Clothing obviously dates back to the prehistoric man, who sought to protect his body from acute changes in the weather - as an attempt to, more precisely, insulate his body temperature from extreme cold and heat. Earlier forms included dried animal-skins, now known as leather or hide; then, as the culture of nomadic hunting transformed into that of settlement, agriculture, poultry, shepherding and cattle-farming, clothes started being made of wool. As sophistication progressed, the technology of spinning threads evolved, and cotton, jute and silk became the standard. The finer the thread or the element of weaving the more porous the cloth, and hence higher its ability to ‘breathe’.
Advancements in polymer chemistry first gave us rayon and nylon. Today we have an assortment of materials, each having its own characteristics of granularity, stretchability, inter-weave ratio, inflammability (which is dangerous), etc., and all of these can be used, in part, to weave a fabric, with the exact ‘feel’ that human skin loves (which is specific to a geographic region).
Fashion Design pertains to the aesthetic aspect of the human form. Any object, as we all know, has its own visual appeal that emerges from its form, shape, color and texture. When we shop for a refrigerator, or a watch, or a mobile phone, or a car, our decision of whether to buy it or not depends largely on its ‘looks’ - it has been my personal experience and is backed by experts in cognitive research.
We employ quite a comparative thought in choosing what we should ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ based on the visual appeal of objects we are to own, as this will directly affect our ‘status’ in society where everyone has common ground by which to gauge visual appeal. Various names such as ‘taste’, ‘style’, ‘trend’ and many more, are given to notions concerning the above.
It is, however, not limited to humans; and is proven to be a primitive faculty among even birds and animals. Research papers have been published on female antelopes favoring males with proportionate antlers; a few species of birds where the females prefer to mate with males that have visually disproportionate wing spans, etc. - though, all research results proved earlier, as well as those of present-day are indicative of preference sliding toward more proportionate forms.
Since the process of design encompasses ideation and visualization, it is regarded as an ‘applied art’, despite its strong dependence on measurements, calculations and ratios.
Clothing and apparel is the primary industry subject to fashion design. But, nowadays, all commercially sellable product designers and manufacturers take ‘visual appeal’ as a factor in market share and sales, very seriously.
Lifestyle accessories is a major industry that mainly relies on fashion trends. As history shows us, fashion, in itself, is a volatile notion. It changes with time. We had the bell-bottom trousers and the triangular collars in the 60’s and 70’s; we had the heavy boots and baggy jeans in the 80’s and 90’s; and now we have the skinny-bottom and the light, canvas shoes or sneakers. Not only do we see a general change in the clothing fashion but also in hair-styling (the mow-hock was even probably the statement in an african tribe 200 years ago, by which I mean to say that fashion may repeat itself).
Music has been no different, although its all about only ‘auditory appeal’. Research has shown, in some select communities that consider aural choices as definitions of ones personality, that the music one listens too goes a long way in telling how a person thinks, or what his fears might be. In the 60’s, the world was taken over by the Beatles; in the 70’s the genre of rock slowly gave way to metal and then heavy metal, and parallel to this, a musical giant called Michael Jackson rose to fame; in the 80’s and 90’s pop and hip-hop steadily gained ground.
Some of the genres in all of the above do not easily pass and die into history, like jazz, or western classical, or country music; so are the vintage cars and watches. The point being that some creations of the ‘science’ - or should I say ‘art’ - of fashion may turn into timeless and priceless forms of pleasant aesthetics.
The advancement in mobile computing has brought us portable music and video players. As the ‘connectedness’ across devices increases with the help of the internet, and the entertainment industry establishes itself firmly over the network, we will see these devices more and more as becoming a ‘style-statement’.
Fashion, in particular, more than only representing a ‘style-statement’ of an individual or a group of individuals, mirrors even the cultural, traditional and social nuances of a geographic region or country.
Good luck choosing whether fashion technology should be your career!