fashion week is a huge party thrown globally in all of the major fashion capitals of the world. From Paris to Los Angeles, models strut the latest looks of celebrated clothing designers to celebrities and press. But how did it get to this point? Why do we put so much attention on single weeks of fashion?
Starting at the end of the 19th Century, fashion, and the desire for it was becoming an increasingly marketable venture. With the industrial revolution now making way for cheaply produced mass clothing, business-savvy designers wasted no time selling to the masses. Models were hired for small groups of clientele, and, by the early 20th Century, these elite gatherings had become popular events lasting several weeks long.
Come 1918, the demand for couture had reached a fever pitch, sparking the first-ever professionally organized shows held two times a year on fixed dates. This setup is what would eventually become fashion week. At these early meetups, guests were highly regulated. This served to both maintain an air of exclusivity while simultaneously trying to curb rampant piracy common in clothes design at the time. While World War II brought things to a halt, fashion week was back on schedule as soon as the battles ended.
Setting the Stage
Though the activities at the shows were set, it wasn’t until the 1960s that fashion week, as we recognize it today, truly solidified what it was and what it represented. Energy was thrown around, pushing aside the stuffy showings of old. Free-flowing models were told to abandon traditional catwalk etiquette. Then, in the 1980s, tickets were sold to the public, finally solidifying fashion week as the fun and fancy clothing celebration we experience it as today.