Blog Post Week 6 – Gender and Fashion


Gender and Fashion

I have chosen to discuss the iconic skinny jeans, one of the most widely worn garments today. Worn by both the male and female sex’s in today society.                                                                    





The Skinny Jeans Development

Skinny Jeans is not actually the correct name for these pants; it is a modern day slang name for what were once called slim-fit pants. This garment was designed in the 1800’s by Levi Strauss along with other jean cut styles such as roomy.

Slim-fits were reintroduced in the 1950’s by Levi, and took full flight in their fashion iconism through the countercultures and beatnik generation. In following years they became key features of both the rock and punk fashion scene. Hype faded in the 90’s for the trend, but it came back even stronger in new millennium in retaliation to the baggy jean trend of the 90’s. This is when slim-fits became known as the modernised skinny Jeans. In recent years skinnies have been developed further and designed in more flattering figure shapes for the individual and in a diverse range of colours, textures and patterns.

How is this item gendered?

‘Jeans came about by chance, when an American pioneer in search of a strong pair of trousers happened to meet an immigrant…to make his fortune.’

Jeans were created for labour work. They were designed with the American miner, cattle herder and rail tracks layer in mind. All of which were male based society jobs at the time.

It wasn’t until World War I and more so in World War II that women began to wear this durable piece of clothing designed nearly 100 years earlier.

Since then this garment has become a unisex piece of attire.

The fashion edge to this garment wasn’t fully explored or introduced until the 1950’s when Levi chose to modernize the garment to suit the developing subculture trends at this time.



Is this the same in all countries?

America is where the trend truly began and in the following years during the 1950’s, the garments interest was carried across to European countries through the use of film, music and television.

This in turn embedded skinnies (slim-fit) worldwide in the fashion industry, where they remain today.



Designers who may have challenged the items original gender convention?

The brand that created the skinny (slim-fit) as always been its developer.

The Levi brand under the leadership of Walter Haas Jr., Peter Haas, Ed Combs, and Mel Bacharach, challenged the skinny jeans original image. In particular during the 1950’s, 1960’s and the 1970’s, with developments such as white wash jeans.

What does it mean to be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ in our contemporary culture?

The differentiation between feminine and masculine in our contemporary culture has in my opinion become entirely perceptional. What one person sees as feminine, another sees as masculine, the gender perception is all about your own perspective. If you see something as feminine, then it is and vice versa because gender today is based on the individual’s opinion. What used to be by a definition defined by the majority is now being redefined by the minority.

Feminine and masculine gender today is what we, ourselves make it.


Has the meaning changed?

The meaning has changed drastically since we as people decided to create these divisions.

For example blue was originally for girls and pink for boys as babies, but today pink is for girls and blue for boys. Gender in this respect has done a complete 360 turn around.

In my opinion gender will always have basic ideas, but will never stop diversifying, because the perception of  gender develops  as people’s individual opinions  develop.

Book References:

MENDES, V. & DE LA HAYE (1999) Twentieth Century Fashion. London, Thames &


DAMME VAN, R. (1995) JEANS, The Stuff of American history. London: Viking.

Website References:

PAULA COCOZZA (2013) Skinny jeans: the fashion trend that refuses to die. The Gaurdian [Online]. Available from:  [Accessed 6/11/13]

SKINNYJEANSME (2010) Skinny Jeans History [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 6/11/13]

WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 6/11/13]

Online Images:

Fig.1 OVERTHERAINBOWLTD (2013) Art of Denim: Histiry of Skinny Jeans [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Fig.2 PRIYA408 (2011) History of Levi Jeans/Levi Strauss Picture [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Fig.3 WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants Picture 1 [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Fig.4 WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants Picture 2 [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Fig.5 SKINNYJEANSME (2010) Skinny Jeans History [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Fig.6 THEGAURDIAN (2011) The fashion fixers: our advice for jeans [Online image]. Available From: [Accessed 7/11/13].

Blog Post Week 5 – Semiotic Analysis of a Fashion Advertising Campaign

Ralph Lauren Advertising Campaign Spring Summer 2011

Fig1- Fig.4

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What does it symbolise?

The ad symbolises sophisticated outdoor fashion, lifetime investment pieces, classic and timeless fashion pieces, modern day western cowgirl chic.

What does the brand say about the people who wear it?

It tells us that they’re outgoing, unique, intellectual, practical, hardworking, fashion conscious, self-assured people.

How does the advert convey the identity of the brand?

Well made, quality, American, timeless/classic, quality leather goods.

Brand Message

Natural quality materials used to create classic fashion pieces.

The heels, belts and bags specialist.

What signifiers/symbols does the advert contain?

White background– the sole focus in the ad is the quality of the clothes.

Brown– writing American Western Heritage feel.

Model– Signifies the prospective customer and gives the message that people who wear these cloths are confident, elegant and not afraid to work.

Belt Buckle Designs– Show creativity, quality, and the brands heritage influence.

What do these signifiers stand for?

They stand for the brand image Ralph Lauren wants to promote to his target market.

How effectively is the ‘brand message’ communicated?

I think the brand image is communicated clearly.

When you hear the name Ralph Lauren, I personally believe you look at the brand logo and think Texas chic, timeless fashion pieces and intellectual hardworking customers.


Text & Position: The text is kept to a minimum and placed in the bottom, top and in painting contexts the golden section of the composition. The sole focus is the brand merchandise.

Typography: Brush Script and Times New Roman. This communicates the elegant and timeless quality of the brand, they don’t need to make a flashy ad the product speaks for itself.

Colours: Browns, creams, beige’s, whites and metallic. Classic timeless colours that never go out of style. They also communicate the natural, earthy, ethnic, western and tribal inspiration for the AW11 Spring Summer Collection.

