Modernism Fashion

What is modernism fashion? Art and fashion have always gone hand in hand. But it was during the modernistic period that the style gained equal value to film, photography, painting, literature, and dance. By combining high and low art forms, modernism turned fashion designers into artists.

Modernism represents a change in perspective within society, to look at subjects with a modern viewpoint. The shift in outlook started to develop in the 19th century when wars and revolution were prominent.

Modernism was a break with the past and the concurrent search for new forms of expression; it fostered art experimentation from the late 19th century. Modernism altered perceptions while capturing the attention of patrons and publishers. Some of its more striking creations intrigued, frustrated, inspired, and even enraged the public.

How Modernism Impacted Fashion

Fashion is the most popular form of expression; it describes the ever-changing styles of clothes. While fashion keeps changing every day, it is greatly affected by age, sexual orientation, location, and social class or status.

Today, a fashion trend starts with the fashion designers, who design a collection based on cues and inspiration gathered throughout the season. The motivations include season, culture, celebrities, or music.

Modernism has significantly impacted fashion and style. Designers have simplified complex dresses using new materials and different ornaments. For instance, the manner of the 19th century is renowned for its corsets, bonnets, top hats, bustles, and dresses.

That, however, has dramatically changed over the years. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how much trends have changed:


Cultural and political upheaval was greatly reflected in the 1960’s fashion. Hippie style and counterculture movement was the norm, and it gave rise to Pocahontas-style headbands and accessories like medallions- which were worn around the neck. Hippies wore long, loosely fitted natural fabric clothes.

Miniskirts, hot pants, and mod-shift dresses were worn with knee-high go boots. Mod fashion specialized with brightly colored space-age geometric patterns, shift dresses, and colored tights which became the mainstream.

Emilio Pucci revolutionized the era with his psychedelic fabric prints and fashion icons like Jackie Onassis Kennedy, the picture of feminine class and sophistication.

1960’s fashion was also influenced by the development of synthetic yarns, which gave way to fabrics like polyester, spandex, and lycra, all of which are still used today.


The loose-fitting hippie clothes from 1960 gave way to exotic fabrics and bell-bottom jeans for both men and women. Hot pants and hemlines continued their popularity displaying the flashiness of the decade.

Women wore peasant-style clothing, especially blouses with off-the-shoulder necklines and lace trim, weans, or skirts. The embroidered dress became especially popular with this trend. Disco fashion emerged, featuring bright patterns and tight-fitting clothing to show the body.

Platform shoes elevated their wearer, male or female, anywhere from two to four inches or more. Dyed Mohawks, studded and spiked leather jackets, combat boots, and body piercings were everything this decade. Buttons and seams replaced safety pins from the previous decade.


Another fashion upheaval was seen in the 1980s. Punks wore Dr. Marten and steel-toed army boots, chains, tartan patterns, and bondage pants. Additionally, punks focused more on their hair, dyeing and chopping it in asymmetrical styles. Both men and women experimented with eyeliners in various colors.

Men wore ‘power suits’ in this era. ‘Power suits’ depicted how wealthy the wearer is. Women wore neon colors, jelly shoes, tight jeans, leggings, leg warmers, and oversized sweatshirts. Miniskirts were made in denim, leather, and knit fabrics and were often worn over leggings.

Accessories for women were significantly flashy-colored. Therefore, it became socially acceptable for cosmopolitan women to showcase their wealth through the value of their jewelry. Both sexes wore glasses and sunglasses with large, plastic frames.

Other fashion trends included acid-washed jeans or parachute pants, jean jackets, polo shirts with the collar up, high-top shoes, and baggy blazers with the sleeves rolled up. And throughout the 1980s, athletic shoes became increasingly prized and popular.


1990’s fashion was a little different compared to the other decades. Bands like Nirvana influenced the grunge look, which featured rock-concert tee shirts under plaid flannel shirts, jeans, and long, greasy hair. Overalls were worn by both sexes, either with one or both shoulder straps unhooked.

Gothic fashion became a trend featuring black clothing, boots, and studded bracelets. Women wore spaghetti-strap slip dresses over tee shirts and baby doll dresses, especially thigh-high stockings. Navel piercings became popular with women, which coincided with the emergence of belly shirts that exposed the midriff.

Chunky platform shoes were all the rage, with layers of rubber soles that made the wearer look taller. Jeans became baggier as hip-hop emerged onto the music scene, often in brightly dyed colors like red or green. And men began to sag their pants, wearing their pants baggy and below the hips or rear.


Modernism fashion changed the style at the beginning of the 20th century. The prevalence of practical use, among other clothes, abolished opulent Victorian dresses. S-bend corset has reshaped women’s anatomy. Further, fashion has become available to the public. Designers have used simple lines and ornamentation to create practical clothes for active women. Fashion embodies modernism by mixing new materials and ideas in design with oriental and Greek traditions.


Fashion has been and continues to reflect society and current events. Modernism fashion trends are influenced by famous figures like celebrities, musicians, and other high-profile individuals.

Current fashion trends are often cyclical, taking cues from decades past and reworking them to fit within modern tastes. Clothing styles that were snubbed a decade ago are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

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