Hippie Movement in Fashion Industry

Hippie Movement in Fashion Industry

Fashion and clothing styles are a reflection of people’s attitudes and times. As a matter of fact, this also holds true for the 1960s era. The youth culture was taking strong hold in that era as the ‘baby boomers’ were now grown. This era is known for the social change in every aspect of life as youngsters wanted to have their own styles, which were way different from conservative ways. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

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Hippie movement basically took place in defiance of the war. They also took part in various demonstrations in support of human rights and in opposition of the Vietnam War. They spread the message of peace and love. The movement did not just affect art, films and television, literature, music, and fashion. It was itself a new way of life. They advocated pacifism through numerous means of expression. (The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated)

Typically Hippies would buy clothing items from the flea markets and then design them themselves. A lot of these items were worn by both males and females, such as, jeans, peasant blouses, dashikis, bell-bottom pants, and vests. Women rarely used any makeup. The designs and motifs were inspired by the African, Latin and Native American designs. (The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated)

To this day, Hippie fashion is still in vogue, such as necklaces and bags, and other rustic accessories and ornaments. The Hippie fashion was not meant to be attractive or good-looking, as it was a way of protesting against the big corporations and the extremely restrictive societal norms. Today, however, the long full skirts which were also characteristic of the Hippie movement are considered to be very feminine. The sandals that became popular during the Hippie movement are also considered beautiful these days. Long hair in men was almost an alien outlook but by 1990s it morphed into just another hair-style. However, long hairdo is still associated with rebellion and rock and roll. (The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated)

The methods of decorating homes were also influenced by the Hippie movement. They usually chose rustic styles and thought that buying costly accessories and furniture was a mere waste of money. It was also considered a waste of time because people did not think that beautification of appearance or looks was that important. Following this ideology, they started to make blankets, quilts and cushions themselves. This allowed them to get more innovative according to their liking and taste. They were able to take place of commodities that were produced in bulk. Until today, the home decoration style introduced by the Hippies is considered very stylish. (The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated)

The designers of the time used very bold colors and designs in their clothes. The liberal fashion of the time defied the niceties and conventional ways of earlier days. Social customs that dictated what should be worn by whom, where, and when, were countered. There was no distinction between ‘casual wear’ and ‘formal wear’ any more. However, differences between the styles that were to be followed by women, and those to be followed by men, were maintained. Unisex clothing also gained popularity in the 1960s. For instance, denim jeans, which both, males and females could wear. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

The short for ‘modern’ is ‘mod’. The ‘mod’ fashion gained popularity in London, from where it advanced to Europe, America, and Australia. This was a new lifestyle based on blooming fashion, pop music, and the art scene. Much emphasis was on the ‘new’ and innovative lifestyles. The mod fashion is characterized with bold geometric patterns and slender fitting. Bright and wild hues took place of the traditional shades of browns, greys, and pastels which were popular in the 1950s. Unlike the past trends in fashion industry, the new popular clothing was affordable and mass-produced. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

Until the advent of the Hippie fashion, the dresses and skirts were at knee-length in Australia. However, with the Hippie culture gaining popularity, mini-skirts became popular too. The raised hemlines were much criticized as centimeters of thigh were never exposed in the public before in such a bold manner. Jean Shrimpton, who is an English model, faced the disapproval of many for wearing a skirt with hem well above the knees and a synthetic white shift dress, in 1965 at the Melbourne Cup. Her appearance became scandalous as she did not even wear gloves, stocking or a hat. At that point in time, it was in news all over the globe. However, mini-skirts and shift dresses were socially acceptable by the end of the decade. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

The mini-skirts were much more than a fashion statement. It was an expression of the rebellion that was a part of the general culture in 1960s. Youngsters and their fashion were defying the former social standards. The feminists of the time considered the mini-skirt as an icon of their right of freedom to display their bodies as they liked with pride. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

Various celebrities exhibited unique fashion styles which were imitated all over the globe. Leslie Hornby, a British teenage supermodel, who was referred to as ‘Twiggy’ because of her stick-thin physique, was idolized by al fashionable young girls worldwide. Leslie had a waif-like figure and short boyish hair. She had been on the cover page of most of the popular fashion magazines. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

