By the early years of the 21st century, western clothing styles had, to some extent, become international styles. This process began hundreds of years earlier, during the periods of European colonialism. The process of cultural dissemination has perpetuated over the centuries as Western media corporations have penetrated markets throughout the world, spreading Western culture and styles. Fast fashion clothing has also become a global phenomenon. These garments are less expensive, mass-produced Western clothing. Donated used clothing from Western countries are also delivered to people in poor countries by charity organizations.
The world of clothing is always changing, as new cultural influences meet technological innovations. Researchers in scientific labs have been developing prototypes for fabrics that can serve functional purposes well beyond their traditional roles, for example, clothes that can automatically adjust their temperature, repel bullets, project images, and generate electricity. Some practical advances already available to consumers are bullet-resistant garments made with kevlar and stain-resistant fabrics that are coated with chemical mixtures that reduce the absorption of liquids.
Though mechanization transformed most aspects of human industry by the mid-20th century, garment workers have continued to labor under challenging conditions that demand repetitive manual labor. Mass-produced clothing is often made in what are considered by some to be sweatshops, typified by long work hours, lack of benefits, and lack of worker representation. While most examples of such conditions are found in developing countries, clothes made in industrialized nations may also be manufactured similarly.
Coalitions of NGOs, designers (including Katharine Hamnett, American Apparel, Veja, Quiksilver, eVocal, and Edun) and campaign groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights as well as textile and clothing trade unions have sought to improve these conditions as much as possible by sponsoring awareness-raising events, which draw the attention of both the media and the general public to the workers.
The use of animal fur in clothing dates to prehistoric times. It is currently associated in developed countries with expensive, designer clothing, although fur is still used by indigenous people in arctic zones and higher elevations for its warmth and protection. Once uncontroversial, it has recently been the focus of campaigns on the grounds that campaigners consider it cruel and unnecessary. PETA, along with other animal rights and animal liberation groups have called attention to fur farming and other practices they consider cruel.
Clothing suffers assault both from within and without. The human body sheds skin cells and body oils, and exudes sweat, urine, and feces. From the outside, sun damage, moisture, abrasion and dirt assault garments. Fleas and lice can hide in seams. Worn clothing, if not cleaned and refurbished, itches, looks scruffy, and loses functionality (as when buttons fall off, seams come undone, fabrics thin or tear, and zippers fail).
In some cases, people wear an item of clothing until it falls apart. Cleaning leather presents difficulties, and bark cloth (tapa) cannot be washed without dissolving it. Owners may patch tears and rips, and brush off surface dirt, but old leather and bark clothing always look old.
Clothes……ever since we began wrapping ourselves in leaves and animal skins, clothing has represented a very important part of our needs. So important it is, studies show that clothing ranks with food and shelter in a hierarchy of needs1.
In different ages, people have valued particular clothing for different reasons; to cover their nakedness, for protection from bad weather, for protection in war or for the status or symbol associated with particular clothing and more.
Perhaps, it is not fair to say that through all these ages no people ever had a fascination of clothes as in our time… But we must agree that we have set giant strides in the business of clothing; from the head-aching prices of some clothes to the worldwide appeals of some brands and the vivacity with which these brands are patronized. Welcome to the world of Designer Clothing.
Designer clothing is distinguished from other brands by the name it bears (and there is quite a long list of names): the rule is, the ´bigger` the name, the more excited the customer, the more expensive the cloth.
It is agreed that the history of designer clothes began in the 19th century, “Charles Frederick Worth… was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created”2.
The Designer Clothing industry has grown so much since then…it has spread from Europe to the other continents of the world with notable designers from The Americas, Asia, and The Middle East getting international recognition and patronage.
The clothes made by these designers has also changed over the years with inputs by different peoples from different cultures with different experiences the designer clothing industry today is a reflection of the creativity of the designers, the groundbreaking job of their marketers and the gullibility(or otherwise) of the people.
Depending on the particular clothing being talked about the answer to both questions may be yes or no.
What people go to buy when they visit an outlet that deals in designer clothes is the image that being seen with that brand bestows on them (this may be due to a particular celebrity using that brand or due to the marketing theme of the company), people buy designer clothes to get the exclusivity that having the particular brand confers on them……they are buying the status and symbol not the clothing.