Fashion Terminology

Fashion is an important and major force that affects our daily lives in many different aspects. Fashion is a creative and complex concept; involving much more than apparel, accessories, make-up and hairstyle.

Fashion is a crucial, ever-changing and challenging force. It is a mode of currently prevailing styles and trends. It affects people in many ways.

People who are fond of fashion, usually try to be in vogue. They try to seek new fashion trends and accept it in their lives.

The ones who are in the business of fashion; whether they are designers, merchandisers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, stylists, visual merchandisers etc. have to be in touch of current market information related to fashion.

Understanding fashion includes knowing many specific terms related to fashion, apparel and many more things. So, different fashion related terminologies one should know about.

Basic Fashion Terminology

  • Accessories: Any of the articles which are required to complete the look, such as – watch, jewellery, hats, shoes, tie, belt etc.

  • Adaptation: A design which reflects the wonderful features of another design, but it is not the exact copy.

  • Be spoke: A tailor who makes custom clothes individually, to your specific personal measurements, design requirements and creates a custom pattern for that garment is called “bespoke”.

  • Apparel: An apparel refers to any of the men‟s, women‟s or children‟s clothing.

  • Avant-garde: The design which is most daring, wild and experimental. It is unconventional and startling idea, design or technique in particular time.

  • Boutique: A free standing shop devoted to specialized sells for the customer with special interest.

  • Bridge fashion: It is a less expensive alternative; it is simply a step down in price from designer, achieved by using less expensive fabric or different production method.

  • Cine mode: A style of fashion that is originated in movies.

  • Classic: An item of clothing that lasts for very longer period of time unaffected by any fashion change. It is always acceptable and can be worn year after year. For example, Saree, Denim, the little black dress, white shirt, dark business suits, etc.

  • Couture: It means dress making, needle work or sewing.

  • Costume: It is the distinctive style of dress of an individual or group that reflects their class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality or activity.

  • Design: A design is a drawing or a plan created to show the look and function or working of a garment, building or any other object.

  • Designer: A person who manipulates and arranges the fabric, colour and line, or a person who designs dresses (Illustration).

  • Diffusion line: it is also known as Bridge line; it is a secondary line of merchandise created by a high-end-fashion house or fashion designer that retails at lower prices.

  • Early adaptors: The people who adapt the newly introduced fashion very fast, when the fashion is in its introduction stage.

  • Fad: A temporary, passing fashion which lasts for very short time span. It is a look or an item that gets popularized very fast and dies also very quickly.

  • Fashion: The display of contemporary style of clothing. A fashion is currently popular style of clothing, favoured by large number of people at any given period of time and influence by social, geographical, political, economical and artistic media.

  • Fashion adaptors: The people who adapts the newly introduced fashion in the market.

  • Fashion cycle: Fashion cycle means the time period during which the fashion exists. The word “cycle” suggests a circle. However, the fashion life cycle is represented by a bell-shaped curve, and five stages.

  • Fashion Forward: A style that is currently not in fashion but it is good enough to be in trend in near future. The term fashion forward is also used for the people who are with good fashion sense, and know what will become a fashion trend in near future.

  • Fashion leaders: These are the men or women who have the credibility to start a new style.

  • Garment: A particular article of apparel. For example: coat, suit, palazzo, shirt, or sweater etc.

  • Hi fashion: High fashion are the latest or newest fashions. They are usually of top quality, with fine workmanship and beautiful fabrics. Because of the quality, they are expensive. High fashion styles originate from top notch designers of leading fashion cities.

  • Haute: It means high or elegant.

  • Haute couture: In French it means “Finest Dressmaking”. It refers to the high fashion industry or fashion houses with a designer who originally creates the individual designer fashion garments.
  • In Vogue: In vogue means something that is currently in trend or in style. Knock-off – A design that is copy of high priced garments.

  • Knock-off or High street: The garments which are copy of Haute Couture garments. The mass quantity produced at lower prices.

  • Label: The term fashion label refers to upcoming designers who make ready-to-wear outfits in limited numbers. These outfits are high on style and are often expensive than regular store garments but lesser than established designer wear.

  • Made-to-measure: A garment made by taking measurements, use the preexisting basic templates pattern, adjusting it to the measurements of the customer. For example, Raymond‟s

  • Mass fashion: Also known as ready-to-wear, Off-the-rack. The clothes that cater large number of customers, producing ready to wear garments at a lower cost, in large quantities and standard sizes, still try to keep the designer look. For example: Global desi, Westside, Aakriti etc.

