How did the fashion industry show the changing position of consumerism and youth culture in the 1960s?
During the 1960s the average person was earning more than ever before. Higher wages and a shorter working week allowed more disposable income. The money burned holes in the earner’s pockets and they needed something to spend it on. New technology had led to a higher quality of life and music began to become a major force on the market but it is in the fashion industry where the rise in consumerism and emergence of a youth culture can be easily observed.
Historically in Britain there were two age groups that a person fell into, children or adults, and depending on how old you were you dressed accordingly. For example, a boy in the 30s would dress in shorts and long socks until he was old enough to wear a suit and represent a smaller version of his father. In the 60s these age groups were interrupted from normalcy by the emergence of the ‘teenager’. In fashion this created a vacuum in the market filled by a generation that had not lived through the war but had been brought up with the benefits of a recovering economy and boom in technology. These youths desired consumer items to spend their money on and fashion entrepreneurs took advantage.
Mary Quant, a British designer, decided that she was fed up with the poor selection of clothes available on the market at the time and opened up a store with her husband called Bazaar. The store specialized in producing unusual designs and ‘fun’ clothing and soon became a popular haunt of the Chelsea set of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Her clothes epitomized the new desire for individualism in Britain and proved extremely popular. The want for new ideas and rebellious clothes drove the market as more people took interest in the fashion industry, which had been previously reserved for only the wealthy and famous.
The fashion industry represented a new way of thinking for the country. The mass market could now be...