Volume 95, Issue 59

Thursday, January 17, 2002
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Debate over embryonic stem cell research rages on

The fusion of technology and art

The fusion of technology and art

An evolutionary look at fashion trends

By Lauren Starr and Lindsay Satterthwaite
Gazette Staff

The bad news? Styles from the 80s are inevitable. The good news? You can wear what you feel comfortable in.

Rosemary Vanderhoeven, a clothing lecturer in the human ecology department at Brescia College, said styles of the 80s will make a comeback in the near future. "Hopefully, the [upcoming] trend will emerge without the shoulder pads," she said, noting 70s clothing were not as ridiculous when they took their turn on the retro circuit.

"With respect to style, things are really in and out. Right now there really isn't anything 'in'. It is just what people want to wear," said Peter Duck, a fashion professor at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnic University.

According to him, the most important change of direction within the current fashion world is that no particular fashion trend is ever set in stone. Clothing is much more flexible right now, Duck said. "People are given more choice," he added.

Steve Debus, creative director at Modrobes, said some designers will always create non-practical fashion for the sake of art, despite the obvious need for functionality. "Modrobes' latest design is a sport-style sandal that will be the most comfortable sandal ever," he said.

Beth Kerim/Gazette

The current fashion companies have begun to incorporate various new technologies into their designing process. Debus said he incorporated a plastic waist buckle into his designs, which allows for a personalized fit. He said magnetized buckles and Velcro are becoming popular because they customize clothing and make them more functional.

Many experts agree casual wear has become more prominent in fashion. Vanderhoeven said casual dressing became an inexpensive perk afforded to employees by employers as a morale boost during the downsizing of the 1980s.

According to Duck, fashion is becoming simpler and cleaner. "You can do more things with [clothes] when they are more comfortable," he said. Comfort and functionality in clothing is becoming more important to customers with fast-paced lives.

Duck said men's wear is seeing the bulk of current change. "With the exception of the financial industry, the suit is no longer the uniform," he explained. "People still want to look good, but they are simply more casual."

New materials are being introduced on the fashion scene, including all kinds of synthetic materials, which are replicated into fashions such as silk and fur, Duck said. "These fabrics are easy to care for and stretchable," he added.

Casual clothing in the workplace has been a topic of interest with respect to productivity, Duck said, noting studies have shown productivity actually increases when people are more comfortable in their clothes.

Vanderhoeven said as gender equality increases in a nation, it is often reflected in their styles of clothing. Unisex clothing has had a large impact in fashion – the most notable trend being the unisex suit, he added.

Although women's suits are still popular, the 'power suit' is not as prominent as it was five years ago, Duck said, noting women have already proven themselves and need not continue doing so.

Sportswear and casual wear have seen a big rise in terms of unisex clothing. "Modrobes has already incorporated these styles into their [fashion]," Debus said. "Modrobes are meant for tough chicks and modern athletic girls, who are not concerned about wearing tight clothes, but remain self-assured."

Gender differences are less noticeable with Modrobes design. Debus said men are becoming more fashionable than in the past by dying their hair and even wearing make-up.

Jane McKay, a senior artist at M.A.C Cosmetics, said there has been a great evolution in terms of make-up as a part of fashion. "New technology and ingredients are being used in the development of make-up. There has been a fusion of technology and art which creates better results," she said.

Although there have not been any radical changes in make-up over the last 10 years, there has been subtle progression. "Companies are a little more daring now. They want to inspire and make people think about their make-up [choices]," she said.

One can only hope the trend toward casual, comfortable clothing reflects the wishes of consumers and will continue to dominate the fashion industry. Diversity and individual choice may turn out to be the landmarks of fashion for the 21st century.

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