By Fredrick Nwosu
From the times of the ancient men, clothing has evolved from its utilitarian status to what we call style today. Thanks to all the princes and paupers from various walks of life and different generations, we now have an array of silhouettes and guidelines (style is personal so play with these as you see fit) which will lead you on your path to looking fashion forward when followed with a hint of playfulness.
So to what do we owe the distance fashion as a whole has traveled to get to where it is now? The answer is a mixture of the “to what” and the “to whom.” If you have ever worn a pair of glasses, you owe the thirteenth century Italians a great debt of gratitude contrary to the popular belief that it was invented during the Ming dynasty in China. Although it was conceived for the sole purpose for seeing a little clearer, the Chinese used smokey quartz lenses to create sunglasses (Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckham thank you) to protect themselves from harsh sunlight.
Just like the modern nylon MA-1 flight jacket that brands like Fear Of God and Givenchy are capitalizing on, many clothing items worn by civilians were pioneered by armies all over the world. Wardrobing staples such as the peacoat and the cable-knit sweater were first sported by European sailors who needed all the warmth they could get whilst battling the choppy seas. The wives of these seamen worried constantly about the safety of their husbands and children so they knitted the image of braided ropes or anchors with wool right on the chest of their sweaters for good luck. Brands such as Ralph Lauren have found commercial success with their luxury version of the sweater made with supple, but warm cashmere.
Any style dandy will say that ones outfit is not complete without a great looking time piece — after all, time is money. Now I’m no watch aficionado, but I do notice that a lady or a gentleman sporting a watch with vast complications has some sort of sleight of hand to him. One of the most common and useful complications is the Tourbillon which was developed in the eighteenth century. The tourbillon is placed in a watch to negate the error due to gravity on the watch by placing the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage. Such things are called complications because of the slew of mathematics, engineering and time poured into making such a thing by hand – It’s almost equivalent of shrinking the one-ton Bombe machine used by Alan Turing to decipher Germany’s “Enigma” during WWII into the cellphones we carry in our pockets.
As you can see, fashion has come a very long way and judging by the growing interest in the trade, it still has a very long way to go. As long as innovation remains a priority in the industry and those in charge still have interesting stories to tell through their garments and trinkets, so much more will be achieved.