Clothing goods, including fashions intended for the

Clothing styles adopted by youngsters have been a vital impact on the development of fashion in Europe and North America ever since World War II. The postwar increase in purchasing power of young people guaranteed the rise in significance of the youth market to the fashion business. Furthermore, the styles embraced by youthful individuals also became a crucial impact on more extensive fashion trends. By the 1990s, the “teenage” market had grown to embrace a wide variety of consumers instead of being limited to a certain age group, even though the name might suggest otherwise.
Particular styles and trends for young people were not only a thing of the twentieth century. The development of mass-produced goods, including fashions intended for the young, had been spotted around Europe and America since the Victorian era. During the 1890s, young people started using fashion as a statement of unique identities. In his autobiography, Robert Roberts observed that the British town of Salford was full of young toughs, or “scuttlers” who sported a distinctive style of “union shirt, bell-bottomed trousers, heavy leather belt picked out in fancy designs with a large steel buckle, and thick, iron-shod clogs” (Roberts, p. 155). Comparable trends were also found in America at the time. The southern portion of Manhattan was home to street toughs who went by the name “B’hoys”. According to Abraham Dayton, “These B’hoys’ … were the most consummate dandies of the day,” whose trademark styles consisted of items like broad-brimmed hats, embroidered shirts, and “a profusion of jewelry as varied and costly as the B’hoy could procure” (Dayton, pp. 217-218).
The youth market continued to expand in the 1920s and 1930s. In Britain, young workers’ disposable incomes increased in spite of a general economic downturn, which gave way to a growing range of consumer industries. In the United States, the image of the archetypal young female “flappers” with short bobbed hair and sleek fashion was especially well-known as the icon of chic modernity. Moreover, with the expansion of American undergraduate institutions, a smart casual “collegiate” or “Ivy League” style with button-downs, letter sweaters, cardigans, chino slacks, and loafers also became widely prominent.
The economic pressures of wartime during the 1940s drew large numbers of young people into the American workforce. As a result, the amount of disposable income of young workers grew significantly, prompting the consumer industries to expand further into the youth market. Adolescent girls referred to as “bobby-soxer” during this period adored a new style combination of sweaters, full skirts, and saddle shoes. It was also in this era that the term “teenager” entered the popular vocabulary, and the U.S. advertising and marketing industries were essential to the popularisation of the concept. The term “teenager” was used by marketers to denote a new market of affluent, young consumers whose lifestyles were largely leisure-oriented.
The explosion of the teenage market occurred during the 1950s, with the incorporation of work wear within youth fashion. Denim jeans became a stock item of teen styles, and their particular association with youth culture was consolidated after pop stars such as Elvis Presley started wearing them. Having been around since the 1860s, Levi Strauss remained a forerunner in the denim jeans manufacturing industry, but newer names such as Lee Cooper and Wrangler also became well-known for their own idiosyncratic styles. Moreover, the growth of the mass media played an extremely important role in the global circulation of teenage fashion. Youngsters all around the world were influenced by young American fashion displayed in teen magazines, films, and music shows. For example, the London youths adopted the zoot suit, which subsequently evolved into the “draped” jacket characteristic of 1950s toughs. In the Soviet Union, a Russian interpretation of American fashion known as stil’ was widespread during this era (Pilkington, 1994).
In Britain, young people enjoyed a greater measure of disposable income thanks to buoyant levels of youth employment. According to Mark Abrams, the rise of “distinctive teenage spending for distinctive teenage ends in a distinctive teenage world” (Abrams, 1959). The teen market that emerged in postwar Britain, however, was more working-class in character than its American equivalent. Increases in youth spending were concentrated among young workers, and it was estimated that “not far short of 90 percent of all teenage spending” was “conditioned by working class taste and values” (1959). Meanwhile, in the U.S., European teenage fashion was back in style. American women’s fashion took inspiration from British exports, from the miniskirt to the chic modernist designs of Mary Quant. The British “Mod” style, which consisted of fitted shirts, sharp-cut jackets, and tapered trousers arrived in America in 1966, resulting in a flurry of media excitement.
The significant impact on international youth fashion during the late 1960s and early 1970s was largely attributed to the counterculture of the era. The nonconformity and exoticism of the counterculture appealed to youths who shared an interest in self-exploration, creativity, and alternative lifestyles. This subsequently resulted in countercultural influences in the form of ethnic designs, psychedelic patterns, faded denim, and tie-dye in mainstream youth style. The emergence of rap music and hip-hop culture (a combination of graffiti, dance, and fashion) in the late 1970s also introduced a new passion for sportswear produced by firms such as Adidas, Reebok, and Nike to the popular youth.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the growth of teenage consumption was on the verge of decline due to the rising unemployment of young people. However, by the beginning of the new millennium, demographic shifts and economic trends indicated that youth would remain a profitable commercial market. According to market research, the purchasing power of teenagers was still growing, and teenage fashions also progressively appealed to other age groups. Manufacturers and advertisers targeted fashions originally intended for teenagers at preteens, encouraging them to buy products ostensibly geared towards older consumers. On the other hand, teenage fashion, tastes, and lifestyles associated with youth culture also became increasingly favoured by consumers in their twenties and above, making it more inclusive to both ends of the age scale. Therefore, “teenage fashion” was no longer characteristic of teenagers, but had won a much broader and more general cultural appeal.
In conclusion, clothing styles favoured by young people have been an imperative impact on European and American fashion. The changes in fashion trends throughout history could be attributed to a number of different factors, ranging from the rises and falls of the economy to what was popular in the mass media at the time. Subsequently, these trends became inspirations for more extensive developments in modern fashion. By the 1990s, the “youth” market had grown to include not only teenagers, but also consumers of all ages.