A Short History of Fashion Technology
Posted on: May 6, 2005 12:17 PM
Okay, so I'm tempted to write about computer stuff and all of the things that I'm more apt to be a geek about; but being in the middle of the fashion capital of the world, I decided to bring up a few of the technological leaps in fashion that have come and gone over the years. Now, there are some things that date back for hundreds of years - like buttons - that have stood the test of time. Fasteners are a good example of technology that has remained for years and years. Ask the good people at YKK and they'll be glad to share with you how much money they've made off of zippers over the years. The same can probably be said for the inventors of Velcro. But yeah, we're not here to talk about the technologies that have made it. We're here to point and laugh at the technologies that have gone the way of the dinosaurs.
I know that I am going to leave some good ones out as I am only choosing to blog about three things today. But knowing that I have attention span problems myself, I went with the first three that I could think of. Here goes...
We begin our journey through fashion four hundred years ago in Europe. Back then, mens didn't likes their womenses looking flabby, and so a bunch of them got together and decided to do something about it. Enter the corset, a garment designed specifically to shape a woman's body to fit the unattainable male standard. The corset, precursor to the girdle and later to the wonderbra in this respect, can be constructed of a variety of materials, but has been made historically from cloth, leather, plastic, and steel to name a few. It is important to note that men have also worn corsets in the history of the garment. No, I'm not talking in the Rupaul way. Myself, I remember wearing a girdle for football. But to this day, I still don't understand why that was necessary. Either way, it's a fact that male body dysmorphia can be traced as far back as its more prevalent female version, but we won't go any more into that (plus I just made that last sentence up. It sounds true, doesn't it?). Anyway, popularity for the corset dropped drastically in the 20th century, probably having to do with all of the women's movements or maybe the invention of liposuction, and now they appear only in the likes of Victoria Secrets and Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs...or so I hear.
Skipping the cotton gin (sorry Eli...it's just not funny) we move on to more football stories from Sonny as we talk about Coach Farvis (I think that was his name) and his affinity for urban camoflage in the form of a little something we call Zubaz. What's funny about this fashion technological wonder is that I even remember thinking that this stuff was cool. I would go on to say more, but I think the name says it all. Moving on...
I don't know exactly where this falls in chronological order, but I wanted to close with this last one anyway because it was what got me started thinking about fashion. Back when I was in junior high and thereabouts, they had these things called slap bracelets. Remember those? Again, I don't know why I thought it was cool; but along with the friendship bracelets, that was the only jewelry I allowed myself to wear for years. Looking back, it is just sad that I made the exception for those two. But yeah, the concept is pretty simple...the piece of plastic wrapped in cloth had two basic states: one in which it lay flat and one in which it collapsed into a circular form. Not only did this assist in teaching young boys and girls how to accessorize, but it added another weapon to the already packed teenage arsenal of rubber bands, spit wads, tittie-twisters, and wet-willies.