Dissertation reflection

Safe to say the final product is nothing like my original proposal submitted at the end of level 5. Initially I had wanted to research into the relationship between fashion and modern art, looking at pieces such as YSL’s Piet Mondrian dress and the relationships between his 1961 shift dress, and Mondrian’s tree series paintings. However, the more research into the subject I did, the more boring and monotonous it became, and having already researched into the 1961 shift dress, I made the decision to write about something that I truly cared about: The Sixties.

Having grown up with a close relationship with my grandparents, I’d been exposed to Sixties culture from a young age, from looking through my grandparents’ wedding photos, to reading old newspapers, and listening to 60’s music, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The animals. It’s something that I love, and it seemed right to write a paper on it. Having researched the YSL dress already, it lead me to researching more into Sixties fashions, and the difference in the Sixties to the fifties. This is when I made the decision to research, and write about 60’s fashions, and how they were seen as a time of revolution against society and older generations. I made the decision to discuss a brief background into why society changed as much as it did, and the effects that it had on fashion. However, being obsessed with Sixties music, I felt as though I had to look at the effect that these musicians, celebrities and designers had on the changes that happened during the decade.

With the first chapter exploring social ideologies of the Sixties, and how fashion changed along with it, it was clear that there were a number of reasons as to how fashion developed in the way it did. The second chapter then focused on designs of the early Sixties and how they differed to those of the Fifties. It explored the effect that Mary Quant and John Stephens had as designers, and the changes in fashion designs that they brought along with them. It also looked at Twiggy’s influence, and how she spurred the androgynous, Mod look in female fashions of the decade. Finally the third chapter, and how Musicians and celebrities had an effect on Hippie fashions of the era. Looking at The Beatles and how Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts club band fuelled flourescent, brightly coloured fashions of the Late Sixties. Then onto Jimi Hendrix and how he brought Ethnic fashions to the limelight in Hippie Culture. Finally onto Cher, and her influences on Hippie fashions such as bell bottom jeans and halter necks.

The aim of this thesis was to give an insight as to how changes in society effect fashion, and also to explore where designers take their influences from. As a designer it’s important to always have an understanding of how society is changing, and how designs are changing along side it. The Sixties seemed like the perfect era to look at, as it’s widely regarded as the turning point in Fashion and society in the 20th century. This dissertation showed me how designers of the Sixties saw a gap in the Market for young adult designs, and aimed their fashions at them, giving youths a way of expressing themselves through fashion. However, it also showed me that sometimes it’s the market themselves that effect the fashion industry. With on going changes in society, and youths becoming more empowered, it was clear that it was in fact Youths, that drove the Sixties fashion revolution, and Youths that had the biggest influence on society during the decade.

As a whole, I’m happy with how this module has gone. Though the final product is nothing like I had anticipated in the beginning, I think I made the right decision to change my question when I did. Unlike many of my peers, I enjoyed writing this paper, as it’s something that I’m truly passionate about, and something close to my heart. I’ll also say that creating a ‘dissertation play list’ to listen to whilst writing gave me the added inspiration that I needed, and added that extra bit of enjoyment to an otherwise monotonous task. Though I’ve now submitted the paper a day before the deadline, I will say my time management could’ve been a lot better. I’ve never been great at balancing heavy work loads between subject constellation and field and thats proven itself to be true again with this module. Had I done more work before Christmas as well as my subject work I may have been able to enjoy my Christmas that extra bit more, however due to my terrible time management the last week of the Christmas holidays consisted mainly of me being sat in front of my computer researching and writing.

Overall I’m happy with the work I have produced, if I had 20,000 words to write, I could have included a much deeper discussion on the social changes in the Sixties, however in regards to the fashion changes that happened during the decade, I think I’ve covered all the main influences, from designers to musicians and to models. Some people never want to touch their dissertations again after the final submission, I on the other hand intend on continuing my research throughout my career, and am proud to say that, had I not made the decision to change my question, I may not have been as happy as I am with the work i produced. Yes, I’m glad it’s finally over, and finally submitted. But I’ve learnt a lot throughout this process, about the Sixties, and about my loves and hates as a designer. However, for the time being it’s over and done with for now. Now to focus on the daunting thought of the exhibition project!


P.S. A quick thanks to my mother for proof reading the paper time and time again. Another thanks to my famil, friends and loved ones for their love and support throughout the production of the paper.

Finally a special thanks to Cath Davies for aiding me and supporting me throughout this module.

I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of the people around me, and I’m incredibly grateful for everyone’s help and input.