Fashion magazines showcase the latest trends, and play an important role in the mediation of fashion. The reader’s attention is initially captured by the front cover, and is essential in determining whether the magazine will be bought or put back.
The main aim of the magazine cover has always been to elicit attention, to arouse interest and to encourage the magazine’s sale.
The way in which magazine design has developed from the 1950s until today is evident in these images drawn from the various decades. Over time, the cover has become increasingly dominated by photography. These covers are very telling in how women’s fashion magazines became such a dominant force, and how the “ideal woman” transformed through the last 70 years.
Fashion exhibition: Magazine cover wallLandesmuseum Württemberg
Jardin des Modes
The French fashion magazine Jardin des Modes was founded in the 1950s. With the breakthrough of prêt-à-porter fashion, it became an advocate for ready-to-wear clothing. The three mannequins on the cover make this clear: with their identical poses and dresses with a similar cut they exemplify the standardization of body measurements introduced by the concept of standardized sizes.
Jardin des Modes, october 1958 (1958)Landesmuseum Württemberg
Despite limited consumer choice in the GDR - fashion options were scarce as well- the establishment of the magazine Sibylle introduced a publication with aesthetic standards. It successfully combined fashion photos and everyday photographic observations. The fashion trends from Paris were not ignored and regularly featured in the “Vogue of the East”.
Sibylle, 2/1974 (1974)Landesmuseum Württemberg
The British fashion magazine i-D appeared for the first time in 1980 and still contextualizes fashion in relation to music, youth culture and lifestyle. Street fashion is considered a source of inspiration for fashion. The magazine refuses to adopt an elitist understanding of fashion like that of Vogue. It depicts the world of young people of all genders. Its increasing success has allowed it to draw nearer to the taste of the masses.
i-D, June/July 2009 (2009)Landesmuseum Württemberg
Role Models and Style Icons
In order to disseminate itself, fashion requires people, places and media. Once it was the aristocracy whose style was imitated, but since the middle of the 20th century, this role has been overtaken by personalities from sports, politics, art and culture, as well as international influencers. Fashion role models and style icons also actively shape how we see our own bodies.
The Kate Effect
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her choice of clothing consistently draw the attention of the media. She is known for combining inexpensive clothing from the fast fashion industry with designer pieces.
The Duchess wore this light blue and white striped summer dress from the clothing chain Zara at a polo match in 2018. A few days later, the dress was sold out across Europe.
Inclusive Fashion Statement
Halima Aden was the first hijab-wearing model to walk the runways for western designers to present their fashion collections, and the first to appear on numerous covers of fashion magazines.
Her aim is to make headscarves a natural everyday accessory. Collaborating with the fashion label Modanisa, she designed a headscarf collection and, in doing so, became a role model for many.
Fashion and Feminism
The feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has criticized Western images and representation of African countries. She communicates this also in her choice of clothing, and dresses herself in outfits from Nigerian fashion labels, sharing her images with the hashtags #WearNigerian and #MadeinNigeria.She is also fond of the Orange Culture brand, well-known for its gender-neutral designs.
Seventy years after Christian Dior's "New Look" first appeared, Maria Grazia Chuiri, Dior's first female creative director presented her debut collection. One of the collection pieces was a T-Shirt with the slogan "We should all be feminists". This references one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talks, in which the Nigerian author and activist questions gender norms in educational methods.
Fashion and Hip-Hop
Today, many hip-hop artists often collaborate with fashion labels and even launch joint collections. One of them is German rapper RIN, who was born in Bietigheim-Bissingen. His lyrics also reference fashion.
So fans pay close attention to what RIN wears in his music videos: the fashion YouTuber justin performs a style check, analysing every single part of his outfit.
Strike A Pose!
Inspired by the fashion magazine Vogue, “Voguing” is a style of dance that originated in the 1980s in New York’s gay and transsexual scene. Its movements are derived from the striding gait of models on the catwalk and the expressive posing of fashion photography. Unrepresented in the largely white and heteronormative world of fashion at the time due to their sexual orientation and the colour of their skin, the dancers created their own fashion world. In 1990, Madonna’s music video for the song “Vogue” brought this dance stylefame around the world.
