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Yan, Tsz Chui Candy


Yan,Tsz Chui Candy

Dr.Amy Chan


14thApril, 2014

CinemasImpact on Fashion Industry


Theinfluence of film industry has had a great impact in the fashionindustry for many years and in many ways. The influence of charactersprojected in the movie screens, television dramas and playsinfluenced trends in fashion and especially with regard to dressingcodes. This paper presents a research on the impact of film industryin fashion trends and development. More specifically the paperfocuses on the impact actors and actress has had in influencingfashion trends on the audiences and the clothe fashion industrieswhich in turn influenced how people dressed. This thesis is putacross by assessing the influence of pop star Madonna on Fashion,lifestyle and behavior.


Fashion,style, identity, films, actors, actress and fashion trends

Theinfluence of films on fashion trends in the modern times can betraced in United States in the 1930s through 1960s.The film industryprojected many glamorous film actors on the screens which showcasedfilm stars living in luxurious, furnished homes, the stars wearinglatest’s hairstyles and fashion clothes. Documented storiesindicate that this trend was revered throughout the world andespecially in Britain where many cinema goers watched the actors withgreat admiration. This exhibitionism by the Hollywood starsinfluenced many who wanted to look and live like the matinee idols inthe films. The female stars in the films used heavy wakeups,lightening and costumes which presented unrealistic image of whatwomen looked.

Assuch, the clothes, body shape and the style of the actress wereidolized by many cinema goers (Turim 1983, pg 87).Film stars such asJane Russell, Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe greatly influenced fashiontastes and fashion trends among women folk in those days who copiedthe actress’ way of dressing and hair styles. Males were not leftbehind, actors such as James dean and Tony Curtis jeans, whitet-shirts and his hairstyle were imitated by the males. This is just abackdrop on the extent to which the film industry has for agesinfluenced the fashion and lifestyle trends in the world.

Fashionand the Film Industry

Fashionis defined as a constant and dynamic change in lifestyle andbehaviors rather than individual sense of self identity.Industrialization came about from the need of fashionable commoditiesby consumers which lead to innovativeness and looking for new ideasto make products that were appealing to the tastes of customers. Inthis sense fashion became a means by which to contest, express,accepted norms relating to particular gender, wealth, status, sex andethnicity. Since then fashion has been used to promote and developproduct values in which the aspects of beauty, gender and body areintegral (Rouse, 1985 pg 23).

Inaddition, the question of what ‘fashion’ specifically means hasbeen a subject of debate among scholars. For instance, in thetraditional dressing codes, tribal tattooing and piercing in thecontemporary fashion trends have raised questions on what ideally isfashion and what is not. Scholars argue that fashion ‘is change forchanges sake and an illusion of novelty’ the trend in fashion beganin the middle ages where unlimited access of information on newstyles and dress were made available to many consumers. This led tomass consumption of products that were deemed fashionable fashionbecame identified as something which everyone was doing or takingpart in. Despite some negative criticism in fashion trends in theearly times, this did not deter fashionable styles in dress code andlifestyle taking place. Fashion came to be identified with itsability to empower and articulate pleasurable ways (Turim 1983, pg87).

Moreover,fashion is used by people to articulate their social identities as asymbol of social class or status. In the 19thcentury, great urbanization and industrialization took place. Manypeople in the cities were meeting strangers and this brought aboutsocial tension, to counter the tension dressing code was used toexpress sense of individuality and distinctiveness among the crowd.In this way fashion became a sense of identity in relation toparticular social groups. For instance, people attending footballmatches adorned jerseys in reference to their choice club. Throughfashion individuals are bale to negotiate their social complexitiesin their contemporary societies, fitting in particular socialenvironment is difficult and as such adorning a fashion articulatessense of ambiguity (Leese 1978, pg 123).

Similarly,the fashion systems industry plays a great role in shaping fashionthat is appealing to consumers desires based on fantasy and selfrealization. Fashion publications were used and are still used topromote fashions and fantasies which lead to changes in the designand development of clothes and other lifestyle make ups. Consumersalso come up with their own designs which also influence the fashionindustry and the media. Youth cultures and fashion forms importantaspect in the development of new fashion in the market. Therefore,fashion is ephemerally used as a constant change that promotes selfidentity (Rouse, 1985 pg 23).

Fashionand film has a great close relationship especially in the periodbeginning 1920 where spectacular films were shown in Hollywood films.The projected images depicted luxurious lifestyles of the actorswhich positioned viewers as consumers standing at the entrance of alarge departmental store gazing at fashion clothes. Similarly,department stores showcased the fashion clothes and accessories asportrayed in the cinematic world in their windows. As such thedepartment stores and the cinema palaces acted as true worlds toaudiences. Commerce and fashion industry were closely linked toHollywood films through advertisement and marketing clothes depictedin the movies (Bruzzi43).They idealized the fashion in the films to the bewilderment ofviewers who watched with glitz and admiration. These influenced manyfemales who thronged the department stores for accessories andcostumes worn by the stars such as Betty Davis, Grace Kelly and JoanCrawford. Great courtiers were brought to Hollywood to make costumesfor various actors. For instance, the much idolized actress andmusician Madonna costumes were designed by courtly Jean Pail Gaultierwho also designed costumes for the European art Films such asGreenaway’s TheCook, the Thief.

Madonnais such a great idolized pop icon whose fashion and lifestyle was thecentre of admiration and influence to many. Her fashion in dress andhairstyle raised many criticisms and admiration especially from theconservatives and the feminist who viewed her fashion dressing asbreaking gender expectations. Through her music and fashion, shecreated an image, looks and fashion of identity which many identifiedwith especially the fans. In her, the image of fashion wassymbolically espoused she signified fashion as perpetualinnovations, producing new artifacts, tastes and practices. Sheadorned conspicuous dresses and other attires while performing inmusic concerts which were admired by many especially the youth.

