The Role Of Fashion Design In Women's Rights Movement

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Some of the biggest patterns in history are the constant controversies over women’s rights and fashion. The two began to share a bond, mainly starting in the 1920s, that linked them in the direction of self-expressionism. Women wanted to be bold, and fashion was an art that seemed so welcoming to many feminist. Females were now seen as creative and intelligent for running and designing fashion businesses; were less restricted on the pressure of being conservative since the style was now a statement proving that women’s fashion had a major influence over women’s rights.

Women fashion designers in the 1920s are now historical leaders since they provided changes to women’s unspoken social rules and impacted the way men thought of them. Gabrielle Coco Chanel is a well-known fashion designer in the 1920s, who swayed women’s fashion norm leading to “male admirers who would provide key financial assistance and social connections over the course of her career” (Cite). She achieved the desire of women wanting to wear her clothes by wearing her own work. Short hair and dresses allied with dark makeup, a look many women wanted because it broke many boundaries. Men saw the business tactics Chanel was using and began to trust her with investments, the idea of investing with women no longer seemed crazy. Elsa Schiaparelli also brought more power to women when she launched her career “only after her marriage to a spirit medium and con-man, William de Kerlor, had failed”(cite). Schiaparelli proved that she could create a business while being a single mother, even when divorce was seen as a life failure. She didn’t use the help her husband to get a male perspective of business but trusted her womanly instincts. Chanel and Schiaparelli were now seen as celebrities and inspiration to many young women; since they dominated the fashion and business industries, industries that were once dominated by men. Inspirational quotes from these women such as, “Women need to be loved” and “One can never be too feminine'(cite) greatly increase the demand of women’s rights. Women were now being inspired to make more civil rights movement, after seeing the intelligence of women, men also began to approve and some even supporting the women’s movement. Gabrielle Coco Chanel dominated with business affairs by producing the first name brand designer perfume to emphasize the luxury of her brand, a tactic that is still used today, and by designing “menswear-inspired sportswear”(cite). By incorporating men to her fashion industry, she created an environment where men now had to work for or work with women, an idea that seemed unrealistic at the time. While working together, the intelligence of women was now being shown after many years of being overlooked. However, some men still held on the idea of gender inequality and gave higher pay to men because men workers were thought to be more productive at the job. Even though women were not paid equally, many new careers were open to women. Now that women and men could sit in a business room together the idea of women’s intelligence became more popular.

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Since the style of fashion had changed in the 1920s women could now dress less conservative. Flappers often come in mind because they were “understood as an extension of the avant-garde and experimental artistic movement of the 1920s” because of the short and thin dresses(cite). As the years went on Flappers became more accepted since more young women became flappers. Chanel “allowed women to leave their corsets behind” during this time it was a very significant change because the women’s body figure could no be seen more. Flappers were using Chanel’s designer clothes making a flapper seem more desirable. Now that flappers were seen as the future women wanted to be the future. Men began to accept this look of boldness because more women were wearing it and it was now seen as attractive. A great American Novel was published in the 1920s, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald who portrayed flappers as “fun-seeking but lovely” women “who would pursue materialistic pleasures”; flappers were also seen in “popular movies in the 1920s”(cite). The once-scandalous look of the flappers was now among most women in the 1920s. Short hair, dresses, and dark makeup was a desirable factor for men and women. Even though not every woman wore bold looks during this era, it was a common thing to come across. Men and women were now attracted to this new look, leading to the acceptance of the feminist movement fashion possessed. Women’s clothes were a statement and America was now paying attention to women’s rights.

Fashion had a major role in the women’s rights movement; because it credited women’s intelligence and allowed them to make powerful statements. It was very dangerous and brave for women to participate in the changing of their rights, but fashion gave an outlet to help connect women and men. Females roles in fashion would forever change in America and are still changing it today. The fashion movement took off in the 1920s because feminist allowed it to take off during this time. Fashion did not provide better rights to women but was instead a tool for the feminist. Without feminist in the fashion industry women would probably be seen as dull. The clothes worn by women wouldn’t be as convenient as they are now. America still has ways to go to accomplish equal rights to women, and women are still using what they wear as a tool.


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