INTRODUCTION: How do Western and Asian Cultures affect each other in Fashion Industry?
The culture of an individual is associated with his lifestyle, behaviour, dressing and traditions which is directly influenced by nationality, religion, society, etc. Therefore, culture plays an important role within social lifestyle of the people. Fashion is best defined simply as the style or styles of clothing and accessories worn at any given time by group of people that is greatly influenced by culture, religion and lifestyle of people. Furthermore, it is examined that fashion industry is directly influenced by the culture of people so as several designers in all over the world are offering new collections and clothing range with reference to culture and traditions along with clothing senses of other countries (Crane, 2012). It plays an important role in expansion of particular culture in different culture. In addition to that globalization of business and fashion industry has been addressed as most important motivator for the promotion and growth of culture in other countries through fashion industry. In this context, this essay is going to discuss different aspects of fashion industry. In this process, this study examines the impact of Western and Asian cultures on fashion industry of each other. For collection of wide range of data, this report considers qualitative approach in which wide range is going to acquire through several books, journals, online resources etc.
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IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE IN FASHION INDUSTRY
Fashion industry is termed as multibillion-dollar global enterprise which is managing various business operation associated making and selling clothes. In this context, there have been significant differences between the expensive designer fashions that are shown on the runways of Paris and New York. In this regard, culture of people in all over the world is creating huge impact on designers approach along with purchase decisions for clothes in order to meet different objectives (Power and Scott, 2004). As per the research of McRobbie (2013) it has been addressed that the fashion industry consists of various activities such as designing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, advertising as well as promotion of all types of apparel. In this process, culture plays important role in selection of fabric and design etc. In the context of present era, it has been found that Asian roots, traditions and dressing sense is creating huge impact on fashion industry in western countries. Apart from that increase in number of Asian origin people in western nations is also identified as most important element that influence western designers and cloth makes to consider culture and clothing of other nations in their collection and design (Bhardwaj and Fairhurst, 2010). In similar way, expansion of business of western companies in Asian countries has considered as most important factor or reason of westernisation of dressing sense or fashion industry in Asian countries such as China, India, and Japan etc.
Manlow (2009) has determined that the fashion industry is termed as a most important element of modern era. In this context, it is evaluated that before mid-19th century, all kinds of clothing products was handmade for individuals in the form of home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. Furthermore, In 20th century, the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine have played most crucial role in order to influence clothing design and their manufacturing process in different culture in the all over the world (How did the widespread adoption of western clothing happen?, 2016). Author further argued that the fashion industry was developed first in Europe and America then spread in all over the world. This time duration was identified as a most important motivator of promotion of western culture in Asian countries. Presently, it is the international and highly globalized industry because wide range of clothing products often designed in one country and manufactured in another then after sold in a third. For example, an American fashion company might acquire fabric in China in order to manufacture these clothes in Vietnam (Shen, Wang, Lo and Shum, 2012). These clothes are finished in Italy and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. In this process, culture and traditions of different countries is creating huge impact on design and appearance of clothes. Therefore, globalization of fashion is considered as most important factor from the point of view of promotion of culture in other countries through clothes.
The study of Lemire and Riello (2008) has found several reasons for global popularity of Western Fashion in all over the world especially in Asian region. In this context, it is evaluated that Western fashion has something to do with opinion which is considered in the form of modernism versus traditionalism. This is because Western clothing is often thought to be more modern than Eastern clothing rends and culture. Furthermore, it has found that culture and clothing both are interrelated concept. Therefore, "Western civilization" is it known much newer than ancient civilizations associated with the China and India (Ralston and et.al, 2008). In these Asian countries, Western clothing is considered by people for everyday wear and business. On the other hand, local clothing is adopted by people for special occasions such as religious holidays, weddings, etc. The people associated with Asian region are considered the clothing trends of Western = modern and Eastern = traditional. In addition to that the research of Anheier and Isar (2008) has found that that western culture is creating huge impact on traditions and dressing style of people. In this context, it can be addressed that most of Euro-American dresses are either derived from military uniforms such as many jackets styles or some products are developed to fulfill practical purpose for example jeans. All these development of Western fashions were mainly influenced by traditional or religious clothing, but these origins have mostly been removed from the meaning of the clothing itself (Benyon and Dunkerley, 2014). Presently, some important clothing related west such as Jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, short skirts along with dresses have addressed significant popularity in last 100 years in all over the world along with Asian culture. This is because only one hundred years ago, several women were still wore corsets (never trouser) and men used ascots in day to day lifestyle. In the contrary, Eastern fashions have addressed several changes but those changes have not been nearly as revolutionary with reference to different clothes western culture (Mato, 2009).
