Organisation Of A Fashion Week Cultural Studies Essay

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When somebody watches a fashion show, probably nothing more than a skinny model wearing some nice clothes will attract his/her attention. To experts and people that work in the fashion world a fashion show does not only include the model and the clothes, for that casting and designing have to be done and a fashion show does not work out if there aren't any interesting people present or if there was no advertising done. Also the clothes that are presented at a fashion show are not 'just clothes'. Designing clothes is like art. The clothes are ought to be original, creative, innovative and well made.

We, Damla and Hilde, are very interested in the subject of fashion. We like to follow the fashion news and to watch fashion shows, to find out about new trends and to spot fashionable people. Fashion is a way of reflecting your personality, a lot of creative people put their effort into the 'fashion world'.

So really, there is a lot more to all of the features concerning a fashion show.

A fashion week is a week in which all the important designers show their new collection, it includes all major issues involving a fashion show so for us the fashion week is a good starting point to explain about fashion. That is why we choose our main question to be: How is a fashion week organized?

This question allows us to get more deeply into the subject of fashion. We know there is more to fashion than only the skinny model wearing nice clothes, but regular people who are not involved in fashion don't know. With this question we can explain these people what this multi-billion-dollar industry is about.

For us, as people who are interested in fashion and who have a little bit more insight into the fashion world it is also an interesting subject. We often watch the fashion show images and reports on the internet but we want to get to know more about the thoughts behind this event.

The term "fashion" is often used as a synonym for style, glamour and beauty. It also applies to a prevailing mode of expression, but quite often applies to a personal mode of expression that may or may not apply to all. Fashion is something we face every day. Even people who say they do not care what they wear, they choose clothes every morning which says a lot about them and in which mood they are that day.

The fashion industry is really big and there is big business going on. In the fashion industry there are more people involved in buying, selling and producing clothes than any other business in the world. Every day, millions of workers design, sew, glue, dye, and transport clothing to stores. Advertisements on buses, billboards and magazines give us ideas about what to wear, consciously, or subconsciously.

Fashion is also influenced by the culture of people in a particular country, style of dress, cuisine, literature, art, architecture and many other popular factors. A clothing style may be introduced as a fashion, but its use becomes a custom after being handed down from generation to generation. A fashion that comes and goes is called a Fad.

The history of wearing clothes began in the prehistory (around 4000 BC), there was no fashion but people wanted to keep themselves warm because of the cold weather. Fashion did not exist and people wore whatever they could find and use, especially animal skins. Tendons of animals were used as sewing-thread and fish bones were used as needles. After this period people began wearing woven clothes. The cloth were woven by women which used wool or flax.

The Egyptians (approximately 4000 BC - 1000 BC) were the first people who introduced wearable fashion in culture. Women wore dresses which were very long, from their armpits until their ankles. They were made from the cloth called linen. The Egyptians loved linen and they also decorated their dresses. The dresses were colored by vegetable paint. But colour was not used on all the dresses because it would fade away in the hot burning sun. Sometimes the Egyptians would wear a poncho over the dresses. The Egyptians also wore make-up, henna and kohl and wore jewels like collars, anklets, bracelets and rings.

The Greeks (1000 BC - 100 BC) were the second 'trend setters'. Their clothes consisted mostly of wrapper- or drapery clothes, which is a big rectangular cloth which is turned on their body in a certain way. This cloth was hold by a safety-pin. Sometimes they would hand the cloth on one-shoulder. We also do this often nowadays, this type of clothes are now called the "one-shoulder clothes". A rope held this cloth in the right place: the waist. The Greeks also wore coats. This piece of cloth was worn over the head so it looked like a cape. The The only shoes the Greek had were the sandals.

The Romans (700 BC - 400 BC) were the people after the Greeks who found their own style. Much of Roman clothing was designed to reveal the social status of its wearer, particularly for freeborn men. In typical Roman fashion, the more important the wearer, the more his dress was distinctively marked, while the dress of the lowest classes was often not marked at all. The lowest classes, like slaves, had poor dresses which were very dirty and had holes in it.

If a woman was married, we could recognize that because than she had to wear a stola (a piece of cloth which was worn over the tunica, the ankles and were hidden like this). The Romans wore also toga´s, a toga was a loose outer garment without sleeves generally made from a woolen cloth and draped gracefully and precisely around the body.

We can see that the Roman clothes and the Greek clothes looked very similar to each other, the Romans were influenced by the Greeks with their draperies.