  • Mass production: Production of goods in a bulk quantity at fashion industry

  • Monochrome: In fashion term, monochrome is a dress/ look or outfit that is only in black and white in colour. It can be teamed up with accessories of the same tone. Pret-a-Porter – It is a French term which means ready-to-wear apparels.

  • Style: A particular design, pattern, shape, silhouette, type of apparel item. Defined by a specific distinct feature. For example, burmuda shorts, ruffled saree, boyfriend t-shirt, rugged denim etc.

  • Stylist: A person who advices, converting styles in clothes, finishing and so on.

  • Tailored garments: A customized garment made by taking measurement of an individual, cutting the pieces and then sewing together to fit the shape of the body of that particular person.

  • Theme: A theme selected by designer represents a collection. A theme can be a range of colours, type of fabric, any particular pattern, a historic period, any foreign place etc.

  • Trend: A fashion trend is a direction in which the fashion is moving. It can be towards the acceptance of people or away from the acceptance of people.

  • Wardrobe: All the garments/apparel owned by a person. The wardrobe includes all of your garments and accessories.

Basic Sketching Terminology

  • Bodice: The area above the waist in a garment. It is the upper part of the dress or jumpsuit. The bodice is usually fitted and can be distinguish by a seam at the waist line.

  • CAD: Computer Aided Design

  • Croquis: A rough, preliminary drawing or sketch.

  • Fit: Refers to how tight or loose a garment is on the person wearing it. The garment can be designed to be loose, semi-fitted or fitted to achieve desired fashion looks.

  • Motif: a decorative image or design, especially a repeated one, forming a pattern. Pattern – a repeated decorative design.

  • Ready-to-wear garments: The garments that are mass produced or produced in a bulk quantity in factories.

  • Repeat: Motif gets repeated to create a pattern.

  • Silhouette: The basic shape of a clothing style. It is formed by the length and width of neckline, sleeves, waist line, and skirt or pant. Some of the silhouettes are – A-line, sheath, column / rectangular silhouette, hourglass, bell silhouette, asymmetrical, empire, mermaid / trumpet, tent or trapezoid, egg-shaped silhouette etc.

Basic Face Shapes Terminology

  • Oval: A face that is slightly narrow at the jaw line and temples, it is a longer version of round face.

  • Heart: A wider face and forehead with a narrow and delicate chin. It also known as inverted triangle face shape, because it is wide at forehead with pointed chin.

  • Rectangular or Oblong face: A long and slender face. Forehead and area below cheekbones are of the same width in a square face.

  • Square: A face with strong jaw line as well as a strong hairline. A proportional face with comparatively straight sides and minimal curve at chin.
    • A square face is with the nearly same width of forehead, cheeks and jaw line. The chin is slightly curved.

  • Diamond: A face with narrow forehead, probably high cheekbones and a narrow and pointed chin.

  • Round: This face shape is fuller with a found hairline, a vertical and horizontal ratio is equal.

  • Triangular: A face that is narrow at forehead and broader at chin.

Basic Garments Terminology

  • Peplum: A ruffle or flared section in the construction of a jacket or blouse that extends a short distance below the waistline. Peplums may be sewn to the bodice, cut in one with the bodice, or may be a separate section attached to a belt.

  • Hemline: Also referred to as the hem of an outfit, the hemline refers to the lower edge of a garment.

  • Pattern grading: is the scaling of a pattern to a different size by implementing important points of the pattern using an algorithm in the clothing and footwear industry.

  • Pattern making: is the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled.

  • Toile: an early version of a finished garment made up in cheap material so that the design can be tested and perfected. A translucent linen or cotton fabric, used for making clothes.

  • Ethnic: An outfit which is traditional or native.

  • Draping: A technique of pattern making where the fabric is placed on the dress form and pinned to create a design. It is 3-dimentional.

  • Empire waist garment: A garment with location of the waistline just under the bust line.

  • Composite garment: A garment which is made with the combination of tailored method and draped method. Garment parts are cut and sewn. Some parts may fits close to the body and some parts may drape. For example, Japanese Kimono, bathrobes etc.

Basic Stitching Terminology

  • A line: A-line skirt is a skirt that is fitted at the hips and gradually widens towards the hem, giving the impression of the shape of a capital letter A. The term is also used to describe dresses and coats with a similar shape.

  • Garment components: Any part or section of garment like pocket, sleeve, collar, waist band, cuff etc.

  • Gathers: A means of distributing fullness in some part of a garment by sewing a loose row of stitches, pulling the thread, and sliding the fabric along the thread to make soft folds in order to decrease the width of the fabric.

