Last Updated on December 15, 2023
Popular culture can be defined as the artistic output, practices, trends, objects, beliefs, and creations that become popular or influential in a society. It is never static, it is constantly changing and evolving throughout time. It is closely linked to fashion but is pop culture the one influencing fashion or is fashion influencing pop culture?
It is sometimes hard to tell as both are very much intertwined. However, it is clear that both pop culture and fashion inspire and influence each other. They both create iconic fashion and pop culture moments and boost each other’s overall economy.
This article will focus on pop culture ‘s influence on fashion, while recognizing that fashion has influenced pop culture itself. Some of the biggest pop culture impacts on fashion trends will be listed in this article.
The origins of pop culture’s influence on fashion
Pop culture has always influenced fashion in one way or another. Fashion has, also, always influenced pop culture in its own way. Before modern-day pop culture existed, literature was one of the main influences on fashion. For example, ancient Greek playwrights had an influence on fashion when they chose to dress their characters and heroes a certain way.
The famous 19th-20th century writer Virginia Woolf had an impact on fashion when she released her successful novel Orlando. Another example is pop culture icon Marlene Dietrich. The actress was one of the first women to wear men’s trousers in public and became an influential fashion figure through her unique and original outfits.
Biggest pop culture influence on the fashion industry
Stacked ripped jeans, and jeans in general, are some of the best examples of pop culture influences on the fashion industry.
Jeans were first worn by working-class US citizens who could not afford pants. Working-class individuals usually wore ripped up jeans because they could not afford to buy a new pair. Up until the 1920s and ‘30s, jeans were seen as non-fashionable clothing items and a sign of low social status. However, pop culture changed that. Western movies and Hollywood stars such as John Wayne and Ginger Rogers popularized jeans.
Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, ripped jeans were worn by musicians and singers particularly those in the grunge movement. Having ripped jeans was associated with rebellion, revolution, and anti-conformism. Since the 2000s, stacked ripped jeans have been considered cool, laidback, and stylish clothing items. Musicians, such as rappers and lead singers of popular bands, still wear these types of jeans. By wearing them, they are contributing to the jeans’ continuing popularity.
Nowadays, these jeans are often associated with modern streetwear fashion.
Why is pop culture so influential?
Pop culture is a constant source of inspiration for fashion designers. It reflects modern society and people’s preferred forms of escapism. For example, many historians and experts look at pop culture or artistic creations of a certain era to better understand the social conventions, general issues and worries of the time.
The fashion industry usually turns to pop culture in order to create new and relevant fashion outfits. But what exactly, within pop culture, inspires fashion industry professionals?
Some of the most influential sectors in pop culture include music, movies, TV series, games and sports. For example, rappers and hip-hop artists are some of the biggest pop culture influences right now. They are largely responsible for the popularity of streetwear. By embracing streetwear fashion in their music clips and on stage, they have contributed to the success of this fashion style. There are thousands, sometimes millions, of fans who suddenly pay attention to a fashion trend after seeing their favorite artist embrace it.
This article discussed when and how pop culture became so influential in fashion. Pop culture has always influenced fashion, just as fashion has always influenced pop culture. Both are highly intertwined and will for many years to come. As long as fashion remains a dominant industry, pop culture will remain mainstream due to tabloids, music, and the film industry.