Both (high class) men and women wore undergarments under their clothes.

citizen, matron, curule magistrate, emperor, general, workman, slave

Men's costume in the Byzantium (350 - 1453) period didn't change too much over the centuries. It consisted of the tunica, the dalmatic (a wide clothe worn by higher class people over their garments), the cape and shoes or boots. The shapes of the clothes were consistent throughout the classes, only the quality of the fabric and trimming were notable for them. The shoes the Byzantine worn were sandals with white socks in it.

Women's costume in Byzantium didn't change too much over the centuries either. It basically consisted of the tunica, the stola, and shoes like the Romans had. The lower classes also wore basically Roman clothes like before. These had lots of drape and movement, so the ladies could get on with their work. The upper class women wore the more stiff, jeweled garments that we are familiar with nowadays.

Chanel introduced a collection for pre-fall 2011 called Chanel Byzantine collection. These clothes were inspired by the Byzantium period in Istanbul, which is an homage to Coco Chanel's taste in jewelry.

Chanel pre-fall Byzantine collection and a real Byzantine mosaic

Most people in the Middle Ages (1100 - 1500) wore woolen clothing, with undergarments made of linen. Brighter colors, better materials, and a longer jacket length were usually signs of greater wealth. The clothing of the aristocracy and wealthy merchants tended to be involved and changed according to the trends of fashion. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, men of the wealthy classes wore hose (hose are any of various styles of men's clothing for the legs and lower body) and a jacket, often with pleating or skirting, or a tunic with a surcoat (an outer garment). Women wore flowing toga's and elaborate headwear, ranging from headdresses shaped like hearts or butterflies to tall steeple caps and Italian turbans.

The clothes of the people in the Middle Ages didn't only express their power and money supply, but mostly showed the job they did. A monk wore a habit, a smith wore a leather vest to avoid that the hot iron rests would pierce his clothes and peasants wore agricultural clothes.

The end of the middle ages are called the high middle ages. The clothing style developed more and more during the middle ages. Especially when there became a growing trade with the east of the world like China. People learned more and more techniques and patterns from these countries.

The clothes of women still existed of all sorts of layers but it is decorated more luxurious and it is more folded. The garments were tight from above and loose from under the hips. In this period the corset was invented. The corset made the upper body look smaller and the waist look thinner.

The clothes of the men were getting shorter and shorter. How shorter the garment was, how richer it was decorated. People wanted more good looking and hard to make clothes.

The shoes of the high middle ages were sometimes leather soles sewn under their hosen

(base undergarments for most man, made from wool). The real shoes which men wore, were shoes or boots with a long and striking point.


Barok and rococo

19th century

20th century

What do people try to achieve with fashion?

People want to achieve their own style with fashion, it is a great way of self expression and it is important to culture and religion. Fashion makes people very much a part of the community they belong to. Viewing it in the deeper sense, we notice how our tastes vary with whatever is in trend, whatever we come across so often, almost daily. So as our tastes drift by and by, we expect people to follow the same trends - and so do we.

Fashion is very important in our opinion. Fashion means self-expression, it enables us to say something important to the world about who we are, or who we'd like to be. The clothes we wear say things about us (intentional or not), even to people we don't talk with directly. It addresses the primary human need to belong, to identify ourselves with a group of others like us, whether it's a lifestyle, a religion, a profession, or an attitude.

In history it has evolved greatly, it has influenced cultures. It has defined different Social classes from the peasants to the nobles. It even has labeled different religions and cultures. Fashion is part of who you are and what people think of you.

So why do people want to get so fashionable? We thought of many reasons:

Fashion makes women feel feminine.

Fashion creates sex appeal.

Fashion makes a man or woman more confident (fashion is used as a sort of protection or armor).

Fashion can make people feel more professional.

There are so many styles, women can be as unique as they want to make them feel special.

Which people invented fashion?

We don't really know who first set trends on purpose, but according to the most resources the Egyptians were the first people who wore clothes to look good and show themselves.

What are the main goals of the fashion week?

In 1943 the first fashion week was launched in New York city. The main purpose of this fashion week was to distract attention from French fashion during World War II, when workers in the fashion industry were unable to travel to Paris. This was a right moment because for centuries American designers were thought to be depended on the French designers for inspiration. The fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized an event she called 'Press Week' to showcase American designers for fashion journalists, who had previously ignored their works. The Press Week was a success, and, as a result, magazines like Vogue (which were normally filled with French designs) began to feature more and more American innovations.

The designers of the fashions shows nowadays have a couple of goals in mind for the fashion week: to sell their own clothing lines as much as possible and to try to make a bigger name all over the world. These goals are reached if a designer sets up an incredible fashion show which will give a good impression to the audience. The clothes have to be unique and fashionable. If the public and the photographers are very interested in the fashion show of the designer, than it will be published on the internet and in a couple of days all the people which are interested in fashion will know about the designer and beautiful collection. This is the moment that the designer has made a bigger name and will sell many of his clothes to a bigger audience.

