The influence of Eastern styles on Western fashion

Fashion trends and popular styles get their influences from all kinds of things, such as art, music and nature. The cultural differences between the West and the East often influence each other. Throughout history, we have seen these influences show up within the development of fashion.

A notable Eastern influence on Western fashion are animals (both real and mythical creatures). We often see elephant motifs, tiger prints, dragons and so many more. This kind of imagery has become so popular in Western fashion it’s easy to forget its origins.

There are so many other influences, not just in popular high street and designer fashion. Even our sportswear has been heavily influenced by Eastern culture. A great example of this is Yoga pants and workout gear. With yoga originating in India, and becoming extremely popular in Western countries, we have been inspired by the original styles for this spiritual phenomenon.

With both the West and the East having different materials, plants and cultures, there was a big difference in styles as fashion grew in popularity. Eventually, once trade became more accessible, it was easier to swap out our unique pieces. Some other aspects to this are both war and immigration.

After wars, items were brought back from countries and given as gifts. And similarly with immigration, families moving from the East to the West brought their cultures with them.

Though, there are some issues within this topic. It is important to recognise the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation. Since many influences came from the colonisation of Eastern countries, it’s crucial we know the origins of these styles and use them respectfully. A lot of cultural and religious wear has more meaning and significance behind it and shouldn’t be used or worn just for aesthetic purposes.

Taking inspiration is a good way to use something you appreciate and turn it into something of your own. Always be aware of the current Eastern designers, and styles that already exist. If you like what they do, or the styles they create- a great option is to collaborate with them, and mix your styles together. You could also purchase fabrics and materials from Eastern suppliers.

Keeping an eye on Eastern trends and looking into areas of the culture are a great way to find inspiration and add some unique ideas to a collection.

Written by: Abby Ashenhurst

Digital content executive @ Elemntz