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Simplicity and Femininity in Modern Fashion

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Modern Fashion is an industry that is dominating other industries and growing into a large collection of artists who come together to present the world with their art, in the form of unique and extraordinary designs and ideas. The fashion industry gained acceleration in the second half of the 1900s, when different designers came forth with their extraordinary work and their contributions. It is not that fashion had not existed at all; it is just that previously the term fashion had a different approach. It has been observed that the world goes through changes very often, especially when it comes to the fashion industry (Dimant, 2010).

Background of the study
Over the last decades, the concept of Modern Fashion has come forward, which incorporates the designs and ideas of famous fashion artists together with their own ideas and creations. In simple words, fashion is not just limited to what fashion designers want the population to wear; it has now become a combination of what people want to wear and what fashion designers have to offer. Some decades ago, fashion represented flashy clothing and attire blended with loudness and vividness. Now, its representation has changed. Today, fashion not only defines loudness, it is also a representation of simplicity. Simple outfits and simple designs are also gaining momentum and acceleration, becoming almost as desired and appreciated as loud and vivid designs and creations. Fashion artists like Gucci, Dior and Armani have redefined the meaning of fashion (Dimant, 2010). Simplicity in fashion means removing the elements of loudness and replacing it with subtlety and quiet designs (Dimant, 2010).

This phenomenon is growing and is on the rise because fashion lovers now prefer subtle designs over loudness and designs that shout out. Minimalism emerged in the early 1960s as a concept that defied the definition of fashion. When the word fashion is heard, the first thing that comes to a person’s mind is loud speaking designs and strong creations. However, minimalism negates such beliefs and proposes that extreme simplicity can be used to capture adequately, if not extremely, the representation of fashion. In other words, minimalism argues that fashion does not have to be loud or vivid to be able to express itself or to be able to make its place among top fashion creations (Weber, 2010). Minimalism argues that simplicity can in fact, be used to create strong statements and fashion art like none other. Considering such views, this paper analyses the role of minimalism towards modern art as it stands today and how simplicity is being adopted by the youth of today in their modern fashion.

Research Aim & Objectives
There are two aims of this research. The first is to understand the concept of simplicity and femininity in modern fashion and the second is to understand how fashion and simplicity in fashion is defined by minimalism (Weber, 2010). The aim of this research is to understand how the fashion industry is moving from loudness to simplicity and the significance of the demand for simple designs and creations in the industry. Fashion experts have expressed their opinions and stated that minimalism plays a strong role in the adoption of simple designs and creations in the fashion industry (Dimant, 2010).

Fashion experts believe that young adults and even teenagers prefer if an element of their own personality reflects in the designs they wear and the creations that they display on themselves. This is why the latest designs of Dior, Versace, Gucci, Armani and other such designers are moving towards monotone and double toned designs and creations rather than designs with multiple colors and designs. The objectives of this research are: 1. To understand how minimalism affects the fashion industry 2. How simplicity and femininity play a significant role towards modern fashion 3. Understand the relationship between minimalism and simplicity 4. Understand the impact of simplicity and minimalism on the fashion industry and its future

According to Caroline Weber and her article posted on the internet website wmagazine.com called “The Simple Life”, simplicity is considered as the ultimate and extreme level of sophistication in modern fashion (Weber, 2010). Feathers and Furs, sequins as well as spangles and glitzy trimmings are no more the ‘hip’ thing. Artists such as Coco Chanel have tried to pursue vivacity in fashion by sticking to the traditional styles and looks but as Weber discusses, minimalism is taking over the industry and even Chanel cannot deny it. Fashion enthusiasts are no longer impressed with glitter and shine. They prefer simple designs and minimalistic creations that reflect pure femininity and elegance (for women of course). Weber compares vivid fashion as the eye shadow left on the eye from “last night”. It can never look fresh, no matter how well it is applied. Same is the case with fashion. Glitzy designs and creations have stopped being tempting. Weber further discusses the use of restrained aesthetic designs in modern fashion, integrating minimalism with pure femininity. According to the author, it was Pheobe Philo who stirred this revolution in modern fashion with the display of minimalistic designs and work at the Celine at Francisco Costa.