The fashion shows of the autumn/winter collections will be shown from January through April and the spring/summer collections will be shown from September through November. Fashion weeks must be held several months in advance of the season to allow the press and buyers a chance to preview fashion designs for the following season. This is also to allow time for retailers to arrange to purchase or incorporate the designers into their retail marketing.

How are the main goals achieved?

The very main goal of the fashion weeks is the selling of clothes. You can imagine that people only buy clothes from companies and designers which they are familiar with and know what they are selling. To make designers and companies more famous and more worldwide people use commercials and advertisements. Advertising is a form of communication which exists to convince an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideas, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. These messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via various media. The fashion week also have to make commercials and advertisements to inform and update all the fashion people.

How are the commercials and advertisements for the fashion weeks organised?

The fashion week also has commercials and advertisements. Here in the Netherlands we have the Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW) and they have to make advertisements to announce the fashion week in Amsterdam. The most advertisements they make can be seen in magazines. They also make advertisements on billboards outside, in bus stop benches, printed flyers which are give out, in newspapers sometimes and there are posters everywhere.

The main goal of the designers is achieved by photographs from photographers, bloggers and fashion people who set those pictures on internet

Who does the organization of the commercials and advertisements?

The team of AIFW consists of Merle Deterink, Stéphanie Floor, Harm-Jan Keizer and Holly Syrett and the interns are Benthe Bosma and Judith Hafkamp. These persons organize the whole AIFW. The sponsors of the AIFW are:

How are the models picked?

In each fashion week there are models which are used to show the collections. Only the best and the well known models are picked for the fashion week.

We found an article about how the models go to castings of the New York Mercedes Fashion Week and what they have to do there.

Every year, hundreds of aspiring and veteran models from around the world descend upon New York City for a chance to walk the runways of New York Fashion Week (officially known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week). The weeks leading up to the event are filled with chaos and excitement as the models rush across town attending the numerous casting calls that will ultimately decide which girls will walk and which ones will watch.

The Maestro

Andrew Weir (second from right), owner of ACW Worldwide, addresses his team before a full day of casting at the Hudson Hotel. The team members will sort through more than 300 models to meet the requirements set by their Fashion Week clients, including Adidas' Y-3 and Zac Posen's Z Spoke.

Gossip Girls

Some of the models form friendships while waiting in line to see casting directors. Some bond over a common country of origin, while others, like the women above, share laughs about watching the teen drama series Gossip Girl subtitled in their native languages.


Although models must demonstrate to casting directors that they can walk in high heels, most do not wear them while running to appointments. Flats, sandals or other, more comfortable footwear are on hand for a quick change after a casting is finished.


Models can often be found checking their BlackBerrys for updates from their bookers, who keep them informed about which castings to attend.

Slivers of Truth

Barbara Palvin, a highly touted 16-year-old newcomer from Hungary, gets her headshot taken. Models arrive at castings wearing simple outfits and no makeup so that casting teams can get an unadulterated look at the models' natural attributes.

For Reference Only

Headshots are bundled with the models' composite cards and the casting director's notes. Andrew Weir's team will use the information it collects during its casting as reference material for the next six months.

Walking the Walk

All models must perform a simulated runway walk for casting teams. Every so often, Weir will stop a model and coach her on the proper way to walk. New York Fashion Week is known for a fast-paced, staccato walk, whereas Paris Fashion Week features a slower, more fluid walk.

The It Factor

Even in a room filled with beautiful women, certain models stand out. In industry language, these women have the It factor, an undeniable presence that all successful models possess. Weir says that Russia's Vika Falileeva, above, has a "rare combination of all things good - all things that make a model a model. Strength, height, symmetry, confidence, an amazing walk, an amazing presence, beautiful skin, beautiful hair, perfectly proportioned - an amazing girl."


Once a casting is done, models often rush to the next one. Some have more than a dozen castings to attend on a given day but gladly go through the trouble for a chance to walk the runways of New York Fashion Week.

Who choose the models and what are the required features?

As you can read above, Andrew Weir chose the models of the New York Mercedes Benz fashion week. Andrew Weir is a 15 year experienced (fashion) photographer and a casting director. Weir has an own casting and consulting bureau.

So in all other countries the models are picked by casting directors and the helpers of the casting directors.

All models have to be suffice on required features. The models are not only picked by their good looking faces but their body and character also have to be perfect. The character has to be social because the models have to work with a lot of people. They have to be kind and friendly and have a lot of motivation to succeed with everything they have to do. We looked at some of the best model agencies of the world to find the required features to be a good model: