The meaning of fashion in TV and film

As society indulges in more T.V and film than ever before Nimra Rafique considers how the fashion industry is impacted by our watches

Nimra Rafique
20th May 2020
@netflix on Instagram
TV shows and films have always inspired fashion in the real world. Whether it is our everyday style or simply a Halloween costume, the screen industry is definitely a source of inspiration to many.

Examples range from Cher’s iconic outfits in Clueless to Blair’s signature headbands in Gossip Girl, and even Audrey Hepburn’s black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This inspiration has been adapted on many scales, some literally get the exact pieces a character was wearing, or on the other hand, some may simply find similar items or adopt a character’s style and make it their own.

A lot of work goes into the fashion of films and TV shows, costume designers take pride in making sure every piece adds to the character, as their style can tell the audience a lot about that person’s personality and story. Often fashion in some films and TV shows can have symbolic significance and link to underlying meaning, such as Rose’s butterfly hair comb in Titanic, or Daisy’s pearl necklace in The Great Gatsby.

Personally, when watching TV shows and films I am mostly drawn to the accessories in terms of fashion and I find that this is what normally holds the most symbolic significance and meaning, and often the easiest to find inspiration from if you’re wanting to adapt it into your own style. Accessories can really elevate and enhance your look, and a trend I was happy to see throughout 2019/20 was hair accessories, from hair clips to headbands, everyone channelling that Blair Waldorf look.

The first accessory from a film that caught my eye was Veda’s mood ring in My Girl. I was so fascinated by the whole concept and how this small piece of jewellery was such a significant part of the character as well as the storyline, creating such a deep meaning which also continued in the sequel.

One film that literally revolves around a piece of clothing is The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and again the pair of jeans, that was the focus of the first film and the sequel, generated symbolic meaning and purpose for the characters and played a huge role in the meaning of the overall story. The pants represented the bond and friendship between the main protagonists and the journey they go on which brings them closer to each other and to themselves. It was a big part of their character development and taught them important lessons, and as Carmen says at the end of the final film, ‘the pants had brought us together again. The rest is in our hands.’

Fashion doesn’t always have to be materialistic, it can have great metaphorical meaning and symbolism. Therefore, we can take fashion inspiration from films and TV shows to help build our own character, internally as well as externally.

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