Though the Hippie fashion was mainly induced by the youth, older women also adopted the Hippie fashion icons. Audrey Hepburn, famous movie star, always wore three-quarter length pants, simple and flat shoes, and plain black shift dresses, for the duration of her career. Her beehive hairstyle and clothing was imitated by myriads of women all over the globe. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

US President, John F. Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, was famous for her elegant dressing, beauty, and graceful style. Through her appearances before the public, the pillbox hat, a small hat that had straight sides and a flat top, got popularized. The simple, big-buttoned suits that she adorned and the pearl necklaces also pleased the crowd. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

Hippie’s movement had newly emerged in Australia by the end of 1960s. Youngsters thought of the prevailing norms as materialistic and depthless. Their dissatisfaction about the mainstream social values were growing at a fast pace. The rest were also against Australia’s interference in the war of Vietnam. Young people were propelled to endorse values of freedom, peace, and love. They adopted a different lifestyle. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

A number of people adopted nomadic lifestyle and shared-living. Drugs also became very popular and dressing style had grown to be very rebellious to the conventional ways. A lot of people also tried to explore religions of the East. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

African and Indian cultures greatly influenced the fabrics and clothing trends. Paisley prints, natural fabrics, and tie-dyed prints also gained popularity. Fringes and beads were used by people for embellishment and beautification of personal items. People often wore handcrafted ornaments and clothes. Peace signs and flowers symbolized the Hippie ideology. Using leather sandals became common, and sometimes people even preferred being bare-footed. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

It was usual for both, males and females, to keep long hair. Men also often had long facial hair. As mentioned earlier, denim jeans appeared in various new styles like panted jeans, bell-bottomed, marbled, and tie-dyed. It was staple attire adorned by youngsters throughout the 1960s as the influence of the Hippie movement intensified. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

The incitement about the first ever landing on the moon, and space exploration also had substantial impact on the fashion scenario in the 1960s. PVC, polyester, vinyl, plastic, and other creative synthetic materials were also well liked during that period. Wool, cotton and other natural materials, combined with man-made fibres, were used to make new blended fabrics. Because of the impact of animal rights movement, artificial fur and leather fabrics were made with new technology for the first time. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

It was possible to produce clothes at a faster pace and by incurring much less costs through the use of bulk-production methods and enhanced fabrics. Young people’s tastes changed much quickly, therefore, clothes were done away with at a faster pace as well. (Interactive schooling, 2009)

Mr. Florian Kunkel, in his paper on ‘The Hippie Movement’, states that the Hippie clothing played a substantial role in their self-identification. When we try to visualize a Hippie, we think of a guy with long wild hair and beards. For females, it’s the image of long haired women with lots of colorful beads. Oftentimes they often wore a single flower in their hair, but it posed a practical problem, about how to fix it there. The ‘right’ hippie wardrobe was supposed to be full of buttons, dirty, worn out, and the peace symbol was almost compulsory. (Florian Kunkel, not dated)

At the time when the Hippie movement initially set in, Army clothing was in vogue. The colors of Army wardrobe, the brown and the green, reflected their mental link to their natural surroundings. Initially, however, they were used so that it would be convenient to hide in the meadows and the forests. It was also             provocative to wear camouflage clothing as a rebel against societal norms and lover or peace. As the Hippie movement became more ‘in’, the tie-dyeing technique, which had originated from Indonesia, gained the likeness of the masses. It satisfied all their purposes, namely, an opportunity to be innovative, the ability to use fabric that was less costly, the use of bold and vibrant colors, and that everyone was able to do it while sitting at home. (Florian Kunkel, not dated)

During the second half of the 1960s, San Francisco grew to be an excellent market for dye products. Women wore skirts with floral patterns. They also wore wide skirts that were often tie-dyed. Later in the 1960s, bell-bottom trousers became very trendy in the Bay Area, followed by the whole country first, and then it spread worldwide. It was usual to wear fabrics that resembled with those of Indians. Particularly, head-bands of multiple colors and stone necklaces were very well-liked. They also helped in keeping the long hair maintained and prevented them to fall into the face, while setting a fashion trend at the same time. (Florian Kunkel, not dated)

