Fashion Before the t-shirt was underwear, and now we wear pajamas on the street: for the last hundred years the dress has been relaxed and the rules relaxed, and there is no end in sight

The Design Museum’s exhibition looks at dressing in relation to social change.

11.6. 12:39

Yes it was radical. Now wear underwear as outerwear!

But so Marlon Brando made. In a 1951 film Seduction wagon he presented Stanley Kowalski wearing a white t-shirt.

Although as early as the beginning of the 20th century, several t-shirt companies also marketed the product for leisure use, the British and American armies originally thought of the garment worn under a uniform as underwear.

Brandon’s appearance changed attitudes. At the latest, the popularity of the t-shirt is cemented James Dean in the movie A young rebel (1955).

Today, the t-shirt is one of the most used garments in the world.

The last hundred For years, fashion development has been driven by comfort. The dress is relaxed, the rules relaxed.

The well-being of the wearer of the garment has become important.

The development can be seen like the t-shirt story: previously hidden underwear or home outfits have become street fashion. Lingerie is outerwear, leggings are challenged by pants. In modern fashion, a nightgown is a summer dress and pajamas are worn outside the home.

The corona pandemic has reinforced the change. Many have worked remotely. It is a valued relaxation.

The exhibition that opens today, Friday 11 June, at the Helsinki Design Museum is just about comfort The comfort revolution. The exhibition is curated by Liisa Jokinen, and it has been made in collaboration with the Finnish textile company Nanson, which is 100 years old. Old and new photos and video are on display. The development of fashion is opened through four historical garments – llama shirt, t-shirt, nightwear and lingerie.

Changes are reflected in the surrounding society. That’s when it affects the dress.

19th century in mid-Central Europe, reformist movements emerged in the United States. Campaigned for vegetarianism, exercise and more comfortable dressing. It was thought that clothing affects people’s well-being.

Of course, the pursuit of comfort can be seen to have begun earlier. For example, during the French Revolution, the ornate court style folded toward Puritan simplicity. The clothes were wanted to feel good.

Dressing has also been strongly influenced by, for example, feminism and the women’s movement, globalization, youth fashion, popular culture …

It is now predicted that the relaxation of fashion, casualization, determines the dress in the future more than any other factor.

The popularity of multi-purpose clothing has grown. The same outfit goes to work and leisure.

While precise dress code is still favored in some industries, “strict rules” are breaking, Nanson chief designer believes Noora Niinikoski.

The Design Museum’s exhibition also challenges you to think about the next steps in dressing and the relationship to the contents of your wardrobe. Ecology, for example, has become a key theme.

Trend predictor Li Edelkoortin according to the clothes of the future are “friends who bring comfort”. The view, then, is an emotional matter.

“And when the garment is chosen, you want to take care of it. A deep bond is created, ”says Niinikoski.

Could of course ask if dress is no longer of interest to people.

Before there were jeans, now college pants. Wear leotards, Crocs, Ugg boots. The most relaxed of the garments dominate the street scene.

The curator of the exhibition, Liisa Jokinen, has the answer: yes, she is interested.

“Today, we dress more for ourselves.”

Jokinen is a journalist and founder of the Gem vintage application. He is also known as a photographer especially for his street style blogs Hel Looks and NYC Looks through.

Jokinen says that dressing communicates not only the prevailing values ​​and ideals in society. And – like Georg Simmelin classic fashion theory presents – clothing can both stand out and belong to the crowd.

Of course, the desire for comfort is easy to criticize, Jokinen says.

“But who doesn’t think comfortable clothes are stylish, personal and interesting?”

The Design Museum’s exhibition The Revolution of Comfort is open from 11 June to 29 August 2021.

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