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This growth of Western clothing and culture in Asian region has created negative impact on the perception of people about the clothing of their own culture. This is because Western clothing is perceived as "modern" and Eastern clothing as "traditional". The idea that Western = modern = developed/industrialized was a common perception in some societies. In Japan, the Japanese political and social authorities have developed strategies towards modernization during the Meiji era to influence people in order to accept and consider not only the Western military and technology but also Western culture (Yang, 2012). In this context, it was addressed as an effort to adopt Western dress as part of overall process of adopting Western thought and industry. Therefore, people in Japan has significantly influenced by Western culture. It results distortion of domestic culture and traditions of Japan. The research of McRobbie (2013) has evaluated that In 19 and 20th century, only indigenous people in Asian nations that are having high status and educational access could be able to participate in wide range of Western governmental institutions as a result of dominance of Western culture. In this context, Western clothing has been addressed as a status symbol and people who wore Western colonizers were addressed as more powerful and influential (Crane, 2012). This kind of situation is raised in India where several individual were Western educated, wealthy along with the civil servants. These individual have also accepted Western clothing. In addition to that people also changed their behaviour and those always want to become the less "Indian" and more "British" in the from of their appearance and behavior. This is because this approach has offered the better the chances and ensures success their success within the system (Power and Scott, 2004). This thing has also distorted perception of people in India about their own culture, tradition, lifestyle and clothing. Therefore, it can be stated that Western culture has created huge impact on clothing of Asian companies.
Anheier and Isar (2008) evaluated that Globalization is also identified as most important element and motivator that has played crucial role to increase communication among people belong from of different culture. It results the expansion of Western culture, ideas, and commodities by entering Eastern markets or Asian countries. On the other hand, culture, traditions and fashion trends of Asian countries have also promoted in Western countries. But, there is significant growth addressed in Western culture in the form of "Westernization." in Asian nations which is much higher than the growth rate of Asian culture (How did the widespread adoption of western clothing happen? 2016). In addition to that Western music, technology, food, and clothing have all been greatly popularized in large areas of East which is deeply associated with the perceptions of modernity. Therefore, in contemporary era, Western clothing is seen as more "modern” in comparison of traditional clothing in different countries. Apart from that The popularity of Western media such as movies, television show and magazines, has played most important and crucial role for exposing and popularizing Western clothing which is highly addressed among young age people in Asian countries like India and China (Bhardwaj and Fairhurst, 2010).
In the contrary, research of Manlow (2009) has addressed that globalization leads relationship among people in all over the world. It also increased the number of Asian Origin people in Western countries and their lifestyle and clothing is also influenced the local people. It results multiculturalism in fashion design. In this context, Western designers are incorporating traditional Asian crafts, textiles as well as techniques that are mainly associated with India and China. In similar way, Asian designers are also allowed the Western culture in order to influence their work (Shen, Wang, Lo and Shum, 2012). Therefore, some important examples are addressed that indicate combination of culture in fashion for Middle-class Indian women related to migrant communities in West originally considered the Western styles for particular occasions in the 1960s and 1970s. But, they are wearing a stylish Indian dress for special occasions as a status symbol which is equivalent to chic Western fashion in present era. In similar way, a traditionally Indian garment that has been significantly influenced by Western fashion that is termed as kurta suit (Yang, 2012). It is addressed as a reversal of the accepted tradition of Western fashion which is associated with the Asian design.
The investigation Lemire and Riello (2008) has found that all countries of Asia mainly India and China have addressed significant success in expansion of their culture in Western countries like US and UK. The main reason behind this is increase trade relationship with among these countries along with increase in interaction among people. Furthermore, it has been addressed that India and China have been identified important tourist destinations for western people. In addition to that both these countries along with other Asian countries are enriched with great culture, art, craft, history, traditions etc (Ralston and et.al, 2008). That play most crucial role to attract visitors from all over the world. This thing has played most crucial role and created significant impact fashion industry of West. In this context, it has been evaluated that like any culture, China’s is having deep, ever-changing, and multifaceted culture with a combination of various variable and intangible. These elements are also addressed in their fashion trends (Fury, 2015). In addition to that tourism activities in all over the world is termed as most important element in order to promote China’s deep well of art, cuisine, literature and innovations along with sociological underpinnings. All of this developed gradually over more than five thousand years, a remarkable length of time for cultural traits to survive through. All these elements have created significant impact on the perception of people and western designer.
