Fashion research focuses on any link in the fashion design, production, distribution, marketing and merchandising or fashion-consumption chain. Research can take on a historical perspective or leap forward, paving the way for advances in the industry. A researcher's area of interest and research purpose narrows the spectrum.
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Research topic ideas include: fashion trends inclusive of silhouette, colour and fabric; design concepts and creative inspiration; a litany of designers and their impact; and design trends and technology. The production phase encompasses technological advances; methods; production regions; related labour costs; and cost-control. The sociological impact of fashion holds endless research possibilities that include: meaning, symbolism and social impact of fashion.
The University of California Davis lists the following educational research topics on its site: textiles; body arts; impact of race, gender, sexuality, class and nationality on dress; subcultures; critiques of media and systems of representation; alternative media production and alternative modes of representing women's body image; globalisation of fashion-production, labour factors and garment workers' unions.
The Fashion Research Institute researchers specifically study virtual worlds of fashion; apparel design and development; and fashion design education. Their goal is to promote fresh merchandising, designing and education methods within fashion's realms.
First View is a commercial fashion website providing images of worldwide design collections. The latest runway shows are catalogued by designer names, seasons, category and Fashion Week event. Collections are logged in with most recent first and then go backward, archiving up to a decade for certain design houses. Shows, hot off the runway that preview upcoming seasons, require viewing fees. Historical archives are free to access and hourly passes are available.
"Women's Wear Daily," an industry journal, has an online database archived from 1994 onward. Search by clicking on "Advanced Search/Archives" from the information bar at the top of the web page. You must be on a participating fashion campus to access the site.
Other fashion websites that might help you with your fashion research projects include: Fashion Net, which is an online fashion guide providing links that include online fashion magazines, stylists, design collections and industry job postings; Apparel Search, which offers a garment industry guide that lists jobs, factories, news resources, stores and wholesalers; and "The New York Times" Fashion & Style Pages online, which is a free registered membership site containing "New York Times" Fashion and Style pages.
Credible resources provide accurate information. Don't compromise your research topic with unreliable sources.
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