Weber claims that after Philo’s demonstration made way for simplicity to plan a comeback into fashion. Weber states that the minimalist fashion that the world is witnessing today has been forged by a merger of the visual cultures of the sixties as well as the early twenties. Modern art has always been about clean streamlined shapes and minimalism has been its fundamental driver. The world is witnessing a comeback of the same category of fashion. Weber further discusses how minimalism is linked to simplicity in today’s fashion world by making designs that are not too fussy and at the same time, display futuristic designs. It is of note here that the world is not falling back into the older era and it is not the old designs that are making another entry. The concept is being borrowed from that time zone and applied to fashion as we know it today, giving it a fresh look and avatar (Weber, 2010). This research is important because we utilize it to understand the perception of the youth and teenage population towards minimalistic fashion and the extent to which they consider simplicity as a tempting new change from vivacious and glitzy creations and fashion designs.

Benefits of the study
The study shall be beneficial to teenagers pursuing careers in the field of media sciences and fashion. It will be beneficial to companies in the clothing and fashion industry as they could base their future designs on the findings of the research. It can also be beneficial to fashion artists and experts, who can use the findings and implement them towards their new designs and creations. According to a discussion by Hal Foster in his article called ‘The crux of minimalism’, minimalism is viewed by some as the end of the road (Dimant, 2010). He discusses how many fashion designers and experts believe that minimalism is the end of fashion because designers have offered all that there was to offer, but this is not true. According to Foster, minimalism is in fact, a paradigm shift towards a new dimension and world of fashion, where postmodern fashion is emerging as the dominant preference by fashion enthusiasts (Weber, 2010); (Dimant, 2010). This study shall help shed light on the topic and understand the opinion of fashion lovers on this matter.

Structure of the Research
The research has been divided in five different chapters. The first chapter is the introduction to the research and discusses the significance of the research, its use and provides a brief background on the topic. It additionally discusses the aims and objectives of conducting this research. The next chapter is a brief discussion on the literature review related to the fashion industry, simplicity in the fashion industry and the role of minimalism towards fashion. The third chapter provides the research methodology, focusing on the primary and secondary research method employed to derive data and findings for this research. In the fourth chapter, we discuss the findings of the research and understand how minimalism affects fashion and how it has been the key driver for inducing simplicity and the new concept of femininity in fashion.

Overview of Literature Review
Weber discusses in her article how minimalism witnessed considerable change between the 1700s and the 1800s, where it detached itself from fine arts and moved towards fashion and dressing. This led to the integration of minimalism into the functional basics of dressing fashion, such as the basic t-shirt and a pair of jeans (Dimant, 2010). At first, designers considered this a dead end for their prospects because they witnessed how the basic jeans/tshirt look became a standard for almost all of the youth in the world. Soon, however, fashion designers realized that there exists even more opportunities for them now, especially if a brand name was attached to the simple minimalistic fashion. This led to the augmented importance of the label, where the brand became more expensive than the product (Dimant, 2010). Further in the paper, we discuss the literature published in relation to minimalism, simplicity in fashion and femininity.


Characteristics of the Data
For the research and to fully understand the role of minimalism towards fashion, we used two forms of research data. The data required for this paper was collected using two methods. 1. Secondary data

2. Primary data
After collecting the secondary data and researching literature online, primary data was collected through a brief questionnaire (Coll & Chapman, 2000) that was rotated throughout the campus to students. The focus was primarily on students from the field of media sciences. The author additionally collected secondary data by studying various journals, articles and books related to global management, leadership and organizational value.

Population and Sample characteristics
It is important to identify the population of a certain research because the findings of that population are usually applied to the hypothesis. The population size was selected using convenience sampling method (Gelo, Braakmann & Benetka, 2008) for the ease of the researcher. The survey was carried out taking a sample from the university where the researcher studies and consisted of 20 respondents. As for the secondary data, published resource and literature present online were used to contrast and compare the findings and almost 30 sources were consulted. The sample for this study is a combination of various ages and gender since people of all ages are interested in fashion. However, it is noted that teenagers and young adults are the main drivers of fashion.