Benyon and Dunkerley (2014) stated that Indo-Western clothing is identified as a best example of intersection of Indian and Western culture. In the contemporary era, Western styles were well established as an important part of Indian fashion that results some professional Indian women are considering the Western-style dresses along with saris for office wear. In addition to that Fashionable Indian women are also wear traditional shalwar kameez and the kameez (tunic) is wear with jeans that is identified as precinct example of combination of culture that has emerged new trends in fashion industry in both Asian and Western countries (Mato, 2009) . In similar way, people of European nation are also using cloths related to Indo-Western combination.
In this context, the evaluation of current trends in Fashion and textile sector has addressed that China has kept around 45% of global trade. Inspite of its significant growth trend, China's rising costs has influenced multinational producer in various other low cost production companies. India has also managed 20% share in the global trade by 2010. As per the result of growth of economy, India is rapidly expanding its role along with its capacity for increasing in proportion in world trade of clothing and textile. Vertically integrated companies are organized in a hierarchy and share a common owner. In addition to that various designers of India have managed great success in western fashion industry (Industry Overview, 2016). Apart from that Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh are being addressed as important destinations on their low manufacturing costs due to cheap labor available. The research of Lemire and Riello (2008) has found that the future global market for textile and fashion industry is going to expand in a significant way. The reasons for such expansion contains several element such as growth of new consumption markets, growth of modern retail business, boom of air and sea shipments along with logistic related activities. Furthermore, the growth of textile and related production in Eastern Europe, ex Russian block, Turkey, Middle East, South East Asia, India, China as well as South America is addressed as most critical factor in order to increase interaction among people and their culture that leads great impact on fashion trends and perception of people (Ralston and et.al., 2008).
In addition to that there are several ethical issues raised due to Westernization of Asian countries and culture. In this context, distortion of traditional lifestyle, clothing and traditions. In addition to that it is also increase inequality among people because people who wore western cloth in Asian region consider themselves more important and influential (Manlow, 2009). It is also creating huge impact on traditional cloth manufacturing and crafting practices. Therefore, it can be stated that Asian and Western culture is greatly influencing fashion industry of each other.
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On the basis of above assessment, it can be concluded that Western culture has significantly influenced clothing in Asian countries in which globalization is identified as main critical factor. This essay has found that growth of Western and Asian culture in the fashion industry of each other countries have led several positive and negative impact such as development of new fashion design and promotion of traditional craft in all over the world along with distortion of traditional clothing etc.
Books and Journals
Anheier, H. K. and Isar, Y. R. Eds., 2008. Cultures and globalization: The cultural economy. Sage.
Benyon, J. and Dunkerley, D., 2014. Globalization: the reader. Routledge.
Bhardwaj, V. and Fairhurst, A., 2010. Fast fashion: response to changes in the fashion industry. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research.
Crane, D., 2012. Fashion and its social agendas: Class, gender, and identity in clothing. University of Chicago Press.
Lemire, B. and Riello, G., 2008. East & West: textiles and fashion in early modern Europe.\ Journal of Social History.
Manlow, V., 2009. Designing clothes: Culture and organization of the fashion industry. Transaction Publishers.
Mato, D., 2009. All industries are cultural: A critique of the idea of ‘cultural industries’ and new possibilities for research. Cultural Studies. 23(1).
- Fury, A., 2015. China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially. [Online]. Available through:<http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/chinas-influence-on-fashion-at-the-top-of-the-game-both-creatively-and-commercially-10222909.html>.
- How did the widespread adoption of western clothing happen?. 2016. [Online]. Available through:<https://www.quora.com/How-did-the-widespread-adoption-of-western-clothing-happen>.
- Industry Overview. 2016. [Online]. Available through:<http://www.teonline.com/industry-overview.html>.
- Yang, J., 2012. Why the Rise of Asia In Fashion Isn’t As Beautiful As It Seems. [Online]. Available through:<http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/09/17/why-the-rise-of-asia-in-fashion-isnt-as-beautiful-as-it-seems/>.