Fashion History 1960

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“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”  By Yves Saint Laurent

(Sibeal Ito FIP)


The 1960’s saw a massive development in fashion in comparison to the long skirts and conservative style of the 50’s. The decade was in the middle of an economic boom and lots of prosperity which led the expansion of fashion. What was also very important about the 60s was that people became unhappy with their governments, especially in the US. This led to various movements including the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement. Style was developed by the various movements. When the anti-war movement was in full swing the hippy style began and when the women’s rights movement was on going hemlines rose. It is very evident that politics and governments effected style in the 1960’s.

The post war baby boom created 70 million teenagers that were influenced by rock and roll and fashion from abroad. The 1960’s saw a new freedom and expression regarding dress, and the free spirited hippies began in the 1960’s. Rock and roll caused a massive change regarding fashion. An example of this is when the Beatles graced the cover of their magical mystery tour in Afghan coats. After this Afghan coats which were either sheep or goat skin were wore by every Beatle fan (Beatle mania) .

In this analysis I will look at the key trends and influences of 1960s fashion, the icons of the decade and its key designers.

The Mini Skirt
What was interesting about the trends of the 60’s was its development from the 50’s. In the 1960s hemlines rose and new materials were used. Plastic skirts and jackets became the norm.

The mini skirt was a stark change from the long house dresses worn in the fifties and allowed young girls and women to feel more liberated. Mary Quant raised the hemline of skirts in 1965 and named it the Mini Skirt, after her favourite car, the Mini.

These skirts were worn above the knee and were introduced by the designer Mary Quant. The mini skirt was a widely known trend of the 60s and has remained a important feature of fashion today. Quant said that she was not the only producer of the mini that “was the girls on the King's Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, 'Shorter, shorter.'"

Young women were expected to dress like their mothers in long dresses that showed no skin. But as the 1960s began young people, primarily in Britain and in North America, began to express an awareness of themselves as a distinct and unified group that was able to respond to political events in ways that were different from their parents.  

In the 1960s women began to question their own lives and equality. Betty Freidman wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in 1963 which criticised the idea of the happy housewife. There was also a dramatic increase in women attending university and the work force. The mini skirt was a tool that expressed the philosophy that young women no longer needed to conform to the role of mother only. The mini skirt was also utilised as a tool in the women’s movement.

The mini skirt was a tool that expressed the philosophy that young women no longer needed to conform to the role of mother only. The mini skirt was also utilised as a tool in the women’s movement. [pic] (Mary Quant and the Mini’s)

Coats- Nehru jacket and the Afghan jacket
Coats reduced in length, and were now being made with unusual materials like plastic and PVC. People became far more aware of eastern culture, which brought about the Nehru jacket, originally Indian. This was a hip length jacket with a mandarin collar that was worn by the prime minister of India ,Jawaharlal Nehru(1886-1964). It was briefly popular in the west in the late 1960s and early 1970s, its popularity...
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