The genders selected for this research, were both male and female; their ages ranging from 17 to 27 years. Research has identified that it is during this decade of a person’s life when the most changes occur in terms of fashion sense, choice and taste. The sample size is basically a representation of the population previously identified (Gerring & Thomas, 2011). Thus, the total numbers of respondents chosen out of the population were 20 respondents. The sample belonged to the university premises with the purpose of gathering results from primary research. In order to reduce the chances of sampling error (Alotaibi, 2012), the study uses stratified random convenience sampling (Charoenruk, 2012).

Data Collection Method
In order to collect primary data necessary for the research, questionnaires were used as the data collection tools to conduct the survey, which was the intended data collection method. Questionnaire is one of the forms of survey (Coll & Chapman, 2000) which is used to perform research study. Questionnaires are normally distributed among groups of people and can be delivered by post or email. Questionnaires consist of two types of questions: closed-ended questions and open-ended questions.

Definition of Survey
A survey is a study to elicit primary information by distribution (circulating) questionnaires to a group of respondents. It is a simple process that is relatively economical when it comes to cost and time.

Characteristics of the Sample
The sample selected contained 13 females and 7 males out of a total number of 20 individuals. Other than the gender, it was observed that majority of the respondents ranged between the ages of 19-22 years. The respondents belonged to different ethnic and religious backgrounds. The sample consists of all the students and young people who are fashion conscious and keep a check on what they wear and what is ‘in’ at the moment. According to Elyssa Dimant as discussed in her novel, youth drives fashion and fashion is changing from vivid designs to simple creations. It is the young people who drive fashion and bring changes in the preferences, which is why it would be a good idea to gather primary information from students belonging to media sciences and other fashion related departments (Dimant, 2010).

Theoretical Overview
The quantitative method of research is a formal, objective procedure within which there are findings in the shape of numerical data. The quantitative method of research tests, describes, and examines the causal links by the use of a knowledge attainments’ deductive process. Traditionally, the utilization of the actual experimentations has put in a considerable literature to the currently acquired universal knowledge (Coll & Chapman, 2000). The research methods that were quantitative in nature that were utilized generated scientific results, and consequentially changes took place as action was generated. Qualitative method of research generated soft-data that according to some researchers was and still is explained as being insufficient to generate any changes and in providing answers. The weakness and a disadvantage of the quantitative method of research is that selecting samples randomly consumes a great deal of time (Gelo, Braakmann & Benetka, 2008). The qualitative method of research, due to its comprehensive study nature and the requirement of data analysis, normally links with a selective, small sample (Charoenruk, 2012).

Research methods that are qualitative in nature deductively test the theory from the obtainable literature, by developing proposed outcomes and hypothesized relationships for the research, there are certain hunches, ideas, or perspectives concerning the investigated subject that guide the qualitative. The qualitative method of research varies from the quantitative methods, because it inductively develops the theory. The qualitative research method is employed as a tool for researching the experiential world from the subject’s perspectives and not from the perspective of the person researching. On this aspect, various scholars have expanded and describe the qualitative method of research as a systematic inquiry mode related to the comprehension of the humans and the temperament of the interactions that are done by the humans and in the company of the comprehensions. The qualitative method of research’s aims is describing definite perspectives of an observable fact, in the midst of a view for describing the study’s subject.

Mixed Method
To have a better and more relevant understanding of the study (Alotaibi, 2012), a mixed methodology was followed incorporating both qualitative and quantitative approach which was used to review a decent amount of literature and that allowed building a strong foundation for the research (Alotaibi, 2012). A survey was conducted using questionnaires incorporating semi structure questions to elicit the responses (Gerring & Thomas, 2011). This survey allowed the research to elicit a more customized and specific type of information that greatly contributed towards the finding of the research. In other words, this approach uses some mathematical as well as theoretical models and they help managers in decision making. In a slightly more generally speaking tone, quantitative management focuses on decision-making (Gerring & Thomas, 2011), economic efficiency and the use of mathematical models of computers. The qualitative “usually is used first to discover and refine research questions”. Sometimes, but not necessarily, hypotheses are tested. These are often based on data collection methods without numerical measurement, such as descriptions and observations.