Strike a Pose! | FASHION?! | Landesmuseum Württemberg, StuttgartLandesmuseum Württemberg
Changes in Meaning
A sneaker is not just a sneaker! You too have probably noticed that we play different roles in different items of clothing. However, items of clothing also change their meaning depending on who wears them, when, and in what context.
These examples from different decades and various social contexts show this.What used to be a normal sneaker for wearing in PE class, people wear today as a symbol of luxury and prosperity. We ourselves slip into new roles with every outfit we put on. In the same way, every piece of clothing is interpreted differently depending on the time, the place and the person wearing it.
Fashion exhibition: Room "Changes in Meaning"Landesmuseum Württemberg
Trainers with canvas uppers and rubber soles were initially manufactured as sportswear. 100 years later, sneakers were on their way to success, and became one of the most widely popular articles of clothing. Sneakers have developed something of a cult status in recent years.
Fashion exhibition: SneakerLandesmuseum Württemberg
The iconic Converse "All-Star"was designed in 1917 as a sport shoe. Due to its original high upper, the shoe was above all popular with basketball players. Chuck Taylor, an enthusiastic and active employee, contributed greatly to the success of the enterprise.
Because of this, his name has adorned the Converse logo since 1932. As rubber prices fell, demand for "All-Stars", which have hardly changed since 1949, emerged among the general public, outside of sports.
Sneaker „All Stars“ (21st century)Landesmuseum Württemberg
Veja is Portuguese for "See!" and this points to the ethos of this French-Brazilian sneaker brand, which seeks to manufacture shoes fairly and utilize resources sustainably.
In order to do this, this enterprise works closely in cooperation with Brazilian farmers, who produce the natural rubber for the shoe soles.
The rather restrained design consciously expresses itself in materials and forms that run counter to the prevailing sneaker-trends; because of this, there is currently high demand for these shoes.
Sneaker “V-10 Extra White Nautico Pekin” (2017) by Sébastien Kopp for VejaOriginal Source: Private loan
Sneakers instead of High-Heels
The aesthetics of the "Triple S" have been the subject of dispute. This sports shoe, which has also been deemed the "ugly sneaker", is no sporty lightweight, rather it brings to mind the platform shoes of the 1990s. Massive in form with thick bulky soles and available in striking colours, this shoe has made a splash in the world of fashion and ranks among the most popular sports shoes today.
Sneaker „Triple S“ (2010)Landesmuseum Württemberg
Fashion is a central component and driving force in the consumer society. Seasonal collections are short-lived and continuously create new needs and desires.
Compared to the purchasing of other products, those buying clothing decide based on the situation and impulse.
From 2000 to 2015, global fashion consumption doubled.
Over the same timespan, spending has hardly increased.
This is primarily because fashion industry production has been moved to low-wage countries, and the resulting products can be acquired at disproportionately cheap prices.
Fashion exhibition: Room "fashion consumption"Landesmuseum Württemberg
At a marketplace in Ghana, the artist Jojo Gronostay purchased second-hand European clothes and printed them with a new label: DWMC or Dead White Men's Clothes.
By doing this he is referring to the idea prevalent among Ghanaians that assumes that most of these second-hand clothes belonged to white people who had died. Back in Europe, the artist sells these labeled articles of clothing at high prices.
Shirt and skirt (2018) by Jojo Gronostay for DWMCLandesmuseum Württemberg
No matter what kind of fashion is the best fit for you – you will certainly have noticed that fashion is never clear; it means something different to everyone, and it is always changing.
It has been our pleasure to take you on a journey through the world of fashion. Perhaps today has changed the way you look at fashion a little.
Fashion exhibition: Room "FASHION?!"Landesmuseum Württemberg
Special Exhibition 2020/2021, Fashion?! The Elements of Style, 24.10.2020-25.04.2021, The Württemberg State Museum, Altes Schloss, Schillerplatz 6, 70173 Stuttgart
Catalogue: Fashion?! Was Mode zu Mode macht, hg. vom Landesmuseum Württemberg Stuttgart, Belser Verlag Stuttgart 2020, ISBN 978-3-7630-2862-7
Cover photo: Bruce B. (Stuttgart)
Exhibition design: Raimund Docmac & Steffen Vetterle (Stuttgart)
Videos: EMENES GmbH (Stuttgart)
Audiotexts: Tonwelt GmbH (Berlin)