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The subject of body image has been and continues to entail being a subjective matter. This is essentially because consumers perceive the body in different ways and have their own natural instinctive liking for a body shape. Moreover, the perception significantly varies based on diverse social structures and constantly changing personal observation based on the learning from reading habits, influence of the media and the people around.
Over the past 150 decades the clothing industry has enormously changed, fashion media, consumer behaviour, beauty and the ideal body shape have historically not remained static either, changing constantly in different era due to the change of society and other cultural influences.
In the current society, media constantly portrays skinny body figure as a perfect body shape. Women magazine tends to have a whole entire page devoting to diet and exercise tip, with pictures of extra thin models.
Looking towards the past fashion and how it has changed over time is something that has built interest within me. Therefore the purpose of this paper is to examine how these changes took place, dating back from 16th century.
To evaluate the change of body shop in relation to fashion media, focusing on Unisex market with various different age groups.
To define body image and investigate the relationship between fashion media and body image.
To investigate and highlight the issues within the fashion media affecting various different age group within male and female
To investigate within the origin of the phenomena of changing body silhouette, furthermore leading to erratic behaviour such as self-esteem.
In the early 16th century, "baroque was first used disparagingly to describe something artificially extravagant and complex" (Cumming, 2005, p163). Peter Paul Rubens a proponent of an exuberant Baroque art in Northern Europe in the 1600's often painted canvas of large ladies emphasizing movement, colour and sensuality.
Peter Paul Ruben, Flemish, 1577-1640. (Metmuseum Online, 10/02/10)
This form of contemporary painting with curvy body was appreciated essentially because it showed wealth. In those days buying meat, milk and alcohol was privileged only to wealthy people and in order to show the status in the society the goal of the women fashion was to look as attractive as possible. (Bridges and Granger, 2009) The women in this century were not only known for their beauty and wealth but also for their taste in fashion, therefore in order to look ideal they spend vast amount of money on clothes. The upper class ladies often dressed in gowns with full trailing skirts, whereas those with low income had to make an attempt to survive with plain water, eating cereal and grain and dressing up in simple clothes (Hines and Fischer, 2009). The ideal curvy body figure carried throughout the 18th century.
Fashion journalist and mass media started portraying the trend, causing awareness of the style in fashion in the mid eighteen century, which furthermore developed and firmly established since the late nineteen centuries (Hill, 2007).
Elizabeth I, 1599-1600, Hardwick Hall portrait (The Early Stuarts online, 10/02/10)
In the early 19th century, the culture moved from plump female to a thinner frame with less curves. As The period of 1890- 1910 was described as a battlefield of representation. This was due to the process of feminism and it attendant imageries, on the other by showing the extravagant feminist in the highly decorative and seductive fashion. (Buckley and Hilary, 2002)
In this era images of fashionable women were found in the newspaper, magazine , on post cards and billboard with visibly fetishised but incontrovertible dimensions of sumptuous female (Buckley and Hilary, 2002)
In the 1920's the new ideal women was a thin short hair flapper. This year was marked as youth revolution era. Young generation were enraged after the World War I, as they believed that the older generation had murdered millions of young boy. Therefore in order rebel they disobeyed conventional rules, they invented their own liberated culture. This included driving cars and driving alcohol. In the first time in the history older women started to copy younger women and everyone wanted to look thin. Advertising in the expansion of magazine industry had started to play to an important role in this era as consumers were becoming more beauty conscious. Consumer culture began to shape the female body image through cosmetics, fashion, Hollywood, and advertisements (Featherstone ,1982). Peoples started dieting and sports became popular in order to enhance body. Within this era thinness was the new sign of wealth.
1920's Women's Fashion, (Women's - apparel online, 10/02/10)
During the Second World War (1939 - 1945), consumers did not have enough money to purchase and supplies were hard to get. Many fashion houses closed down; however it did not stop consumers from maintaining their self image. Body image was the reflection of the society. The UK and American government were trying to get women back in the kitchen and were promoting 'ideal body image' through media. This was represented as a curvy one with large hips and nipped in the waist. However this continued to evolve over a period of time and has led to a disturbing predicament today century.
In the 1950's Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor were represented the ideal glamour and sexy for decades and James Dean was the iconic man of that century. Marilyn Monroe was size 14 which was considered as an ideal shape in that era however in today's century it would be considered as overweight.
In 1960's Super model Twiggy Lawson became an icon for the fashion industry; it was first time in history that such under-weight women become a standard ideal body image. 1960 - 20th century iconic body image remains ultra thin. Slim celebrities and models such as Ally McBeal, Christina Aguilera, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Heidi Klum figures are constantly displayed as unattainable yet highly desirable ideals in our daily lives (Rojek, 2001
The body no longer remains psychically healthy but has become more of a fashion statement. Over the past 50 years body shape has changed enormously, fashion industry has been ignoring the change of body shape, designers and manufactures still construct garments that fit skinny and petit figure, while women's shapes are more likely to be top-heavy, rectangular or pear-shaped (McCormack, 2005)
The general public, as the audience, are entirely responsible in making them the icons. The body shape being promoted heavily by the media, ends up making us change our own belief of an ideal body shape and the yearning for an unnatural body shape takes form.
Mass media advertising, online advertising, sales promotion and various other promotion strategies are the primary form of marketing communication, used to promote the new products that carries a message of a product or brand, aiming at a specific targeted audience (Shimp, 2003).
Fashion marketers, clothing theorists and consumer psychologists, study their main consumers in order to understand and design these adverts to cause the awareness and make the consumer brand loyal. These adverts contain trend and ready to wear style, that is broadcast through media such as TV adverts, radio and magazines using images of the product and iconic celebrity, to attract the target market. However, although these adverts are designed to educate and update consumers about the new products, it often causes a negative effect on the consumer behaviour.
Today's consumers are