How Does Culture Affect Your Style?

As a fashion stylist, I am witnessing a rebirth of fashion through the influence of technology and it’s having an impact on how women dress and style themselves today. A woman may shop from similar brands, but the history, economy, culture, traditions, and women’s roles within these communities ensures a woman's continuing individuality.

So when asked about global styling my initial thought was “ how does a person ever wrap their arms around such a huge landscape of cultures and tastes?”. A surprising realisation emerged, that styling has become more and more consistent across the globe as our tastes have become more similar. I think having the world at our fingertips with technology where you can purchase the latest cool dress or bag in seconds shows that our purchasing has become streamlined… but is that also true for our tastes?

So as a stylist who travels extensively curating clothes for global retailers, I can’t help but wonder if the language of fashion is becoming homogeneous across the world or are there different dialects still existing that we are
ignoring?

Is there still a need for geography-specific design and styling?

To explore this idea I studied 3 markets in depth the UK, Russia, and Japan. I took a simple shirt dress to see how I would design and style differently across these markets.

In the UK, I would design the shirtdress with a relaxed silhouette and style
with chunky white trainers or Birkenstock sandals or cowboy boots. I would then accessorise the look with a mini or a tote bag with small drop earrings a thin chain or necklace.

Russian women seem to prefer a more structured silhouette. So the same shirtdress I would have in a slim fit worn above the thigh and pair it with super high strappy sandals or high pumps. I would then accessorize this look with a structured shoulder bag maybe a Bag or tote. We could even add a belt to accentuate the waistline.

When this same shirt dress comes to Japan, I would design and styled it differently. The shirt dress would have a wide loose oversized fit with hemlines well below the knee.

You could also layer this garment over a T-Shirt and trousers. I would keep the global trend of pairing it with chunky white trainers or sports sandals, and accessories it with large basket totes and delicate earrings.

Despite my initial thoughts, we can clearly see the nuances of design and styling as the shirtdress travels east across different countries and cultures. This is but one tiny example of how one garment can be designed and styled according to regional sensibilities.

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Written by Suna Hasan.

Suna is the Head of Style Intelligence for Streamoid Technologies. As a designer of 33 years, and as the head of design for global fashion companies, Suna brings a comprehensive knowledge base to the Streamoid team.