Data Validity & Reliability
Data validity refers to the nature of data collected or used in the research (Charoenruk, 2012). The data considered is relatively recent adding to the validity (Charoenruk, 2012), making the research more valuable. The research incorporates a mixed research design incorporating primary and secondary data (Alotaibi, 2012). A number of literatures were reviewed to have a better understanding of the topic under study. Additionally primary research was conducted in the form of a survey utilizing questionnaires to elicit more specific responses (Gerring & Thomas, 2011). One of the most important and effective tool for getting important and relevant information for research is the internet. The internet is a tool that allows individuals and researcher obtain a wide range of articles, papers, journals, news papers and even magazines that would otherwise be impossible or too costly and time consuming(Alotaibi, 2012).

The research initially started by reviewing a few articles related to the fashion industry, online and identified some important keywords to better customize the search. In the initial stages of the research, a number of journals and papers were retrieved, and their abstracts read to give a general overview of the topic (Coll & Chapman, 2000). Papers which were important and most relevant to the topic were studied completely and contributed greatly in the literature and in creating a better understanding of the topic under study.

Ethical Consideration & Limitations
The most prominent and profound moral issue that researchers cannot evade is the use of knowledge generated by someone else during a similar inquiry (Gelo, Braakmann & Benetka, 2008). It is of utmost importance to give due credit to the person who derived the actual findings. The person who conducted the actual research may have invested a lot of crucial time and effort into extracting the results and it is ethical as well as legally binding to give credit to that person for his work. The most prominent limitation of this methodology is that the researcher has limited the sample to students from the university, which means one of the larger consumer segment of the fashion industry are being targeted (Weber, 2010) and the findings are being applied to the entire population but the research would have been much more extensive and explanatory if more of the population bases were incorporated in the sample and better representation of the population would have been achieved. The response of the respondents may not be free from biasness (Gerring & Thomas, 2011) and this could cause the research findings to not be as accurate as one would expect or like.


Alotaibi, B.N. (2012), “The Comparison between Qualitative, Quantitative, and
Single subject design”, A Paper presented by Dr. Bander N. Alotaibi. Accessed On: 19th, December, 2012. Retrieved From: (http://dr-banderalotaibi.com/images/boho/qualitative,%20quantitative,%20and%20single%20subject%20design.pdf) Charoenruk, D. (2012), “Communication Research Methodologies: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodology”, Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies. Accessed On: 19th, December, 2012. Retrieved From: (http://utcc2.utcc.ac.th/localuser/amsar/PDF/Documents49/quantitative_and_qualitative_methodologies.pdf) Coll, R.K. & Chapman,R. (2000), “Choices of Methodology for Cooperative Education Researchers”, Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education; Vol. 1, No. 1, Pp. 1-8. Accessed On: 19th, December, 2012. Retrieved From: (http://www.apjce.org/files/APJCE_01_1_1_8.pdf) Creswell, J.W. (1998), “Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions”, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Dimant, E. (2010) Minimalism and Fashion: Reduction in the Postmodern Era. Harper Design. ISBN-13: 978-0061925993 Gelo, O. Braakmann, D. & Benetka, G. (2008), “Quantitative and Qualitative Research: Beyond the Debate”, Integr Psych Behav; Vol. 42. Pp. 266-290. Accessed On: 19th, December, 2012. Retrieved From: (http://myoverseasadventure.com/Jessica%20Articles/methods/qual%20quant%20article%202.pdf) Gerring, J. & Thomas, C.W. (2011), “Quantitative and Qualitative: A Question of Comparability”, Sage. Accessed On: 19th, December, 2012. Retrieved From: (http://people.bu.edu/jgerring/documents/quantitativeandqualitative.pdf) Weber, C. (2010) The Simple Life. Retrieved from: http://www.wmagazine.com/artdesign/2010/10/minimalism_and_fashion_book_elyssa_dimant#ixzz2Hhe2ufbd

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