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INVENTION AND REINVENTION

“Your dresses have such a new look”
- Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar to Christian Dior

The New Look was the name given to a style of women’s clothing launched by Christian Dior in his first haute couture collection presented in Paris in 1947. Bloomsbury Fashion Central now has a new look of its own which we’re delighted to share with our users.

Dior’s New Look made its impact through a reimagination of form, style and structure and we hope that you will enjoy the redesigned visuals and experience when discovering our fashion resources once more.

Invention and reinvention embody the spirit of fashion and evolving approaches to the adornment of the body – from the sparks of creative inspiration that lead to the reality of product innovation, to fearless rebranding and the ethical ingenuity of reuse and recycling.


Inspiration to Reality

Model from Alexander McQueen, Fall/Winter 1998 show
Image Credit: Alexander McQueen, Autumn/Winter 1998. Fashion Photography Archive.

The inspiration to realise a new idea in the turbulent world of fashion often evolves from recombining the past, interpreting the zeitgeist or daring to conceive something from ‘regulated chaos’ that deviates from expectations. This ‘generative moment’ can happen in street fashion or subcultures as much as through the work of professional creative genius!

Current fashion design is often defined by consumerism or ‘the cyclic world of revival’, but when it comes to realising and sourcing inspiration for a new collection, various skilled creative people, such as brand specialists or production planners are still required. Discover more about Creating a Collection in a Big Company in the context of Hugo Boss.

Realising fashion innovation is also a process of dissemination, moving from the primary stage involving ‘fashion insiders’ through influencers, distribution and the fashion scene to the quartiary stage or ‘fashion-conscious masses’ as When is Innovation describes. It examines innovation through the ages, using design examples from Mary Quant to Rei Kawakubo and exploring everything from fashion fusions with sports or workwear, to apparel that cross borders, genders, and even technology in the form of wearables like ‘Hug Shirts’.

Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ is a rich example of repercussive innovation – learn about its origins as a reaction against wartime style and a stylistic desire to ‘sculpt contours’, its social impact, and how it inspired the contemporary works of Jean-Paul Gaultier and Yohji Yamamoto.

An innovation may generate ‘social enthusiasm’ or it also may be defined by expert observers as part of the art sphere, like remote-control dresses by Hussein Chalayan. In time though, the thrill of all innovations fades, making space for new ‘creative destruction’.

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Rebranding

Photo of David Bowie wearing an eye patch, 1974
Image Credit: Getty Images.
“Only those who accept change are able to grow.”
- Paul Wilson

The characteristics of a strong brand are identified in Fashion Branding Unravelled as, ‘a strong identity (…) innovative, consistent, competitively positioned, and a positive (customer) image’. What then can be the impact of destabilizing a brand to create a new identity?

A master of the rebrand, David Bowie’s career comprised several alter egos - each with their own distinct sartorial feel - developed for his various concept albums, including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and the Thin White Duke. Discover how his playful, chameleonic approach to fashion explored a variety of identities and questioned gender divides, inspiring designers such as Dries Van Noten and Hedi Slimane. In his own words he was “the first pop star to invent masks to hide behind”.

Calvin Klein was not afraid to deviate from the expectations set by his previous works when he presented his spring/summer 1993 collection – look back at the catwalk photos which show a more natural look that ‘diminished the importance of the hyper-glam supermodel aesthetic’.

Technologies and innovations are having a current impact on the branding concept and process. Learn about redefining a brand in response to models such as mass customization or experiential branding in Redesigning the Brand. An abiding challenge for fashion businesses is the maturing of their brand and customers, creating a need to revitalize their offerings. Step into the shoes of the CEO of a mature brand, ‘Alexander Castiglione’, in a theoretical scenario which explores brand repositioning to reach new customers and the use of line extensions to maintain relevance in a shifting marketplace.

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Reuse/Recycle

Co-Founders of Conscious Commerce Olivia Wilde and Babs Burchfield pose together at H&M Conscious Exclusive event at H&M Showroom on April 4, 2016 in New York City.
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Reinvention can also be about new uses for waste such as discarded clothing products or material collected during product manufacturing - recycling them to create new apparel or selling them for other purposes. More than 50 percent of post-industrial textile waste is reused or recycled in some fashion and many used or ‘post-consumer’ products are deconstructed to be used as raw material for recycled textile fibres. Follow the threads of this process and learn more about the three main types of recycling, mechanical, melt processing, and chemical, in Recycled/Circular Textiles Technologies.

‘Is it possible for sustainable fashion to be beautiful and good for the planet?’ - In 2002, architect William McDonough and green chemist, Dr. Michael Braungart laid out a new design methodology in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Read about the application of its principles for the ‘Next Industrial Revolution’ i.e. 1) ‘Everything equals food’, 2) ‘Produce with renewable energy’, 3) ‘Celebrate diversity’ when applied to the fashion industry and supply chain.

In a scenario set out in the Textiles Take Back business case, join the owners of local fashion retailer, ‘Junie’s Boutique’, as they seek to create a ‘strategic plan that demonstrates a purposeful retailing commitment to environmental sustainability’. The case study shows how to implement sustainable ‘take-back plans’, varying from receiving specific items, such as shoes or bras, to accepting any unwanted clothing and accessories.

Finally, explore the prescient collections of designer Martin Margiela which explored reuse, recycling, and reconstruction. Watch one of his shows and read about how he pre-empted ‘the wider social change that would follow of environmental awareness and rejection of fast fashion.’

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  • Man's robe (Berg Fashion Library museum image - subscriber-only content)

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