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Terminology, Theory, TRENDS, Uncategorized

STERYOTYPES: Era Specific

An era is a period of time. You know that already, but depending on where you are in the world, the 40’s, 60’s or even 90’s mean something different to you all. So why is it that when we talk about an era in a trend capacity, everyone seems to know what you are talking about?

40’s glamour! What are you thinking? I bet your mind went straight to Hollywood. The dresses of the red carpet. The lights of backstage surrounded by uncovered light bulbs. Red lipstick and wooden, hand crafted, ornate furniture. This isn’t a coincidence. Everyone thinks of the same thing. Or maybe you didn’t?

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Let’s take the era of the 1970’s. It’s not referenced much compared to that of the others listed above but it shaped our world considerably. In 1979 the first female Prime Minister was elected in the UK. There was a global recession due to the oil crisis across the decade, yet Japan seemed to escape the downturn. The Middle East declared war on Israel and there was an uprising in America demanding peace and the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Women were in the first throws of finding independence is some liberal countries and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. All in all there was a lot going on in the world and this is just a few events of the decade and if you or a member of your family remember the 70’s, that experience will be very specific, not only to the country they were in, but also the city too. Yet if you ask a stylist or designer what products, interiors or fashion they think of when you say the 70’s, I assume they would all come back with the same or a few of the same things. It was the birth of the Green Revolution. Yellow, orange and brown were a definite colour theme. Wallpaper, furniture and fashion loved large scale prints; with a tessellating all over repeat. Circles and curved lines were key and furniture loved both natural wood and brightly coloured plastic. Flares were worn by both men and women and Farrah Fawcett was the favourite pin up girl thanks to a little TV show in America called Charlie’s Angels in 1976.

Was that all happening in your country? Your city?

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In terms of trend, the era specified really doesn’t refer to an era where you are in the world; it usually refers to a period in America and sometimes England. America hasn’t really been around long compared to the rest of the world and during the 19th and some of the 20th century, the ideas of fashion, products and interiors came to them from Europe anyway. The fact is that your history might be the same as that country and indeed the social movements of interiors, fashion and products might also be the same, but unless there is a specific culture reference added on, the era is that of America. Sad but true.

Now go back to the 40’s glamour question. If you didn’t think of the Hollywood element, then you may have to do a little bit of work. I’m going to assume, maybe too much, but I am going to assume you are probably from a culture that has its own rich history, or hasn’t really had a lot of contact with American or English history. Maybe you are just so far away that these countries haven’t influenced your culture at all. Somewhere like Asia maybe? Well as specific and alien as it is, you might need to research some of these era’s when you are doing your next project or work assignment. For whatever reason, maybe economic sway, maybe news coverage, I honestly don’t know why, America is the one to reference and understand when it comes to era trends.

Now I’m not saying that your history isn’t important. No not at all. Trends are really a starting point and these are just buzzwords, created and used to give a title to a theme like any other and you will have to adapt trends to your own location and the location of your customers or clients. Your culture might have a completely different aesthetic to the trend buzzwords, but if someone says 40’s glamour or the swinging 60’s, now you’ll know what the reference is all about.

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