As anticipated, these changes made the older generation upset, which too was the aim of the movement. The young people wanted to have a radical new look to differentiate themselves from the conservative parents and their traditional society. As a result, a lot of these youngsters were kicked out from their homes, as parents could not tolerate a behavior as rebellious as having long hair! San Francisco became their ‘promised land’. A lot of these people went there and so the Hippie clan continued to prosper. People here were not bothered by the length of the hair or the tie-dyed shirts. (Florian Kunkel, not dated)

A lot of people refer to the 1960 Hippie fashion as oxymoron as their ideology of counterculture was based on nonconformist ideas. Hence, they say that the clothes that Hippies wore could not be included in ‘fashion’, as they were merely a form of expression. Though it may partially be true, the fact that Hippies did have a significant impact on the fashion scenario can not be neglected. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

‘Hippies’, which comes from ‘hipster’, came into being after 1950s as an outgrowth of the Beat movement. Their main objective was to go back to natural ways and to get free from the society that demanded conformist behavior. It is believed that hippies did not shampoo their hair; however this is not true, although their hairdo was usually fussy. Peasant jeans and blouses took place of the Beatniks’ clothing: black trousers and turtlenecks. Self-made stuff was much valued, whether it was knit, sewn, or woven. This ‘do-it-yourself’ approach later lead to trend of dyeing own clothes. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

Though there were not any restrictions on the fashion and clothing styles and the idea was pretty much ‘anything goes’, there still are certain salient features of the Hippie fashion, some of which have already been discussed. Hip-hugging bell-bottomed jeans, typically with flower patches and fringes at the ankle, were very common. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

This era marks fundamental changes in the fashion world as youth had taken charge in form of the Hippie movement and they were deciding what was to be deemed as socially acceptable and what not. When suede knee-high boots were worn by the young girls along with short skirts, it almost gave some people apoplexy. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

Women’s dresses were loose peasant, long or granny dresses, or else the skimmed and short body ones. A peasant dress signified Renaissance maiden. They would also typically have flowing ribbons on the dress and the hair. Flowers were also one of the major accessories. Flowers were very symbolic for the Hippie ideology, as they are emblems of love and peace at their best, and therefore, they were present everywhere during the Hippie era. Apart from real flowers used for adorning hair and the floral patterns on different items of clothing, people would also paint the flower images on their skin. According to them a display of natural beauty was very essential given the prevailing ugliness in the world. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

Music is also one of the salient features of the Hippie movement. Women loved to wear jewelry items that made music. For instance, jingly ankle bracelets and pendants of featured bells were much desired for. The ankle bracelets attracted a lot of attention as people oftentimes remained barefooted, particularly those who lived on the warm West coast. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

Though fashion had been previously be influenced by various youth movements, this one is said to have the strongest influence. Designers were always in search of signals from the youth about the kind of clothing they wanted to wear. A vast majority of the American female population was dictated by the Hippie fashion, and since then no other movement has had such a strong impact. (SJ Stratford, 2009)

Hippies opened up new prospects for the coming generations, which allow them to get more innovative. With widespread Hippie ideology, followed by its gradual acceptance, a vast majority of people are able to exercise the fashion and styles as per their liking and comfort, and without being judged on that basis. This is why the Hippie movement is no longer directly associated with rebellious behavior and drugs, but with a free personality. (The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated)

References

Florian Kunkel, The Hippie Movement, not dated, http://www.florian-kunkel.de/fa.pdf, Accessed on March 1, 2009

Interactive schooling, Fashion in the 1960s, 2009, http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-14_u-189_t-507_c-1878/fashion-in-the-1960s/nsw/history/australia-s-social-and-cultural-history-in-post-war-period/social-and-cultural-features-of-the-1960s, Accessed on March 1, 2009

SJ Stratford, Women’s Fashion, 1960s Hippie Fashion, 2009, http://womens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/1960s_Hippie_Fashion, Accessed on March 1, 2009

The Summer of Love and The New 1960 Fashion, not dated, http://www.1960-clothes.com/The-New-1960-Fashion.aspx, Accessed on March 1, 2009

 

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