For my museum writing assignment, I chose to visit New York’s Museum at FIT. The exhibit concerning the Fabric in Fashion was a fascinating piece. The Fashion History Gallery was insightful and an eye-opener to the well documented enriched storyline of garments and materials used in their making. The experience elicited insurmountable knowledge of fashion history. The exhibit focuses on the cultural history of women’s clothing, detailed in the textiles utilized in their making, dating to the past two and a half centuries. The emergence of elegant synthetics in fashionable dresses is illuminated with a specific informative angle on fabrics made of natural materials like cotton, silk, and wool. An expansion of how the above impacted on fashion history is evident.
Couture depicts an exciting aspect magnetizing paparazzi and a bewildering hyperopic view on the strides made from the past to contemporary times. The preservation of textile history, especially during the Victorian era, in the exhibit showcased beauty, class and creativity. The age stretches to the 19th century marred with great economic hallmarks that affected production and consumer behavior; a period marked by the ascension to the throne by Queen Victoria who ruled from 1837 and died in 1901. She had a significant influence on women especially in their dressing as she exhibited a great sense of style. The Victorian era was marred with infringement of the rights of women. They lived under the shadow of men (especially their folks and husbands) as women were expected to be meek and mild. Social events and bemusement dictated women’s activities. On the economic front employment opportunities were scarce, their male compatriots deemed the breadwinners as domestic servitude was subjected to the ladies. Industrial revolution played an impactful role during the period by influencing the social and economic fronts. The revolutionary stage resulted in wealth amalgamation for investors and merchants with an establishment of growing middle-class individuals. The emanating group of social class possessed the character of showcasing their endowments evident in the garments they wore and the fabrics used to make them. The dresses in the period factored pomp in color and flair in style incorporated in the structure. The bustle framework created an ostentatious look as the stylish clothing represents a sign of class. Respect was accrued dependent on how one clothed. From the exhibit, the material used during that period ushers elegant synthetic utilization especially that of cotton and wool. Companies such as the British East India Company played a significant role in the establishment of a productive industry of the fiber. The emergence of trading companies altered the tastes and preferences of the Europeans who initially consumed minute amounts of the synthetic. Importation increased as the women fashion industry tuned itself to the emerging aspect. An interesting issue is the boomerang of the manufacturing and production of cotton resultant to the establishment of colonies. The colonization of India is at the helm of the increment in utility derived from the material. An invasion of India by the British contributed to policies set on cotton manufacturing that subjected Indians to purchase the synthetic from British mills. Industrial Revolution further magnified the industry as it provided incentives for mechanized production of cheaper raw cotton. On the other end, the United States of America heavily relied on enslaved African Americans who toiled the farms improving cotton agriculture. The resolution to incorporate the synthetic in making garments is depicted in the ideal nature of cotton; culpable of typical dying or printing, and it maintains a colorfast as it has the thick skin to fading during a wash. European printers initially imitated the Indians who had impactful strides in the cotton printing scene, later incorporating other styles such as that of the Chinese motifs. Wool also possessed an ideal synthetic for use in the dress-making. It contains a natural, multilayered, crimpled fiber structure thereby characterizing wool as resilient and elastic. Additionally, the excellent insulation characteristic and it being moldable makes it ideal for tailoring. Wool is begotten from sheep, and other animals, its establishment worked juxtaposing growth in civilization. The material in England grew to immensely grasp exportation in the nations international trade. British colonization influenced the establishment of new markets for the raw material. In the sheer dress compilation, wool is utilized as a unique fiber depicting its versatility. It represented a historic hallmark being the genesis of woven cord. The two synthetic fibers conception history illuminates the encompassing conditions of nations in avenues such as trade, politics, and social life. The exhibited items exemplified the lifestyle of women in that period inclusive of the economic and social aspects of the society.
At the end of the exhibition, the refrain “It’s just garments and the fabrics utilized in their making” sounded far-fetched. The exhibit proved insightful with delving into the historic nature of the cultural aspects presented in women’s fashion detailed in the textiles utilized in making the garments. The social, political, and economic issues of the society all illuminated apropos to the historical sense of the synthetics.
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