1960s is the decade known for its sweeping social change when conventional hierarchies started to dissolve, making way for modern age’s birth. The way people dressed during this period clearly signified shifting attitudes. During the 1960s, several chose, quite blatantly, to look different from the usual. Designers became more innovative and more informal shopping modes drew a line between generations, thereby giving rise to a fresh youth fashion market. The decade was also the time when fresh and unique man-made materials were wholeheartedly embraced.
Youth Fashion’s Invention
During the 1950s, the wealthy and mature elite’s tastes dictated fashion. Paris stayed as the 60’s style clothing industry’s engine with modern haute couture outfits getting mass-produced. However, times changed soon. When the 1960s arrived, young people started earning more money as the Second World War came to an end. Heightened economic power gave birth to a fresh feeling of identification and the requirement to get the message across. The clothing industry responded quickly by making youth-centric designs that were no longer adaptations of mature fashion tastes. The “modernists” (Mods) were specifically influential during the decade. The mods helped bring about a heightened focus toward young people’s tastes almost everywhere, and inspired several music band members’ looks as well.
New Fashion, New Shops
Thanks to the new fashion trends, a fresh shopping experience was required to break Paris’ dominance and ignite youth fashion’s potential completely. Boutiques were self-service, small shops in London that were set up by designers who were keen on offering the latest fashion to the youth at an affordable price. They wanted to offer an experience that was different from the fairly old-style and formal department stores. Staying on the ground helped them learn more about their customers and to quickly supply their requirements. A few designers had pioneered this new retail format, having opened their inaugural stores during the mid-1950s.
The Boutique Reign
Within a few years, the concept of boutique had exploded. The youth flocked to these vibrant stores to see what was on offer. These shops, which have now become iconic, sold inexpensive separates that suited an urban, busy lifestyle letting their customers merge items in innovative ways. The brightly colored, slim-fitting outfits made by London designers gained huge popularity throughout England, and also America and Europe. The ‘mini skirt’ almost instantly became the most iconic look of the decade, as young ladies were happy that they could be less conservative with their outfits. Later during the decade, some influential designers shifted their attention to more liberal, fun outfits with short hem lengths. And a few other designers gained prominence for their code-breaking female trouser suits and quirky day wear.