Anti-Fashion During the 70's

Topics: Vivienne Westwood, Skirt, Fashion Pages: 6 (2157 words) Published: January 6, 2013
The emergence of anti fashion during the 1970’spromoted THE UGLY, THE CHEAP, THE ORDINARY.

Fashion trends are commonly categorized in decades to describe the prominent designs during that particular time period. The 30’s were known as the beginning for admiration of Hollywood and the rise of glamour. ( The 60’s fashion was directed to the youth and consisted of colorful fabrics and bold designs that eradicated the formal way of dressing. ( The 70’s were known as the period of anti-fashion. “If the hippies had one irrevocable effect on culture, including fashion, it was to destroy every rule, except the injunction to please oneself. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that the 1970s have also been called “The Decade That Taste Forgot.” (Fashion Theory Volume 1 Issue 3, Steele,1997:280). To support this statement, I believe there are two main factors that contributed to this fashion period:

* The expansion of individual expression from the 1960’s * The emergence of pro-choice by the consumer

This essay will consider how these factors resulted in the anti-fashion mentality.

First, I will discuss the expansion of individual expression from the 60’s. Influenced by the hippie’s movement, society began to voice their opinion and gave this power of voice to youth. They began to put importance on being an individual and thinking for oneself. There was one prominent person in the fashion industry that represented the 1960’s, and helped to put the spotlight on youth. Lesley Hornby mostly known as “Twiggy” became the idol for millions of teenage girls of the sixties revolution and by the age of 17, Twiggy was one of the most famous faces on the planet. ( Her androgynous, lean look marked a radical departure from the full figured women who dominated fashion in the 1950s. ( “With the emergence of the youth as market share with the largest disposable income, there was a democratization of fashion as the institutions of fashion themselves adapted to a younger market.” ( This notably changed definition of beauty and focus on youth paved a path for them to experiment with their personal and individual style. Eventually the 1970’s would be known to challenge just how far they could go with this newfound individuality and freedom of choice. (

The individual expression of the 1970’s began to expand from the love and peace mentality of the 60’s. It uncovered opportunities for everyone that wanted to show their individuality, anger and different sexual preferences. With these beliefs, multiple anti-fashion movements such as punk, unisex (androgyny) and fetishism began to emerge. ( Extremes in fashion originally adopted by youth to express their rebellion against the older generation were adopted and worn by the middle aged. This expansion of individual expression was recognized by the fashion industry. There is various theories used within the industry that classify how these trends are inspired: trickle-down, trickle-across, and trickle-up. The ‘trickle down’ theory is the most common practice. It is the theory that trends start at the top or upper class of the “social ladder” and moves down to fashion followers. The ‘trickle across’ theory is where fashion moves horizontally through similar social levels and the “trickle up” theory is where fashion trends start with the young or lower income groups and influence the fashion leaders. (The World Of Fashion Merchandising, Wolfe,1998:35-36)

Because of the various youth subcultures growing in the 1970’s, designers recognized these movements and lead the trickle-up theory to have its greatest impact although Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel...
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