  • Placket: An opening or slit in the garment which allows room to the garment to put it on wear it. Plackets are generally placed at neck, wrist, top of the skirt, or front of the trouser. Types – buttons, hooks, zipper, Velcro etc.

  • Pleat: A fold of fabric that is either stitched down or held in place by another construction feature to get fullness. Types of pleats: knife pleat, accordion pleat, box pleat, inverted box pleat. Pleat may be a part of skirt, blouse, sleeve, neckline, pant etc.

  • Princess line: A garment style in which parts of garments are cut from the shoulder to waist line hem. Close body fit is achieved by cutting the pieces so that the seams create a shape.

  • Raglan: A sleeve construction in which the underarm seam of the sleeve is extended to the neckline at the front and the back.

  • Shirring: Three or more rows of gathers are placed in parallel lines to achieve a decorative effect while also manipulating fullness.

  • Leg-of-mutton sleeve: A sleeve that is cut with a very full top that is gathered or pleated into the armhole, then tapers gradually to fit closely at the wrist.

  • Seam: In sewing, the lines of stitches that join two pieces of fabric together is called seam. This creates a more or less visible line on the surface of a garment.

  • Bustle: It is a general term used for back fullness in a skirt. Macramé – A hand technique for making small pieces of fabric and trimmings by knotting two to four or more yarns, strings, or cords into a variety of decorative patterns. It is most often seen in belts, handbags, vests, or as trimmings. Sometimes beads are incorporated into the design of the fabric.

  • Tuck: A means of manipulating fullness in garments by folding the fabric and sewing a row parallel to the fold. Fullness is released at the end of the stitching.

  • Dart: V-shaped tuck that is sewn into a garment in order to shape the fabric so that the garment fits the rounded parts of the body. Darts are most often found at the bust line, the back shoulder, the waistline, and the hipline.

Ornamentation / Embellishment Terminology

  • Shibori: A method of fabric ornamentation/embellishment by stitching and forming gathers in the fabric before it is dyed. After dyeing, the stitching is removed and the crinkled areas are released. The areas protected from the dye by stitching and gathering absorb the dye in irregular patterns that form a characteristic of these fabrics.

  • Tie-dye: A method of decorating a garment or fabric by tieing string or other material around pre-selected areas in order to prevent dye from being absorbed by these areas. The unprotected area takes up the dye, the tied area does not.

    To get multicoloured effects, the fabric can be tied in other areas and dipped in another coloured dye. This process can be repeated as often as desired. When tie-dyed fabrics become fashionable, imitations of these designs are often made by machine printing.

  • Animal print: Print inspired from the skin texture of an animal or its foot prints. For example, leopard print, snake skin, paw spots etc.

  • Class print: Prints and patterns which are not affected by fashion trends. For example, paisley.

Other Fashion Terminology

  • Apparel Industry: The enterprise which manufactures garments.

  • CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing .

  • CIM: Computer Integrated Manufacturing

  • Consumers: The people who buy and wear the garments. Consumers are very important, because they are the people who decide that which fashion will or will not be popular.

  • EBO: Exclusive Brand Outlet, have their own outlet or franchise store where it can display and sell merchandise of own brand category.

  • Knitting: Knitting is the formation of fabrics from yarns by creating interconnected loops.

  • LFS: Large Format Stores, have large area to display and sell different brands on one floor to attract and improve customers / customer walk in.

  • MBO: Multi Brands Outlet, is engaged into catering apparels of many brands through advertising and other promotional activities.

  • Resource: A retailer‟s term for wholesale suppliers.

  • Retail store: A store which advertises and sells the products directly to the public. Sourcing – Determining where textiles and/or apparel can be obtained, and how and when this will be done. In the global economy, sources may be domestic or international.

  • Weave type: Fabrics made from yarns that are woven on a loom can be constructed in various ways. Lengthwise or warp yarns are placed on the loom first, and crosswise or weft (also called filling) yarns are interlaced with the warps. There are three basic weaves: plain weave, twill weave, and satin weave.

  • Yarn:Yarns are made by twisting or otherwise binding fibers together and are used to construct fabrics.

  • Visual merchandising: refers to anything that can be seen by the customer inside and outside a store, including displays, decorations, signs and layout of space. The overall purpose of visual merchandising is to get customers to come into the store and spend money.

  • Non-woven: Fabric that is not constructed by weaving, knitting, knotting, or crocheting. Many nonwovens are webs of fiber held together by mechanical action, thermal bonding, chemical solvents, or adhesive agents.

  • Soft goods: Textiles/ the subclass of nondurable goods as represented especially by textile products, as clothing, fabrics, and bedding.

Leave a Reply