20 Fashion Designers Who Changed How Contemporary Fashion Looks

Styles come and go. Last summer your wardrobe must have had a tangerine cloth and this year a lemon yellow. But this is what it is all about, right? After all, fashion literally means the ‘latest trend’ of clothing and decoration. Different eras depict different styles, textures and clothing. There are some incredibly talented designers that have brought about a storm in the fashion industry. It is not only about looking smart, but about grooming oneself and presenting their own personality in what they wear. And this obsession never ends. There has been a tremendous change in how the fashion industry works today. Yes, I say industry because it is lot more than just clothes. Earlier models weren’t given importance at all and look them playing in millions now! So, who are these creative brains behind the picture we see today? Let’s see twenty such designers who changed how contemporary fashion looks.

20. Jeanne Lanvin:

Jeanne Lanvin was a leading French designer and one of the first to do ‘four seasons’. Lanvin had grand plans. Her collection rose to perfumes, home designs, children’s wear, men’s and women’s sportswear and daywear- signalling the first lifestyle brand ever.  Inspiration trips are a big part of the design process for so many modern designers and Lanvin created masterpieces with the help of such travel diaries.

19. Valentino Garavani:


An Italian designer and founder of the famous brand ‘Valentino Spa’, Garavani is an incredible living legend. His clothes reveal his personality of opulence, extravagance, and drama. Everything is made to attract, seduce. His greatest success came in 1967 when Valentino launched his groundbreaking White Collection. Princess Margaret, Queen Paola of Belgium, Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor were some of the famous and regular customers of Garavani.

18. Calvin Klein:

In 1968, Calvin Klein started his company as a coat shop. Today, it is tremendously popular all over the world. In the early 1980s, Klein changed the American market of men’s underwear. Most of them were white and were purchased in packs of three by a “wife, mother or girlfriend when they needed to be” to one where “the American male to care about the brand of something few ever see”.

17. Coco Chanel:

One of the most influential people in fashion industry, Coco Chanel completely revolutionised the way women wear clothes. She introduced trousers for women; suntan, in a time where brown skin was associated with the lower classes; jersey, which used to be reserved for men’s underwear; and branded perfumes.

16. Hubert de Givenchy:


Hubert de Givenchy is one of the last great masters of haute couture. If anyone can offer advice on how to be elegant it’s Hubert de Givenchy.

15. Elsa Schiaparelli:

Long before celebrities dressed in outrageous outfits, Elsa Schiaparelli was doing it, and was doing it way better. She designed the famous lobster and the skeleton dress. Needless to say, she had a wild personality. Schiaparelli was one of the first designers to present clothes with visible zippers. She was an inspiration to pop culture and her influences are still seen everywhere.

14. Louis Vuitton:

This French man, moved to Paris on foot, walking 250 miles to the fashion capital. His extraordinary, luxurious bags gained him a lot of popularity. His trunks were very innovative as he used canvas instead of leather which made them lighter and gave a more durable surface. He also introduced waterproof trunks and made them flat tops so that they could be stacked. Louis Vuitton is one man that completely changed the luggage brand forever.

13. Andy Warhol:


He was a charismatic trend-maker who was fascinated by both beauty and ugliness, an inspiring and rare designer indeed.

12. Levi Strauss:

Levi Strauss gave birth to the first ever jeans in the history of fashion. Born in Buttenheim, Germany in 1829, this guy is known to handle everything. He mixed boring clothes with sparkles and embroidery to add fun. All thanks to Levi, a day without a pair of blue denims is quite hard to picture today.

11. Madame Gres:

Although she hasn’t become a household name like many other designers listed here, she is best known for her classically inspired floor-length pleated gown, “the master of the wrapped and draped dress.”

10. Claire McCardell:

Claire McCardell is known as the inventor of American sportswear or ready-to-wear clothing. McCardell was inspired by Vionnet and Chanel while studying in Paris. Many of her designs were invented out of necessity. Thus, her clothes were mostly subtly sexy with functional decorations. Also, her idea of separates, in coordinating colours and creating endless configurations was revolutionary, because of its practicality and economy.

09. Karl Lagerfeld:


Karl Lagerfeld is popular for his remarkable eye for street-style trends. He believed that fashion as history is beyond fashion, and it is not only limited to clothes. His

08. Katharine Hamnett:

Do you own T-shirts with printed slogans? Of course, you do. Didn’t the question sound absurd? I mean, who doesn’t own one? What else would we wear to college or shopping if not these? Well, these cool and trendy tees were brought into market by Katharine Hamnett, the English fashion designer. She is best known for her political slogan t-shirts and her ethical business philosophy.

07. Donatella Versace:


Donatella is the first ever fashion designer to use an A-list celebrity to promote designs on the catwalk, rather than going for nameless models. Earlier clothes were given the utmost priority and not the models. When promoting her brand in Hollywood, she chose Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Christiana Aguilera, Demi Moore and others to serve the purpose of promoting her brand.

06. Franc Fernandez:

Franc Fernandez is a California-based Argentine artist and fashion designer. He is famously known for the statements about police brutality in the United States on the pants and jacket sleeves. He also included trousers that stated five names of black-women who died in prison in July 2015. This brought about a new vision in the industry.

05. Gunda Beeg:

Gunda Beeg was one of the founding members of the women’s dress reform movement in late 19th century Germany. She helped in founding of the first German organization for the improvement of women’s dress. She believed that the type of clothes women wear can bring about a feeling of emancipation.

04. Madeleine Vionnet:


Madeleine Vionnet, known as the master of manipulating fabric was another French designer. She is often credited as the inventor of bias cut, a diagonal way of cutting fabric in order to give it stretch ability. The cuts make clothes easy to get in and out of them and also more comfortable to wear. She is considered as one of the greatest designers till date and her contributions to the industry are tremendous.

03. Rei Kawakubo:

She revolutionized Paris fashion, by introducing a style of dress that merged a Western and Japanese influence. To this day, Kawakubo remains one of the most beloved and unconventional designers of our time.

02. Mary Quant:

Immortalized by fashion industry as the originator of the miniskirt, our wardrobes wouldn’t be half as sexy if it wasn’t for Mary Quant. She wanted fashion to be affordable and accessible to the young, which inspired her to open up her own retail boutique. She created the shiny plastic raincoats that we wear today and a range of cosmetics and other fashion accessories.

01. Yves Saint Laurent:


Yves Saint Laurent was best known as an influential European fashion designer who impacted fashion in the 1960’s to the present day. It was his take on androgyny that started a revolution. He radicalised evening wear and irrevocably transformed the way women dressed and made art collide with fashion. For his taste of sheer blouses and gowns, he fought to ‘free the nipple’, a battle still ongoing in the present world. Also, the trend where we see designers campaigning for their labels themselves was started by Saint Laurent.

No one is born perfect with the ‘right’ height and an alluring hour glass figure, it is the work of fashion designers to bring out the best features in us.

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