9 Inventions That Changed Fashion Once and for All
Fashion is inconsistent, yet there are a couple of things that never seem to leave the runways.
The team at Bright Side decided to dig into the history of cult fashion items, which not only changed fashion but the planet as a whole.
In the 17th century, the Italian city of Genoa exported a papyrus textile, which was soon called "gênes." In 1873, entrepreneur Levi Strauss secured a patent to create the famous blue jeans. At the time, it was designed as men’s workwear: overalls with pockets for a knife and coins. Since then, jeans have become a favorite item of clothing worldwide. By the way, Strauss’s company is functioning to this day under the famous Levi’s brand.
It’s hard to imagine that heels were worn exclusively by men up until the 17th century. In Medieval Europe, wooden clogs were popular because such shoes could handle dirt. In the 16th century, heeled boots were comfortable to wear for horse riders as they didn’t slide through the stirrups. Stiletto heels appeared only in the 20th century, and they are now a wardrobe necessity of every woman.
Michele Bernardini wearing a bikini, 1946
Paris, 1946. A model walked the fashion runway in a two-piece swimsuit created by designer Louis Réard, causing a wide controversy with her provocative bikini debut. At the time, such revealing attire was seen as highly promiscuous. The swimwear got its name from an atoll called Bikini, where atomic bomb tests were held. Only a few years later did the swimsuit stop shocking the public, as soon as Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe added it to their wardrobes.
6. Little Black Dress
Coco Chanel, 1935
The groundbreaking little black dress by Chanel is surrounded by many legends. Some say she could not stand puffy fancy dresses and was inspired to make the legendary dress to create a new elegant look. According to another legend, Chanel came up with the dress in 1926 as a tribute to her deceased lover. Her creation caused a sensation in the fashion world, and Vogue called it "Chanel’s Ford." To this day, the little black dress is considered an attribute of impeccable taste and elegance; it will most likely never go out of style.
5. Nylon Stockings
Before the 20th century, fashionistas did not have much choice on this front: stockings were either woolen and itchy or silky and short lived. Until 1935, when American chemists DuPont introduced nylon, a fiber which promised to be stronger than steel and thinner than a spider web. In no time, nylon stockings became a bestseller: they had a beautiful fit and were durable and inexpensive. Nylon tights were soon introduced, as well as synthetic legwear, making their way into every woman’s wardrobe.
4. Leather Jacket
The bomber jacket was invented in the USA during WWI specifically for pilots: it protected them from cold weather and was comfortable to wear. In 1928, the Schott company developed a leather jacket with a zipper, which later became known as a biker jacket. Of course, leather jackets became popularized when they were seen on Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando. Since then, leather jackets have become a symbol of freedom and rebelliousness.
Designer and model Mary Quant kept a small but very trendy shop in London. It was the place where the youth came for new fashion statement pieces. In the late ’50s, the miniskirt became a bestseller, as well as a subject of fury among the general population. But once the rebellious ’60s struck, a miniskirt became a necessary attribute of every woman. It was even worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, and Queen Elizabeth II honored Mary Quant with the Order of the British Empire medal.
2. Mackintosh Trench Coat
Today this simple and elegant waterproof trench is copied by hundreds of brands worldwide, but its invention was, in fact, an accident. Chemist Charles Mackintosh accidentally dropped a rubber solution on his suit and noticed that the fabric became waterproof. He started a company specializing in waterproof coats. However, they were not very good at first: they smelled of rubber, melted in the heat, and cracked in the cold. With time, the fabric quality improved and the useful and stylish trench coats have reserved a definite place in our wardrobes.
The bra was "invented" several times, and each time it went through a series of changes. In ancient times, women wore breast bandages, followed by corsets, and only by the early 20th century did the bra take the shape we know today. The first bras were made by the brand Caresse Crosby. They did not cause much fuss at first, as women had gotten used to corsets. But with time, bras gained popularity, and various brands began to produce more styles, trying to encompass both beauty and usefulness in this crucial element of womenswear.