The Evolution of Fashion

From the swinging 60s through to the 90s, our fashion inspiration has gone through countless transformations. But what was popular all those decades ago? And how has fashion changed over time? Explore our evolution of fashion infographic below to relive past memories – fond or otherwise!


1960s style

Futuristic fashion, flower power and clean-cut style collided to form this decade’s most popular looks. Whether it was the space race prompting metallic dresses and plastic fashion or the Summer of Love stretching its influence all the way over from the Atlantic, the 60s was an impressionable time where politics, popstars and globalisation all had an effect on the way we decided to dress. The most iconic fashion of the times include:

  • Space Aged Everything – metallic dresses and ultramodern accessories made of plastic
  • PVC – Plastic dresses, plastic raincoats, even plastic trousers
  • The Mod Mop Top – made famous by The Beatles
  • Paisley – brought back by travellers to India

1970s style

Loud colours and memorable patterns made their way into the mainstream, in part helped by pop culture icons like David Bowie, The Osmonds and the Bay City Rollers (who took it a step further and made Tartan trousers cool). Bright platform shoes, even brighter suit-shirt combinations, and unique skirts all joined the crowd throughout the 70s. Some of the most memorable items of clothing include:

  • Patchwork Peasant Skirts – free, comfortable, bohemian style
  • Platform Shoes – they didn’t have a height restriction, for men or women
  • Disco Suits – as well as oversized collars, flared trousers and open shirts

1980s style

Continuing the trend of 'the brighter the better' fashion in the 80s was even more flamboyant. With the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Boy George and Deirdre from Corrie leading the way in what it meant to be cool – our efforts were destined to be even more exuberant than the decade before. From adding shoulder pads to anything that would allow to sporting big and bright exercise gear in our day to day lives – fashion continued to evolve and become even more fluid. Popular must-haves included:

  • Shoulder Pads – the bigger, the better!
  • Legwarmers, Sweatbands & Stirrups – it became cool to wear exercise clothing, whether we were exercising or not
  • Acid Wash Jeans – because plain old denim just wasn’t good enough
  • Hair perms, mullets and moustaches galore

1990s style

The 90s arrived and we started to settle down. Changes in fashion meant our clothing became much more casual and relaxed, with the mantra Less is more never being so applicable. Icons like Winona Ryder and Oasis defined the decade with understated style – which after two decades of big and bold style came as a welcome change, (though the bright colours continued to stick around). Big hits in the 90s were:

  • Parkas – 60s style re-popularised
  • Bright clothes – Tie-dye, pastels and multi-coloured patterns
  • Sports & Casual Wear – relaxed fashion became much more acceptable.

British fashion has evolved significantly over the decades.

Celebrate 30 years of style at Cotton Traders by taking a trip even further down Memory Lane and reliving the styles that influenced what we wear today.



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