Furtherto this, her music performance fanned the development of pop culturethat influenced the general behavior of the youths who imitated herdressing code, hairstyles and behaviors. As a result of this popculture many controversies rose among the traditionalists,conservative and the fashion radicals in protest of pop starunconventional dressing and lifestyle which greatly influenced theyouths (Keller 1994, pg 160).

Inthe same line, the cultural productions and image of Madonna createdgreat impact on her audience who admired her pop music and herperformance this enhanced her successful music production andmarketing creating the ‘Madonna Phenomenon’ with her early musicthat targeted teenagers. Her hit songs like the ‘lucky star’ and‘Holiday’ were great influencers to the youth specifically inregard to her flashy performance, showcasing her body and clothes.Her subverted fashion style was a model and source of admiration tomany teenagers who as a form of allegiance identified with herdressing style therefore legitimizing unconventional fashions amongthe youths. Through her video music, the various images exhibitedboth in dressing, hair style and body movement influenced many youngpeople. This performance and exhibition promoted pop culture amongthe youth who adorned unconventional dress code and behaviors as theyidolized the singer (Keller 1994, pg 160).

Inaddition, as a result of the illusions projected by Madonnaperformance, she influenced the audience fashion styles in regard toclothes designs this trend was picked by commercial fashion clothesindustries where women cloths were designed in the same fashion asMadonna’s clothes. In all aspects Madonna’s songs and performanceemancipated the audiences fashion tastes thereby creating asubculture of dressing, lifestyle and behaviors that was differentfrom traditional and conventional way of dressing. Her imageprojections in regard to her clothes, body movement and hairstyleinfluenced fashion trends in the cloth industry in great measures.During her many performances like ‘the toy boy’, ‘the materialgirl’, ‘like a virgin’ and many others, the attires worn forthe performance projected the theme that people can change theiridentity through fashion, image and appearance. The fashion imageMadonna portrayed through her dresses created a brand image that theaudience identified with and she was able to market her music anddesigner clothes (Rouse, 1985 pg 23).

Filmshave for long influenced the public interest in fashion Madonna wassuch an exception case in which her fashion sense promoted her musicand influenced the audience dressing and behaviors. However, thistrend is changing with the introduction of television series anddramas that have taken over by showing fashion styles in clothing.Many television series have been developed featuring fashionablewomen like in the, ‘Gossipgirl’, ‘Ugly Betty’ and‘Sex and the City’,this has inspired the new generation in fashion trends. Anotherchange is that Television shows have moved beyond fiction thatpreviously influenced people sense of new fashion, the shows nowcreates real fashion images for instance, the Reality Show projectedin Television recently has great impact on ideas of appearance andfashion to the audience. In addition, the boom in dietary and weightloss contests have changed the film fashion craze by shifting focusand interest people have with fashion using real presentations(Rouse, 1985 pg 23).

However,unlike the olden days where trends in the film industry were held inawe, the advent of new technology especially the digital productswhich are internet connected have replaced films and televisions asmain euphemism of fashion trends. This is not to say films no longerinfluence people in regard to fashion there is still observableinfluence of fashion trends with links to certain film stars, a goodexample is the madmen stylefashion that has had a nostalgic effect on the public by producingfashions clothes like those observed in actors like James Bond(Bruzzi49).People still spy on fashion trends of Agnes B. whose influencefeatured in the PulpFixation 1994, Robert Altman`s Prêt-à-Porter (Ready to Wear 1994),as well as the Matrixtrilogy of (1999-2003)where leather jackets and sunglasses used by the actors have beenimitated by commercial clothe production.

Inso far, it is evident that fans do not follow or are less impressedby the fashion trends in the film industry as it was in the Hollywoodera. A new phenomenon has evolved in the film and fashion industry inthe contemporary world. Unlike in the olden times where people reliedon films to copy new fashions, the reverse is happening the filmindustry now goes along fashion trends as illustrated in shows likeDevilWears Prada (2006)and Sexand the City movies (2008 and 2010).Many fashionists and audience now follow digital blogs andpublications where they interact in regard to particular fashionstrends. This clearly shows fashion democratization and consumeremancipation where fashion shows and debates are real and not basedon projected illusions as it used to be in the fictional films (Turim1983, pg 87).


Itis evident from historical film industry that it played and continuesto significantly influence fashion trends in the fashion industries.The sensational illusions of actress and actress projected throughHollywood films had far reaching implications on fashion trends inthose days and today. Literature is full of evidence of interplaybetween the film industry and fashion industry where fashion designand development was influenced by actors and actress. Madonna was anexceptional case in euphemizing fashion, identity and appearance. Herpop culture and fashion trend is still considered influential in thefashion industry today (Keller 1994, pg 160).

Innut shell, the interplay between film industry and fashion shaped andcontinues to shape fashions trends in our society. However, theglamour and crazy sensational fashion thirst espoused through filmshas waned considerably due to technological, social and economicaspects of society. Fashion trends are now discussed and showcasedthrough social sites and televisions shows and therefore, filmindustries has a little influence on fashion trends today.


Bruzzi,Stella.&nbspUndressingCinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies.Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2012. PrintRouse,Elizabeth, ‘Understanding Fashion’ 1985 UK London, Cambridgepress. Print Keller,Douglas, ‘Madonna,Fashion and Identity’1994, New Brunswick, NJ University press, pp 159-182, Print.Leese,Elizabeth, ‘ConstumeDesign in the Movies’1978, New York Ungar PrintTurim,Maureen. ‘Fashionshapes Hollywood, the Fashion Industry and the Image of Women’,Socialist Review 1983, pg 83-95 Print.