The Pose of the model:

The pose of the model is very versatile; she has been dressed naturally to enable the customer of the brand to picture themself wearing the cloths. I think this is done so you can interpret the brand in whatever way you want. To me she depicts class, confidence, individuality, intellect, wealth, a fashion forward mind and country chic.

Story line interpretation:

When I see this ad I picture the model getting ready for the day. The classic old reliable shoes are on the bed waiting to be strapped on for the day to come. Her bag is in the hall ready for the day reliable, stylish and durable. The belt buckles are on the dresser and she has just picked her look for the day. She is posed as if looking into a mirror having decided she is now ready to face the future. This figure is calm, confident, real and natural. All of which are key qualities and aspects within Ralph Lauren products in my opinion.

Video Reference

RHALPH LAUREN (2011) Spring Summer [Online Video]. Available From: [Accessed 1/11/13]

Book Referenced

LAURIE, A. (2000) The language of clothes. New York: Henry Holt.

LAUREN, R. (2007) Ralph Lauren/Ralph Lauren New York: Rizzoli.

Images for ad link

Fig.1-3 MYFASHIONDATABASE (2011) Ralph Lauren Collection Ad Campaign [Online Images].Available from:[Accessed 1/11/13]

Fig.4 MYFASHIONDATABASE (2011) Ralph Lauren Collection Ad Campaign Pictures [Online Images].Available from:[Accessed 1/11/13]

MYFASHIONDATABASE (2011) Ad Model info [Online].Available from:[Accessed 1/11/13]

CLASSIQ (2011) Summer Styles Ralph Lauren Summer 2011 [Online].Available from:[Accessed 1/11/13]

WOMENSMANAGEMENT (2011) Ralph Lauren Collection Spring 2011 info [Online].Available from:[Accessed 1/11/13]

Week 3 Blog Post – Newspaper Article Observation


Fig.1 Matt Mensley (2012) Urbanears Harris Tweed Plattan Headphones [Online Image]. Available from:  [Accessed 17/10/13].


Fig.2 FIDM Museum (1993) Vivienne Westwood Harris Tweed Suit [Online Image]. Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

British Fashion warms to Wool

Wool Week-What is it?

Wool week is a global campaign for the Woollen industry started by his royal highness the Prince of Wales in a bid to inform consumers of the natural and economically sustainable benefits offered by wool which takes place in October.

The Campaign for wool (2010) Wool Week Campaign [Online].Available from: [Accessed 17/10/13].

British Woollen Industry

Britain has a long history within the woollen industry with a wider variety of wool producing breeds in its fields than anywhere else in the world and the most native breeds at that. The most well-known sheep breeds being the Shaggy Devon and Cornwall Longwool, the Beulah Speckled Face and the unusually named Striped Zwartables.

thegaurdian (2013) It’s Wool Week… [Online] Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

 Harris Tweed

The most famous and internationally known woollen commodity from Britain is Harris Tweed cloth which has been woven by islanders in the Outer Hebrides of Northern Scotland since the 18thcentury. The production of this precious and protected commodity has risen in manufacture by four times its value since 2009.

WIKIPEDIA (2013) Harris Tweed [Online] Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

Harris Tweed Authority (2013) Harris Tweed [Online] Available from: ([Accessed 18/10/13].

THOMPSON, F (1969) The story of Hebridean Industry. New Abbot: David &Charles.

But the question on the fashion industries minds is will it continue to do so?

Recent reports in the fashion industry seem to suggest it’s here to stay, with the rise in demand for this historic British commodity leading to another eight woollen mills opening within Britain over the past decade. Bringing the total number of workers in the British wool industry to 6,000.

DEY, I. (2013) World warms to wool. The Sunday Times, 13th Oct, pp. Available From:

But what caused this Resurgence of demand for Harris Tweed?

Could it be that Vivienne Westwood’s 80’S ‘The Pagan Years Collection’ with this infamous cloth has made a comeback with the rise of interest in vintage attire and the fashion world’s current love for heritage chic. I say completely, the market speaks for itself with brands such as Next, Topman, DM and Sony all buying in to the British Heritage Frenzy.                                                                                  Not only is the fashion and interior industry inundated with this Heritage Chic, but T.V. series such as Dr. Who, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Bomb Girls are all sporting the classic Harris Tweed weaves, all of which are world-wide and internationally acclaimed programmes.

Vivienne Westwood (1988) The Pagan Years Collection [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 18/10/13].

MC DERMOTT, C (2008) Vivienne Westwood. Dubai: Carlton.

The Telegraph (2013) Wool week the best woolly furnishings [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

BBC News The Fashionable rise of Harris tweed (2013)  BBC News TV Clip. Directed by BBCWorldNews225.BBC.

However with issues such as recession in previous years and the national campaigns to encourage consumers to buy the best of British it’s not surprising that people are starting to buy this historic commodity again. If I am honest I’m surprised the resurgence of the Woollen Industry hasn’t happened at a more Global and rapid rate. Considering that both Harris Tweed and wool are so frequently within the public eye.

Additional References

thegaurdian (2013) Harris weed returns to global boutiques after islands’ renaissance [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 19/10/13].

Eric Musgrave (2013) DMs [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

Wool week campaign Info

1) The Campaign for wool (2013) Wool School Arrives [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].

2) Marks and Spencer plc.(2013) Wool week [Online]. Available from:!2750!3!37383028753!e!!g!!wool%20week&ef_id=Ul68jwAAANm3qagE:20131016161927:s[Accessed 17/10/13].

3) (2013) Shetland Wool Week 2013 [Online]. Available from:[Accessed 17/10/13].