Blog Post 7: 60s Fashion Trends

Blog Post 7: 60s fashion trends

Zandra Rhodes, a textile designer, who I admire and have been to her exhibition in London recently was incredibly innovative during the 1960s. During the late 1960s, she was particularly well known for her bohemian and street styles in London. Within my own fashion design work, I love to play with patterns on fabric and see how different fabrics react to different methods of printing and dyes. Its not just about the garment for me, when I design, it’s also about the surface design. Hence, this is why I like to explore Zandra Rhodes work.

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As Connike Y. has stated(1990) in ‘Fashions of a Decade, the 1960s’, ‘fashion became split, along lines of age’ during the 1960s. Young people had more money, which meant that they had independence and freedom to buy their own clothing. Pop music became huge and bands such as ‘The Beatles’ had an impact upon fashion. Mary Quant launched the mini skirt, taking advantage of the rapidly changing society. Twiggy, a famous model of the time, was stick thin and her ‘boyish looks’ made her the top model for the mini skirt.

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Connike Y. also talks about how the hippies originated in San Francisco during the mid 60s, rejecting the work ethic of western society. Tourists flocked to them and gave them flowers, as symbols of peace and love.  This is where the term ‘flower power’ came about.  By 1967, the fashionable youth of America & Europe were taking on board the hippie look.

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I particularly like the Yves Saint Laurent 1965 – 1966 Mondrian Fall/Winter Collection and Yves Saint Laurent personal, positive views about this collection, even though he felt there were some opposing opinions to it. I personally feel the garments of the collection still feel contemporary now. This is a haute couture designer though, who didn’t make the hemlines as short as Mary Quant. In my view, the linear qualities of the silhouette and the pattern reflect the 1960s architecture.

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This was an incredibly exciting decade, as the unimaginable was becoming reality. For example, the first man walked on the moon and this was actually having a profound effect upon some of the fashion trends at the time. Cardin’s Cosmos collection was in 1966. Gemini 8 was the sixth crewed spaceflight in NASA’s Gemini program, launched March 16, 1966. It was the twelfth crewed American flight and the twenty-second crewed spaceflight of all time. The mission had the first two spacecraft in orbit but suffered the first critical in-space system failure of a U.S. spacecraft which threatened the lives of the astronauts and required a stop to the mission. The crew was returned to Earth safely. Neil Armstrong said, “one small step for a man but huge step for makind” when he set foot on the moon .  This is relevant to my research because I want to further explore the space themed trends of the 60s.

Easy-care synthetic fabrics were introduced such as Crimplene, Dacro and Terylene. Such fabrics were ideal for the younger generation’s clothing because they didn’t crease, like cotton, and they were easy to wash. In a decade, where the fashionable youth wanted to look good but also have time for listening to pop music, going out dancing and to the cinema, they were ideal.

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The popularity of tights overtook the popularity of stockings for practical reasons. The author focuses on how legs were the centre of attention during the 60s decades, which is relevant to my essay. Tights had actually been introduced before the 1960s but they really took off when the short miniskirts came into fashion. An American company called Danskin transformed the industry in legwear. Tights gave greater freedom, comfort and movement than stockings. Initially, it was dancers, skaters and other athletes who bought these. However, during the 60s, their business took off.

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So, I conclude that both Mary Quant and Zandra Rhodes were influential designers during this period of time, both for different reasons. In my own design work, I would like take the simplicity of Mary Quants’ garment silhouettes but use my own prints on them, in the much the same way that Zandra Rhodes promoted her fabric prints too. Tights were also incredibly popular during this time and I feel patterned tights, which are comfortable could be a trend for the future too. I am thinking of printed tights (similar to leggings), rather than lacy effect tights. There is a huge move towards wearing comfortable clothing at the moment.


Connikie Y. (1990) ‘Fashions of a Decade, the 1960s’, B.T. Batsford Ltd. Pub. (P.5)

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