By: Emily Lovasz
After having been here for four weeks, we have visited London, Cardiff, Dublin, small towns in Northern Ireland, Belfast and Edinburgh. One common thing between all of the cities we have been to is the fashion. Fashion is a major form of communication between stores and the people that live and even travel to the city.
There are a lot of similar things between stores in the United States and in Europe. There are sales and advertisements in windows for sales going on in the store. One thing I have noticed between Europe and the U.S. is that a lot of elements of fashion from the past are coming back and are more prominent again today.
FASHION IN SCOTLAND
On our first day of visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, our group walked around the National Museum of Scotland. This was a really interesting and interactive museum that had different areas for cars and space, art, animals, and of course, fashion. The fashion section of the museum had glass cases with mannequins dressed in floor-length dresses, shirts, pants and clothes from different decades. The room was darker with bright, white lights that lit up the displays and modern benches. There was a large screen that hung from the ceiling in the center of the room that showed a constant reel of fashion shows.
Not only is a store’s advertisements a form of communication between the sellers and buyers, but the section in the museum and the evolution of fashion and style in general is as well.
A Calvin Klein underwear set from the 1980’s hung in a glass case on one wall of the museum. This brand is still evolving today and people still buy their products. A blouse with large, puffy sleeves and a pair of shoes with flowers sat in the middle of the museum with bright lights shining on them. The shirt and the shoes are still in style today or they have come back into style.
It was interesting to see how fashion has evolved in another country. What people demanded back then was different from what is demanded now. Some styles have changed and evolved, but some have stayed the same as years ago as I saw in the museum.
The screen with the fashion show was also a huge way to communicate new fashion. It is similar in the U.S. and Europe that there are fashion shows to showcase new clothes from designers. Fashion weeks are held in Paris, London and even New York. Customers can see what new clothes are available and designers can showcase their new pieces (even if they are too expensive for us to buy).
Another place we had the chance to visit in Edinburgh was Kinloch Anderson. This 150-year-old company has been making kilts for Scottish clans, individuals and even the Royal Family. Each kilt is made with a tartan, which is a design of multiple colors, horizontal and vertical lines. Each tartan is registered and some clans in Scotland only allow members of their clan to wear that tartan. The Royal Family has a registered tartan that only they are allowed to wear.
The tartans are a great way to communicate in Scotland if you are a member of a clan or if you have Scottish ancestry. A lot of people buy scarves, drink coasters, pins, magnets and other symbolic items with their family name and crest on it. This is similar with each tartan design. Kilts in general also communicate where someone is from. While in Scotland I have seen many people wearing kilts proudly represent the country and its culture. Kinloch Anderson makes kilts for members of a certain clan, but they also create new tartans for individuals who simply want to represent Scotland.
FASHION IN THE U.K.
After visiting Scotland and seeing the museum and Kinloch Anderson and the different ways they use fashion to communicate with the world, I thought about the other cities we have visited and some of the times we have been shopping.
When we first got to London, I noticed a similar but different style of clothing than the U.S. There are similar stores such as Forever 21 and H&M, but then there are stores such as TopShop and Zara. These two stores are based in Europe, but they have also moved overseas with a few stores around the U.S. However, the styles of clothes in the U.S. stores are kind of different than in Europe.
I was excited to look some of the European fashion and buy some of my own to take home. A lot of the stores were intriguing just by the names and what they had displayed in the windows. Similar to home, stores communicate with customers by displaying mannequins with new clothes in the storefronts intriguing people to come in and buy something. In London and Belfast, where we mainly shopped, I looked at the mannequins in the windows and saw different clothes than at home, so I was intrigued to try things on.
My best find were what some of the girls on the trip called “fun pants.” These pants are simply colorful, loose pants that either goes down to your ankles or the ground. This was something I don’t really see in the stores at home and I was excited to bring some new things home with me. The two pairs of pants I got both went down to my ankles. One pair was a light pink and were more formal, a pair I could wear to work. The other pair I would wear out at night with the black, white and green vertical stripes and a bow to tie at the front.
I liked being able to see the history of fashion and how it has evolved not only in the U.S., but in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. as well. While some stores are the same between countries, they advertise and sell different products. Fashion in the U.S. and the U.K. have evolved differently and you can see that as you walk down the street. I enjoyed learning about how fashion is a huge form of communication, whether that is representing your family and country by wearing a kilt or creating a tartan to browsing storefronts and buying clothes from shops based on what they advertise and sell.