September 19, 2017
September, as you may know, is a month truly dedicated to fashion. Pictures are invading our social media feeds from the past week's designer runways of New York, this week is London turn, then on to Milan and Paris. However, the world’s obsession over the newest trends isn’t something new, and was actually introduced by the Victorians.
From the middle to the end of the 19th century, under the reign of Queen Victoria, England saw great changes in fashion trends. The economic growth of the country allowed advances in technology, such as synthetic dyes and the mass production of sewing machines, which had a major impact on clothing.
It is truly the Victorian era that brought about consumerism as we know it today. Trendy clothing wasn’t purely accessible to the bourgeoisie anymore, but thanks to the birth of the fashion magazine, fashion advertising and the industrial revolution - clothes were being made faster and cheaper - the common people were allowed to play the fashion game, wearing a different outfit for every purpose.
We decided to take you back in time, to visit the Victorian gentlemen’s, ladies’ and hipsters’ closets.
The Victorian man was the gentleman par excellence. From fitted trousers, frocks and waistcoats, to wide cravats and later on extravagant bow ties, without forgetting the iconic hat, the victorian gentleman has no need to envy the modern man.
The shapes and styles of clothing might have encountered several changes during this era, but each outfit was worn with class (and with an outstanding facial hair of course). The gentleman not only dressed up for special occasions and gatherings, but also for his daily routine and chores.
Did you know?
The ever popular Bowler hat is credited to the Bowler brothers, who supposedly designed it after being asked to produce a study, yet still smart, hat for gamekeepers to wear by their client William Coke, who complained that his gamekeeper's hats were constantly being knocked off by low hanging branches.
Legend has it that on seeing the prototype, William Coke took it out the shop, threw it on the floor and stamped on it twice to test it's durability.
Wondering which watch the gentleman would wear? Surely our No.29.
During the Victorian era, gender roles were clearly defined and although a lot of women of this period worked, her true place was in the home. However, it is fair to say that a women's clothing wasn’t exactly functional.
Indeed, a woman’s dress was the expression of her and her family's place in society; the bigger and more extravagant the dress the wealthier the husband.
In the early days of the era, tight corsets (for an hourglass silhouette), embroidered petticoats, lace, ribbons and extravagant feather hats were the ladies go to accessories Later on, towards the end of the period and with the female liberation, the corset became wider allowing a bell shape silhouette, and the dresses much simpler.
Cosmetics during the Victorian age were quite the minefield. Not only did most creams and 'paints' contain hazardous products, the question alone of whether women should even wear make-up was one that produced varying opinions. While it was widely accepted that women 'must do their best to make themselves attractive', make-up was viewed as deceitful by some, and heaven forbid you wear too much, because only one kind of women was known for wearing lots of make-up...
Wondering which watch the ladies would wear? Surely our No.24.
We all know what a hipster is. Even though you might not be aware of the correct definition of the word hipster, you would for sure recognise one by its 'vintage' and 'cool' looks.Indeed, the modern male hipster is not only bearded but generally has an incredible moustache, wears a hat and brown leather shoes, wanders around cafés in East London, listens to vinyls instead of digital files and above all does not own a car, but rides around on a vintage bicycle. However, have you ever wondered were these hipster draw their fashion inspiration from? Well, if you look below, you can clearly see some very modern looking gentlemen on bicycles!
Of course, there was more than one variation of the Victorian hipster.The first was the groups of young and cool victorians on their bicycles. Keeping their neat appearance but riding the most incredible (and dangerous) bikes, the Penny-Farthing. Outrageous for some, magnificent for others, one thing is sure, they looked seriously cool.
The other hipsters, better known as Dandies, were the young avant-garde victorians. Those men and women who made their aesthetic the centre of their lives. Their clothing, often incorporating colourful prints and oversized ribbons and bow ties, were always from the latest fashion. Wondering which watch the hipsters would wear? Why our No.27 and No.88, of course.
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Behind-the-scenes content and design inspiration from the founders of The Camden Watch Company.From Camden with love.